The James Hotel

LIL' JAMES kids program among the best in Chicago


Linda Marsicano

The James Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel steps away from Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile, has recently revamped its children's program, and my entire family agrees it is a smash hit. The program, LIL' JAMES, keeps kids entertained and feeling special their entire stay with a variety of amenities and activities planned just for them.

Upon arrival, children receive a backpack filled with projects from Kiwi Crate, a creativity company that focuses on hands-on learning through arts, crafts and science kits. Projects from Kiwi Crate come complete with all the materials, instructions and inspiration for children and parents to create cool projects together. So first on our agenda: assemble lightweight wooden airplanes that my 5-year-olds delighted in zooming at each other's heads for a good hour.

The room itself was exquisite. If possible, opt for a loft room with separate living and sleeping areas, along with an actual "media room" with a DVD projector and family-friendly movies available from the concierge. We all cuddled onto the gigantic media room bed and enjoyed a family movie night.

Other LIL' JAMES amenities include books for story time before bed and board games for all ages including Sorry!, Chutes and Ladders, Life and Scrabble. For tech-savvy kids and gamers, there is Wii and pre-loaded iPads and Kindles with kid-friendly books and apps.

For those families wanting to explore the city as a tourist, the LIL' JAMES Family Adventurer packages offer all of the amenities of the regular program plus four tickets to Chicago Children's Museum, milk and cookie turndown service and a jump rope designed specifically for children. The concierge will arrange and recommend other city attractions and museum tickets upon request. In good weather, families may opt for a complimentary bicycle as the preferred method of transportation.

Bottom line? Don't let your little one (or even not-so little ones) miss the LIL' JAMES program for an experience they will not soon forget.


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