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.