The Fairmont has rightfully earned retaining "Millennium Park" in its name, with a coveted location just two blocks away from the city's prized greenspace. Opened in 1987, the luxury property has put on a few years since its heyday, but still maintains a level of top-notch service, enviable views of Michigan Avenue and Lakeshore East Park, and spacious condo-sized suites that make this a popular spot among older travelers, the business crowd and families.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Upgrade access the Fairmont Gold, an updated amenity lounge with heavy continental breakfast, afternoon snacks, and full open bar from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. with sweeping park and lake views.
The modern, neutral palette is nothing to write home about, but the incredibly spacious 420-square foot rooms just might be. Wedding parties and families should consider upgrading to a king room for its couch, or securing two connecting suites. Flatscreen TVs, modern radios and Keurigs come standard in regular rooms, with Nespresso coffee makers available for suites.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Sensitive sleepers rest assured: the all-concrete hotel has triple-paned thermal windows with blackout drapes to help keep you knocked out at night.
All rooms are equipped with rainfall baths and walk-in showers stocked with Le Labo rose products, separate seated vanity spaces and signature Fairmont terrycloth robes.
Non-descript with leather backed chairs and complementary fruit-infused water, the lobby certainly isn't destination-worthy. But free WiFi makes it a decent pitstop for catching up on emails over the lobby bar happy hour.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The Fairmont is among the handful of hotels connected to Chicago's underground pedway running from Wacker Drive through major business sectors at AON Center and One Prudential Plaza all the way to the shopping and theater districts at Randolph Street and State Street by Macy's and Block 37. You'll be thankful during those harsh winters, promise.
Tucked away in the basement, MySpa at the Fairmont is an underrated gem. Eight treatment rooms feature luxury services like Naturpathica skincare facials, Essie polish manicures, body scrubs and massages.
Along with standard cardio and weight machines, the 24-hour gym has a locker room equipped with a steam room for a post-work out unwind.
Columbus Tap is the most recent addition to the hotel: a gastropub and tap house featuring 16 beers on tap, open lunch and dinner. Modern with caramel leather booths and chairs, and splashes of slate and turquoise, it's a popular spot among the local business crowd and guests. In the morning, head to the Millennium Room for continental breakfast, full breakfast buffet and coffee until 10:30 a.m.
You'll find more action at the Columbus Tap, but open air The Bar in the lobby features a select menu for a quick happy hour on-the-go.
Buses run along Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street, but it's a bit of a walk to the nearest Chicago 'L' train station at State/Lake (12-minute walk). During winter, you can take a sheltered walk via the underground pedway from the property's basement to the Washington Red Line 'L' stop (14-minute walk), but your best bet is to grab a taxi or use a ride-hailing app like Lyft or Uber.
The property is oddly close to everything and nothing, depending on how you look at it. Closer to the lakefront means a little bit of a longer walk to major hotspots, with the closest dining options in an otherwise sleepy block being Hannah's Bretzel (3-minute walk), Giordano's (5-minute walk), and Tavern at the Park (7-minute walk). But the majority of River North and downtown foodie restaurants are a good 12-minute walk or short cab ride away.
Hotel bars abound in the area, but if you want to stick local, head to Mezcalina Mexican Restaurant (5-minute walk), Broken English Taco Pub (7-minute walk), or Mr. Brown's Lounge (9-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Despite its aging tenure, Fairmont has consistently retained solid service and small cosmetic tweaks to keep it fresh, comfortable, and luxurious to the expectations of seasoned travelers. It's a safe bet for older travelers, those visiting on business, or families, within an easy distance to major destinations and proximity of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan—younger travelers looking for the party scene would do well to look elsewhere.