For a seriously swank and stylish hotel experience, Chicago’s new The Elysian Hotel is unmatched. Rooms and suites are huge, averaging 890 square feet. Furnished terraces, fireplaces, and beds draped with 460-thread count Italian linens outfit each luxuriously appointed room. White Carrera marble bathrooms come with soaking tubs, separate showers, and dual vanities, and the hotel spa offers body wraps, therapeutic massage, facials, spa gatherings, a men’s atelier, pilates, and in-room service. For hotel dining, The Elysian offers upbeat bistro fare at Balsan and sumptuous fine dining at the Michelin two-star RIA.
Blackstone is easily one of the funkiest hotels in Chicago. With retro architecture, plush furnishings, and a bold color scheme, a stay at Blackstone is very tongue-in-cheek chic. The Hubbard Place Lounge offers exclusive services for the hotel’s elite guests and features freshly prepared food, a private concierge, and access to a Lexus LS Hybrid hotel car. The hotel’s Art Hall features rotating exhibits with works from local Chicago artists and is open to all.
A bit below the Mag Mile, but still walkable, the Fairmont is a comfortable, reasonably plush hotel that is nicely suited for business travel. Located among a few high towers on a wide road, it’s not the most picturesque Chicago location, but it is a cushy hotel that’s among the city’s nicest options.
Classic luxury, a central location, and one of the best brunches in town make The Four Seasons a good bet if you’re looking for accommodations to make a party of all ages happy. Chef Kevin Hickey lavishes his brunch menu at Seasons Restaurant with as much care as most chefs give to their dinner menus. Having lemon ricotta pancakes with cherry compote a mere elevator ride away is reason enough to book a stay. And if that’s not enough, the well-equipped workout room, relaxing spa treatments, and welcoming, comfy beds are good reasons, too.
As downtown Chicago’s first hotel designed to meet Silver LEED certification, the all-new boutique Hotel Felix features a restored 1920s façade and a spa-like experience within. Dancing waters and white marble columns in the lobby lead to the upscale American restaurant Elate, featuring the work of Chef Chris Curren. Rooms are gracefully appointed with luxurious cotton linens and stocked with equally luxurious bathrobes, complimentary high-speed Internet, and flat screen TVs. Hotel amenities include red carpet concierge, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a fully-equipped professional business center. Unwind in the rejuvenating spa or with a craft cocktail in the hotel lounge.
With plush beds, deep soaking tubs, and contemporary décor, the Park Hyatt offers sophisticated, state-of-the-art comfort. It’s certainly one of Chicago’s most elegant hotels with all the comfort you crave, but none of the old-school patterned upholstery. Ample amenities include Respire by Hyatt Hypo-Allergenic Rooms, designed to provide a comfortable sleeping environment for all guests, especially allergy sufferers. Its signature restaurant, NoMi, has a long-held reputation for fine dining in the city, and the hotel’s bars (indoors and outdoors) are cosmopolitan and inviting.
The soaring glass tower that houses the 400-plus rooms at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower sparkles amid downtown brick and mortar. The Chicago location of this international French hotel chain provides four-star accommodations and is strategically located minutes from the Mag Mile, Museum of Contemporary Art, Lake Michigan, and trendy upscale shopping. Customer service, always preceded by a well-pronounced “bonjour,” is never wanting, even when the lobby is at full capacity. Rooms are spacious and ultra-plush. The sleek glass-front Café des Architectes is an airy spot that serves contemporary cuisine and offers al fresco dining on the terrace. Be sure to check out 2011 Chicago Rising Star Meg Galus’s special brand of pastry, followed by a champagne cocktail at Le Bar.
Trump’s first property in Chicago is an elegant, reserved affair. Rooms are comfortable and incredibly spacious, with a full-kitchen option, huge bathrooms, and beds fitted with custom pillows. Call down before going out for the night and request the pillow of your choice (firm, soft, medium, or even a body pillow, if you fancy), and end the evening with the perfect headrest. The hotel’s restaurant, Sixteen, has some of the best views in the city, and an exciting menu from Pastry Chef Sarah Kosikowski, along with wine pairings from 2011 Rising Star Sommelier Rachael Lowe.
The W City Center offers everything we’ve come to expect from this stylish hotel chain: sleek, modern décor, a “see and be seen” lobby and lounge, hip meeting spaces, and spacious, comfortable rooms (with fantastic goose down bedding). The hotel has a glamorous 1940s feel. And it offers several dining and drinking destinations, including IPO where Executive Chef Trevor Hoyte serves up an interpretation of contemporary American under the title "New Urban Cuisine." And stop by The Living Room Bar late night, where full bottle service and a signature drink list will keep you feeling right at home.
