Chicago is a sprawling metropolis of high-rises, but you may be surprised to find that it has a number of expansive outdoor spaces to explore, from lakeside beaches to a thriving riverfront. Most popular, however, is likely Millennium Park. Home to the infamous Bean sculpture and often a venue for cultural events, there’s plenty to see and do nearby. Stay around the corner from one of Chicago’s top attractions at any of these impressive hotels.
Thanks to its jaw-dropping Art Deco exterior – a resplendent emerald building topped with gold leaf – this is a hotel you won’t soon forget. The interiors match the 1920s-style building, with sweeping marble floors, brassy finishes and on-trend mid-century furnishings. A five-minute walk in one direction will bring you to Millennium Park, while you can head the other way for ten minutes to shop along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.
Housed in the historic landmark New York Life Insurance Building which dates back to 1894, Kimpton Gray Hotel is a little slice of Chicago history. Though the decor is contemporary, Art Deco touches throughout nod to the building’s past. Rooftop spot Boleo is reason enough to stay, serving up South-American-influenced food and drink, a spirited atmosphere and killer views over the city.
Tongue in cheek is the theme throughout Hotel EMC2, which is full of playful touches and decor. Magnifying glasses hover above your room number, the restaurant is named Albert (yes, after Einstein) and your in-room Alexa doubles as a concierge. Bookcases with a healthy stock of historical reads sit around the reception area, but if those don’t pique your interest, you can muse over the zoetrope – an 1800s animation device – or the in-house robots Leo and Cleo that zip around the lobby.
W Hotels are known for their ultra-modern interiors, and this branch doesn’t disappoint. Blue backlighting and mirrored walls give the rooms a galactic feel, which pairs perfectly with the endless blue vistas over Lake Michigan. True to the chain’s reputation, in-house waterfront restaurant CURRENT – which serves cocktails, micro brews and contemporary European food – and the Living Room Bar both guarantee a good time.
What seems like an unassuming office building from the outside is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. Calming floral motifs in the rooms – on enormous canvases and kitchenette backsplashes – combine with luxury linens and soaking tubs stocked with Le Labo products. Take advantage of your proximity to Millennium Park and take away one of the hotel’s prepared picnics, which includes a selection of snacks, a bottle of wine and a picnic blanket.
Fun and youthful, theWit is as distinctive outside as it is in. Trendy to its core, you’ll find brilliant views and spa-inspired bathrooms in its rooms, and a rooftop bar up on the 27th floor. Quite literally the cherry on top, ROOF is open year-round thanks to its retractable roof, making it a thriving open-air spot in summer, and a cosy cocktail hangout in the thick of the Chicago winter.
Housed in a former hat factory, this 1912 building has been modernized in its current life as a Kimpton Hotel, but still retains some mid-century charm. Rooms are bright and fun, with dandelion yellow headboards and sleek furnishings. Its location also is perfect for those who like adventuring on foot; Millennium park is a short jaunt up the road, while the riverfront is a stone’s throw away – some rooms even offer glimpses of it glistening below.
The Jewelers Row location and a past life as a home for the local silver craftsmen mean shiny objects have had a heavy influence on the decor here. Shades of precious stones pop throughout, with ruby-red chaise lounges and silver-tufted headboards, alongside a liberal approach to chandeliers. The overall effect is a suitably opulent space that suits its glittering locale.
The kooky Staypineapple style feels a little incongruous in its 125-year-old building, and yet it somehow works. Unsurprisingly, yellow touches and pineapple motifs are rife throughout, from phone chargers shaped like the fruit to the cheeky ‘sleep with me’ cushions. A fantastic value budget hotel option, rooms have signature luxury bedding and plenty of high-end amenities like Keurig coffee machines and bathrooms with both a bathtub and shower.