BOB'S cruises & tours's Blog

Chicago's Signature Sculpture is Now 'Spilling the Beans' on the Best Ways to Visit
Chicago’s ‘The Bean’ sculpture is already one of the most popular attractions in the city.

Officially titled ‘Cloud Gate’, the massive, stainless steel sculpture anchors Chicago’s lakefront Millennium Park. At 33 feet high, 42 feet wide, 66 feet long… and about the weight of 15 elephants! the abstract work of public art dominates the cityscape and is one of the largest outdoor art installations in the world.

Almost every visitor to Chicago finds themselves taking in the awe-inspiring reflective surface of The Bean at least once. It mirrors the park and park visitors, the lights along Michigan Avenue, the Chicago skyline - and visitors themselves – in its shiny surface.

Many don’t just look at themselves in The Bean. The perfect, smooth finish invites park visitors to touch the surface, and its curved underside serves as an entrance to the park (hence its formal name Cloud Park.)
Now, The Bean isn’t just the iconic symbol of Chicago and a mirror onto life in the park.

(CH/ Choose Chicago)

Thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI), The Bean is now part of the visitor action. And travelers to Chicago can interact with The Bean on a whole new level. 

Choose Chicago describes it from the perspective of The Bean:

“Day in and day out for years, humans have come to stare at The Bean. And The Bean has been staring back. And been in more selfies than even The Bean can count. The Bean has loved all of it.

Then, in 2020, the visitors paused.
And that’s when something wonderful happened to The Bean. The Bean’s friends at Choose Chicago knew the world deserved more Bean. A Bean whose visitors could interact with digitally. A Bean that could truly reflect all that the beautiful city of Chicago has to offer.”
Choose Chicago partnered with a Northwestern University student lab to power The Bean by AI, enabling it to have digital conversations and answer questions from visitors, suggesting places and events for them to experience the city, from neighbourhood restaurants to events next weekend to child-friendly activities, things to do and more.
You don’t have to travel to Chicago to meet its new digital ambassador. The Bean's AI entity lives on the Choose Chicago website, and is available 24-7 to help people from near and far to discover the best of Chicago and plan a future trip.
As The Bean ‘says’:

“The sentient Bean is now ready to tell you all about stunning Chicago. The Bean spent years analyzing the idle chitchat of nearby visitors. The Bean learned the importance of helping people locate pizza of all depths. The Bean learned there is other non-Bean art and culture to help humans to enjoy. And The Bean learned more than The Bean wanted about the baseball rivalry that splits the city into two areas: North of The Bean and South of The Bean.
“Ask The Bean anything—and The Bean will share everything it knows.”
We took The Bean up on its challenge and went online to to have a chat with The now-sentient Bean ourselves. It went like this:


According to Choose Chicago, The Bean is improving its conversation skills every day and cannot wait to speak with every human who wants to explore the city.
“The Bean wants to relay that this is just a wonderful start to its mission.” 


Top Image: A.Alexander courtesy of Choose Chicago

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Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Makes 5-Star Award History

Business, leisure luxury hotel brand earns more Forbes 5-Star Ratings in a single year than any other hotel brand. 

2017 is a banner year for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.  It marks the second consecutive year the hotel brand, loved by fans of luxury travel, has topped Forbes Travel Guide ratings with a record number of Five-Star Properties.  How many have you stayed at?

Forbes Travel Guide has awarded a Five-Star rating – its highest honor – to 30 Four Seasons properties worldwide. The recognition marks the largest number of Five-Star ratings awarded to a hotel brand in a single year in the list’s nearly 60-year history.  

Star ratings are awarded by a team of professional inspectors, who anonymously evaluate properties against up to 800 rigorous and objective standards. The guides' goal is to provide consumers like you the insight to make better-informed business and leisure travel decisions.

In the words of Forbes Travel Guide, its inspectors “travel the world to assess hotels, restaurants and spas against up to 800 objective standards.” Star ratings ultimately emphasize quality of service. Five-Star properties are defined as “outstanding, often iconic properties with virtually flawless service and amazing facilities.”

Forbes Travel Guide rates properties in 42 countries throughout the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, with plans to add the Middle East and Africa for 2018.

4 Four Seasons properties earned their first Five-Star designation this year, including Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay (pictured top of page), Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan (pictured above), Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest (pictured below) and Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel (pictured second from top).

The 30 Four Seasons properties that earned Five Stars in 2017 are:

  • Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta
  • Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
  • Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
  • Four Seasons Hotel Boston
  • Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
  • Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
  • Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva
  • Four Seasons Hotel Firenze
  • Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
  • Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest
  • Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou
  • Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake
  • Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
  • Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
  • Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole
  • Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
  • Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
  • Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip
  • Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
  • Four Seasons Hotel New York
  • Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
  • Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai
  • Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico
  • Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
  • Four Seasons Hotel Seattle
  • Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
  • Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver
  • Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC
  • Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler
  • Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, A Four Seasons Hotel

Forbes Travel Guide formally bestows the ratings at a Five-Star Awards Ceremony and Banquet in New York City on March 1, 2017.

Start your Trip!


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