Chicago Quality of Life – Abdicating the Urban Grind

August 14th, 2018 by: relatedchicago

Chicago Quality of Life – The latest trends in wellness amenities allow us to not only find our zen, but build it into our daily routine without so much as stepping a foot outside.

Chicago Quality of Life - Happiness is Just a moment before you need more happiness

“Happiness is just a moment before you need more happiness.” -Don Draper

So, you can’t buy happiness, but wellness? Not so fast.

We’ve heard it all before – we are more distracted than ever. Too connected, not connected enough. Forever tied to work, but struggling to find the time for ourselves. And still, we know that not taking that time is an unhealthy and unfulfilling way to live. It can take a toll on our appearance and emotional well-being, and can sometimes feel like an ever-retreating goal, making our quest to maintain a clear, calm mind, and a healthy body seem insurmountable.

And so, it comes with no surprise that the trend for wellness amenities inside private homes and developments, continues to be on the rise. These state-of-the-art sanctuaries allows us to more easily find our zen from the comfort of our own homes.

It’s like a five-star hotel experience in your own home.

Consumers’ expectations have long surpassed the home gym of ‘ole. No longer are the days of a few dumbells and a solitary rowing machine sitting sadly in the corner of a building gym. Remember those?

NO, we want much, much, more. Luxury developments have become like fortresses’, with wellness amenity programs’ that almost always include a state-of-the-art fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, yoga and meditation sanctuaries and some kind of lush rooftop space that extends your living area far beyond your apartment. Other cool wellness perks may include; spa treatments, salt grottos, farm-to-table lounges, vitamin c infused water and state of the art water and air purification systems.

Chicago Quality of Life - Luxury meets lap pool, One Bennett Park. Related Realty

Luxury meets lap pool, One Bennett Park. Related Realty

Developers have been listening.

Just as concepts of wellness infiltrated other industries, like food & travel, it is similarly de rigueur in luxury residential real estate, and shows no signs of abating. We spend so much of our time indoors that access to these kinds of amenities can have a profound effect on our health, energy, and levels of stress and productivity. How can it not? So, in order to keep up with these changing expectations, developers and architects are going far beyond the visuals of beautiful design when developing new properties. Of course, they are savvy to the benefits of building for the health of their residents, in part because it helps attract luxury buyers and renters. In Chicago, where our weather is so unpredictable, it is even more of a luxury to be able to work out, practice yoga, and swim, regardless of the time of year, all without leaving your building.

Chicago Quality of Life - Yoga in Chicago IL

So, whether you are seeking to purge those tensions in the pool, spa, or yoga room, or simply be, amid the glorious landscapes of your own private park or rooftop garden, here are five must-have wellness amenities that Chicagoans really shouldn’t have to leave their building to enjoy.

Just breathe you’re home.


A fitness center is the staple of all wellness programs. And they are definitely not created equal. Fully equipped gyms and dedicated yoga rooms and spa rooms continue to crop up in new luxury buildings around Chicago. They should include nothing less than a state of the art gym with pools (yes plural) sauna and steam rooms, and dedicated areas for yoga or meditation at a minimum. Luxury is convenience, so, why should you schlep to the gym in the morning when you can ride the elevator instead? 500 Lake Shore Drive (500 N Lake Shore Dr) boasts an exclusive residents-only fitness center managed for 500 Lake Shore Drive by Equinox® featuring a full suite of cardio/weight training equipment and a yoga and meditation area, rooftop pool and private cabanas.

Chicago Quality of Life - 500 Lake Shore Drive residents enjoy an exclusive membership at 500 Lake Shore Drive

500 Lake Shore Drive residents enjoy an exclusive membership at 500 Lake Shore Drive by Equinox®


A swimming pool is the ultimate creature comfort anywhere, but luxury in Chicago can be defined by having a pool to enjoy year round. Pools are not uncommon in California or Florida where the sun is out most of the year, but the appeal is more exotic in Chicago. The terrace pool at One Bennett Park (451 E. Grand Ave) is a splendid setting, and overlooks the buildings’ exclusive private park, designed by superstar landscape architect, Michael Van Valkenburgh. A glorious spot, whether to enjoy a swim, the sun or some shade in the seating area, this will appeal to anyone wanting the ultimate urban oasis. Other wellness amenities include a full-service spa and salon, an exercise facility with a fitness center, Pilates studio and an indoor lap pool.

Chicago Quality of Life - The terrace pool at One Bennett Park, Related Realty

The terrace pool at One Bennett Park, Related Realty.


Want to live like a grown up version of Eloise with your own state of the art gym, pool, and array of spa treatments just a short elevator ride away? Yes please, who doesn’t? The Waldorf Astoria (11 E Walton St) offers its residences access to its world-class spa & health club which boasts a 14,000 square foot spa & fitness center, lap pool, and a catalogue of luxuries that come with living in one of the city’s most opulent hotels. Why go out for a lava shell massage, body polish or facial when they are only a few floors away? The spa also features a mosaic tiled pool, eucalyptus steam room, and dry sauna. Leaving the house just to grab a mani-pedi can really be a thing of the past.

Chicago Quality of Life - The Waldorf Astoria Chicago offers its residences access to its ultra exclusive hotel spa

The Waldorf Astoria Chicago offers its residences access to its ultra exclusive hotel spa.


A rooftop lifestyle is essential in Chicago. Perhaps it is more important to us than in other cities as we are not able to enjoy it year round, so we seek to maximize our outdoor time, or, maybe it is because of our magnificent skyline. Regardless, it allows one’s living space to expand beyond the traditional apartment. It is like having an outdoor living room in the sky, and is one of the most highly sought after features in the trend of “wellness lifestyle.” Optima Chicago Center (200 E Illinois St,) boasts a rooftop with a modern dessert feel with prairie grass and a jacuzzi that can fit up to two dozen people, that is, if you are in the mood to share.

A rooftop paradise perched on top of the urban jungle, Optima Chicago Center.

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