The suite escape
Plan a staycation this weekend and experience Lollapalooza like a rock star at these two downtown hotels.
There are two ways to do Lollapalooza: Schelp back and forth between your apartment and Grant Park on the El with thousands of other sweaty music fans. Or book a downtown hotel room for the weekend, so you can easily stumble there after the headliner performance each night. If you go the hotel route, three-day ticket holders can enter and exit the fest as many times as they want, meaning you can take Lolla breaks in the comfort of an air-conditioned room—and no bathroom lines for you.
(55 E Ontario St, 312-337-1000)
This posh downtown hotel is more than a few blocks away from Grant Park, so to make up for location inconvenience, it’s tacking on extras when you sign up for its “Lolla-getaway weekend.” Book the package, and you’ll get two general-admission tickets for Lollapalooza for all three days, continental breakfast for two each morning, and a choice of one Lolla headliner CD (Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Kanye West, Nine Inch Nails, Wilco or the Raconteurs). Plus, you get a hotel room for three nights. Rates start at $1,099.
Upgrade Plunk down a lot more cash, and you’ll get all of the amenities above as well as car service to the fest and access to the LollaLounge, which includes free booze, meals, mini spa treatments, elevated viewing platforms near the main stages and air-conditioned bathrooms. Rates start at $2,299.
Bottom line A couple grand seems like a big splurge, but gaining access to the LollaLounge is the way to go when choosing between these two deals. Plus, if you go in on the package with nine friends who already purchased their tickets, it’s only $230 a person. (As long as you don’t mind a cramped hotel room.)
Hard Rock Hotel
(230 N Michigan Ave, 312-345-1000)
With giant photos of Bono and other famous musicians in its windows, it doesn’t get much more rock & roll than this Michigan Avenue hotel. Located down the street from Grant Park, this venue is considerably closer to the action. The “Groupie 101” package (we promise we’re not making these names up) includes two nights in the hotel’s deluxe king room (with late checkout, so you can recover from your hangover), two three-day festival passes, two Lollapalooza gift bags and nightly access to the Music Lounge at the hotel, which includes an open bar until midnight. $1,500.
Upgrade The higher-end package includes a two-night stay in the Tower Suite, with Champagne awaiting your arrival. Festival passes include access to the LollaLounge. And back at the hotel, you’ll have full day and night access to the Music Lounge. Last year, the day-lounging suites featured tons of freebies, such as haircuts, tattoos, drinks and plenty of cool swag like gratis coffee for a year and PF Flyers. This “deal” is called “Dude, my name is on the list,” but for its price ($4,100), there really shouldn’t be any question that you’re on the list.
Bottom Line Although daily access to the Music Lounge is pretty awesome, the upgrade is strictly for those with a lot of money to burn. You could use that same money to go buy your own pair of shoes. If you’re going to splurge, go with the smaller package and bring your own Champagne. Plus, who needs a nicer room when you’re going to be in the park all day?
Get a room
Just looking for a perk-free room to crash in for the weekend? Here are starting rates (as of July 24) for three hotels near Grant Park:
Hilton Chicago (720 S Michigan Ave, 312-922-4400) Friday 1 is sold out, but rates for Saturday 2 start at $339.
Essex Inn (800 S Michigan Ave, 312-939-2800) Rates start at $306 for each night.
Chicago South Loop Hotel (11 W 26th St, 312-225-7000) Rates start at $139 per night.