This spin-off of the Ace Hotel brand, which began in 1999 with a Seattle property, opened in Chicago's West Loop in 2017, within blocks of the buzzy Fulton Market District, home to some of Chicago's restaurants and bars of the moment. Tucked into a building that once housed an Italian-American cheesemaking company, the concrete-and-glass structure mirrors the neighborhood's industrial roots. Rooms are outfitted with organic-cotton bed linens and a custom Bluetooth radio.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Pets are permitted--but only if they are under 25 pounds, ruling out a lot of dog breeds. There is also a non-refundable $50 pet fee.
Spanning seven categories, from the Small rooms to the ultra-luxe Ace Suite, walls are painted indigo for a nice shift from the normally neutral-hued hotel room. The mini-bar is fully stocked with locally procured eats and drinks, and furnishings emulate midcentury-modern cool weaving in leather, wool and other natural materials. Beds are platform style, constructed out of metal piping. Decorating the walls are unique pieces of art by a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Are you a guitarist or a rock fan? Book a Medium, Double or Large room--some have an acoustic Martin guitar and turntable (request that when booking).
Pretty blue tiles line the walls of the bath's shower (with a deep soaking tub), plus navy walls and black subway tile above the vanity, which is born out of metal piping to bring home that industrial vibe. Rudy's Barber Shop toiletries and Pearl+ luxury soaps are so cool you're going to want to stash a few days' supply to take home.
A covered long patio flush with greenery softens the exterior of this industrial-design hotel. The lobby is designed to be more than a functional spot to check into your room. In keeping with the Ace Hotel brand, art is in abundance, including a weaver's jacquard tapestry.
In addition to a 24/7 fitness center, the hotel's Run Club outings and Sunday Stretch Sessions cater to workout enthusiasts and also encourage guests to mingle.
City Mouse is a family-friendly, very eclectic restaurant open all day and night (plus weekend brunch). Dinner fare tends to be comfort-foods driven with upmarket ingredients, like Wagyu beef tartare or sweet-potato agnolotti (the potatoes sourced from a local farm). Brunch selections include avocado toast and a "gas-station sandwich" (hash browns, eggs and other fixings). At Waydown, the rooftop bar, which is open at night, a limited food menu of seven items includes short-rib nachos.
The seventh-floor rooftop bar Waydown is named after a John Prine song and serves Pop-art on the walls and plywood furnishings are everywhere. DJs spin tunes on some weeknights. Catering to beer, wine and cocktail lovers, the drinks menu includes everything from a can of Jalisco beer to a magnum of French Champagne. Another beverage venue in the hotel is City Mouse, with creative cocktails (like "Color T.V." and "First Rodeo"), craft beers and wine by the glass.
The Morgan Lake L stop is a few blocks away and can get you anywhere within Chicago. An Uber ride to downtown Chicago/the Loop is about 15 minutes or you can walk (30-40 minutes), or 15 minutes on the L. A car isn't needed and would only be a hassle as parking in Chicago is limited (and runs $55/night).
The Publican (4-minute walk) nearby is one of Chicago's trendiest restaurants. Although not new, it continues to attract foodies for its farm-to-table dinner menu, those farms hyper-documented beside each item. Celeb chef Stephanie Izard's Duck Duck Goat (4-minute walk), serving Chinese dinners weeknight and dim-sum on weekends.
If you can get a reservation at The Aviary (1-minute walk), Grant Achatz' culinary-grade cocktails lounge, do it. Margaritas are the main thrust at Bar Takito (2-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Simply put, this is a fun hotel, catering to creative individuals who might be traveling alone and crave interactions with others--and also appreciate good design and staying off the beaten path (this hotel is not within a walk of museums and attractions, although some of the city's best meals are). Every public space in the hotel was designed to encourage conversation. Rooms are spacious and not your normal decor, which is a good thing. Two noshing and imbibing options on site further the appeal of this hotel.