A hop, skip, and tiny jump from Chicago’s Magnificent Mile—aptly named for the sheer abundance of things to see, do, and buy—this boutique hotel easily keeps its guest entertained. The rooms are on the smaller side, but with retro splashes of color and hints of style, they’re never uncomfortable. The hotel restaurant, C-House, provides guests with seasonal American fare with subtle touches of innovation thanks to the efforts of Part-owner and Chef Marcus Samuelsson , Executive Chef Nicole Pederson, and recent arrival, Pastry Chef Melissa Trimmer.
Just blocks from Michigan Avenue and the theater district, this fashionable boutique hotel caters to both business travelers and tourists, who’ll appreciate its River North address, spacious bedrooms and bathrooms, and free wi-fi. The warmly decorated red and orange rooms are a great price, and the aim is most definitely to please. There’s free breakfast on every floor, and the hotel staffs “experience designers” to accommodate guests’ every need.
Travelers to Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park are first greeted by a grand, newly renovated lobby—a first glimpse at the $50 million hotel makeover. The Eno Wine Room, a 2010 winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, lies invitingly at its center. The David Rockwell-designed rooms are spacious, comfortable, and retro-chic, and marble-tiled bathrooms are fitted with separate tubs and showers. At MySpa—an 11,000-square-foot, full-service sanctuary—guests can enjoy massage, skin and body treatments, and a fitness studio. For fine dining, the award-winning Aria, led by Chef Beverly Kim-Clark and Executive Hotel Chef Brad Parsons, provides a contemporary twist on new-world Asian, with an eclectic signature sushi menu and an extensive wine list. The Aria Bar and Sushi Club provides the same level of quality in a lounge experience.
Located in the River North area of Chicago, minutes away from both Streeterville and Chicago’s Gold Coast, Dana Hotel and Spa is a stylish boutique hotel with full amenities, including a business center, meeting and event rooms, a gym, and the total spa experience. A well-appointed menu of self-indulgent activities includes massages, facials, a Hanakasumi Japanese Body Ritual, and pedicures at the Serene Pedicure Treatment Area. A contemporary Asian aesthetic fills the hotel’s voluminous lobby in warm neutral tones, which carries over to the rooms. Each room is elegantly styled in sustainable woods, including hand-hewn Jarrah floors, comfortable beds, and bathrooms with spa-inspired showers. Dining options include the Asian-inspired Aja, the casual, hip Aja Snak Bar, and the Vertigo Skytop Lounge, named to Conde Nast Traveler's 2009 Hot List.
The James lies in the heart of downtown Chicago. Green modernity and warm hospitality are twin themes that first greet guests at this luxurious hotel’s entrance. The spacious lobby features a walk-in-the-woods-themed photograph occupying two walls and a tall stack of colorful vintage suitcases. Stylish rusticity carries on to the guest rooms, outfitted with sustainable wood floors, and bathrooms designed with wood, marble, and slate tiles. There is an in-room recycling program, and complimentary bicycles are available to guests. The hotel is equipped with a full-service business center, including numerous event and meeting rooms, a gym, and complimentary wireless internet access. Dining options include Chicago perennial favorite David Burke’s Primehouse.
From the design of the bulding itself, a towering structure of white opaque glass by Parisian architect Jean-Paul Viguier, to the sexy rooms to the location, Sofitel is a gorgeous and convenient place to stay. Rooms are light, airy and modern, with floor to ceiling windows that offer stunning views of the city.
Designed in a classic contemporary style, this large hotel plays host to travelers, business conventions and extravagant events. Our favorite part was the Lake Shore Athletic Club, located adjacent to the hotel – a great amenity, but you have to pay for it. Fairmont is located in the heart of downtown Chicago and offers an array of conveniences including a Starbucks, a large ballroom, and a great pan-asian restaurant, Aria.
The Crowne Plaza is a good deal for a still-reasonably close location, though not necessarily walking distance to the downtown attractions. Rooms are comfortable with all the expected amenities.
This gorgeous glass tower that soars to the sky—and stands out among the big-industry towers of brick and stone that fill downtown—is modern through and through. The design is contemporary and stylish, but not overly minimal, and rooms are spacious and comfortable. The sleek glass-front dining room in the lobby is an airy spot for fresh juice and people-watching in the morning. The hotel’s restaurant, Café des Architects, has recently brought in a local talent, Chef Martial Noguier (formerly of One Sixty Blue). We haven’t eaten there since he took over, but we’re looking forward to trying his seasonal American menu.
Chicago’s historic Hilton hotel was once the largest hotel in the world, and now it serves as event central for one of the country’s most humming convention towns, boasting more meeting space than any other hotel in town—it has 234,320 square feet of exhibit space and a grand ballroom that’s 21,996 square feet. With a stunning pool, upper level terrace, and serious fitness room (with a small track, free weights, and row upon row of ellipticals and treadmills), guests can recharge after a long day of meetings. The hotel’s dining really shines in the catering department under Executive Chef Mario Garcia, who prepares decidedly fresh banquet fare—think lobster salad with beet emulsion and edamame, spring lamb with avocado-pistachio mole, and red velvet cake with goat cheese and basil cream cheese icings.