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(Above) Photo provided by Marriott Lincolnshire Resort. Click on images to view larger versions.

Marriott Lincolnshire Resort is a biophilic haven that sprawls across 175 acres along the Des Plaines River in north suburban Lincolnshire. No matter where you start out in the Chicago metro area, you’re less than an hour’s drive away.

19-Nov-23 – The trees were so leafy, they nearly obscured the pretty little river behind them.

They arched the gravelly trail we biked – not all the way to Wisconsin, but you can do it if you like.

Photo by Pamela Dittmer McKuen

They parted slightly to frame the view of a geyser-punctuated lake (left) beyond the patio of our hotel room.

My husband and I were weekending at the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort, a biophilic haven that sprawls across 175 acres along the Des Plaines River in north suburban Lincolnshire. Further secluding the resort is a private drive that connects rambunctious Milwaukee Road to the woodsy premises.

The low-rise resort beckoned us with a wealth of amenities for our recreation and relaxation, including miles of scenic trails and a professional live theater. Opened in 1975, the resort and its 390 guest rooms and suites underwent an extensive renovation in 2017. The interiors are cool and calming. Step through the front entrance and you’re in a voluminous space filled with lounge-y furnishings arranged in small conversation groupings. They call it the Great Room.

Top-flight musical theater

Aside from the location, the resort’s next biggest draw is the acclaimed professional live theater.

Since it opened in 1975, the Marriott Theatre has earned an impressive 500 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and has won 100. The awards, called “Jeffs” for short by those in the know, are Chicago’s highest theatrical honor for artistic achievement. The 838-seat theater is designed in the round – an intimate setting but larger than it feels – so you’re never more than eight rows back from the stage.

(Right) Marriott Theatre imagining of The Shirelles performing Carole King’s 1962 R&B hit, The Loco-Motion, which was co-written by Gerry Goffin. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical is now playing at Marriott Theatre through December 31. Photo by Liz Lauren.

Photo by Liz Lauren

Marriott Theatre is known for classic American musical theater, accompanied by a live orchestra, as well as original and re-imagined musicals. We took in an excellent performance of Gypsy: A Musical Fable, which was loosely based on the life of burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee. For the rest of the evening, strains of Let Me Entertain You and Everything’s Coming Up Roses were streaming through our heads.

During the 2024 season, which starts in January, the theater will present In The Heights, Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, Beehive: The ‘60s Musical, 1776, and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Also on the calendar are various one-night and two-night concerts and a children’s series.

On the menu

Within the resort are several dining options, plus room service. The upscale Three Embers restaurant is a contemporary American steakhouse that highlights a seasonal menu with locally sourced ingredients.

Marriott Lincolnshire Resort

A buffet breakfast with made-to-order eggs is also served in the Three Embers dining room (left).

Marriott Lincolnshire Resort

Next door is the casual Wright’s Brew + Bistro with a menu of comfort food classics and craft beer. Grab a draught of Five Eyes, a microbrew made from the honey of the resort’s very own on-site aviary. It’s a smooth ale with just a touch of sweetness on the finish, brewed by Tighthead Brewery in Mundelein. Fun fact: Bees have five eyes, larger eyes on the sides of their head and three smaller ones on top.

Adjacent to the lobby is Brew Lobby Restaurant and Bar for casual bites, and a full-service Starbucks.

Time to play

Crane’s Landing is a George Fazio-designed 18-hole golf course boasting water challenges at 14 of them. It’s also a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, where the perimeter areas and waterways are naturalized to create wildlife habitat.

An interesting architectural feature is the covered bridge fashioned from a decommissioned railroad box car (right).

Photo by Pamela Dittmer McKuen

Here’s what else you can do at Marriott Lincolnshire Resort: Keep up your workout routine in the 24-hour fitness center. Rent court time for tennis or pickleball at the College Park Athletic Club on the premises. Splash around in the indoor and seasonal outdoor swimming pools. Get outdoors to play bocce ball and giant Jenga. Book an appointment at Lift Salon & Spa, which offers hair and nail services, and massages with or without hot stones.

Photo by Pamela Dittmer McKuen

We borrowed a couple of bicycles at the front desk and spent a sunny afternoon among the waterways and wildflowers on the Des Plaines River Trail (left). The Wisconsin border is 37 miles to the north.

Our room, on the first floor overlooking the lake, was stylishly decorated in soothing shades of taupe and white. In addition to the king-size bed, it was appointed with a sofa with chaise, credenza, large-screen television, mini-fridge, and a gazillion USB outlets. The bathroom, while not overly spacious, was served by a walk-in shower and elongated vanity.

If you care to explore beyond the grounds of Marriott Lincolnshire Resort, there are plenty of nearby attractions: Long Grove Historic Village, Chicago Botanic Gardens, Lynfred Winery, and Gurnee Mills Outlet Mall, to name several.

We preferred to stay nestled within the resort’s natural surroundings – because that was the point of it all.

Photos by Pamela Dittmer McKuen except where noted otherwise.