With cheerful rooms and nicely designed public spaces, Hotel Cass is a true boutique property that bears little resemblance to more generic properties in the Holiday Inn chain. The crisp white lobby is sparse and elegant, and the dramatic red hallway is offset with humorous portraits. Accommodations are modern and bright, with green headboards that nearly reach the ceiling and artwork that includes photos of 1950s fashion icons. Subway-style tiles in the bathroom link back to 1920s design. All rates include free daily breakfast.
Each of the 173 rooms is stocked with a coffee maker, mix of firm and soft pillows so you have options, and an alarm clock with an MP3 feature so you can jam out to your own music. Mossy-green decor is a refreshing shift from the standard neutral hues in chain hotels. A marble-top desk and black leather task chair are great for travelers who want to work on their laptops in comfort.
Rates include daily breakfast, including warm cinnamon rolls, plus fresh fruit, coffee and tea, juice, cereal, toast and bagels.
The all-white bath features an Art Deco-like wallpaper design, shower/tub combo with tiled walls and a well-lit mirror above the vanity, with a floating shelf to store toiletries.
Marked by deep-red walls, banquette seating, arched windows and a fireplace encircled by buttery-yellow leather armchairs, the lobby feels more like it belongs in an inn or b&b, not a chain hotel. Staff check-in guests from behind a dark-wood console with a gleaming-white countertop.
A car isn't needed while staying at this property (and you can save on the $54 nightly parking fee). Both River North and Mag Mile--where this hotel is located--offer shopping, restaurants, bars and cultural attractions within a short walk. Two blocks to the east is North Michigan Avenue, where you can catch numerous city buses that run north and south. Uber and Lyft drivers cruise this area heavily. The Chicago L station at Chicago and State is the closest L stop.
Celebrity chef Rick Bayless' flagship restaurant--Frontera Grill--is a 9-minute walk, offering family-friendly upscale Mexican fare. ZED451's all-you-can-eat Brazilian feast is also nearby (an 8-minute walk).
Howells & Hood (8-minute walk) boasts one of Chicago's most spacious patios for sipping beer on a warm day. Headquarters Beercade (14-minute walk) is an arcade-style sports bar that's sure to have the game on, with stylish furniture to boot.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Sure, it's part of a chain, but if you can get past that--and you will, once you witness the hotel's boutique-y vibe--it's clear that this is a unique stay. The location is convenient, too, for shopping, dining, bars and cultural attractions that include the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park. Rooms have been recently refreshed and you can't beat a free daily breakfast that's much more than a muffin.