A massive, light-filled lobby--part of a $168-million renovation--is the centerpiece of the Hyatt Regency Chicago, the city's largest hotel with 2,018 rooms and in a prime downtown locale. Perched between the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, Millennium Park, and Michigan Avenue, the spot is perfect for business or leisure travelers. Technology updates offer computer screens for self check-in and check-out. Renovated rooms are modern and minimalist with crisp white linens. Stetsons, where sushi is as popular as steak, is definitely a cut above most hotel restaurants.
WiFi here is free--a rare perk for a big-brand convention hotel such as this.
Hyatt's signature Hyatt Grand Beds are in the rooms, with a nature-inspired palette of light golds and browns. If you're working while on the road, you'll appreciate the long desktop, desk drawers and ergo-correct task chair. Large black-and-white framed photos of Chicago are hung on the walls. Many rooms offer views of the Chicago River or the city skyline.
Want to add even more luxe to your stay? Request a room with access to the Penthouse-level The Regency Club, serving free drinks and food all day long, and offering up amazing views through walls of windows.
While this is just your standard bath, attempts have been made to create a spa-like vibe, with freshly cut bamboo in a vase and a red stripe on the top of the shower curtain. Below the vanity is a wood shelving unit. The glass-door, walk-in shower is a posh welcome after a day of sightseeing or meetings.
Boasting the largest hotel lobby in the city, this spot was refreshed during the latest massive renovation. With its huge staircase and open ceilings, at first glance it might look like an airport terminal, especially at night with the back-lit colored lights, but the staff are actually friendly and there are plenty of spots to grab a seat.
YOU SHOULD KNOW During convention season, or when there's a meeting on site, the lobby can seem like a zoo. For a quieter stay, and not have to elbow your way through the lobby, consider looking into another hotel.
Open 24/7, the fitness center has been recently updated and features Life Fitness equipment.
There are a whopping five restaurants at this hotel, from the casual Market Chicago (Starbucks drinks and pastries) to the fine-dining sushi-and-steak spot Stetsons. Somewhere between are American Craft Kitchen & Bar (serving three farm-to-table meals a day in a bright high-ceilinged space, including a breakfast buffet)
Require kosher dining? This hotel actually has a kosher kitchen.
At night, BIG Bar--on the hotel's mezzanine level--capitalizes on its floor-to-ceiling views of the Chicago skyline and signature cocktails inspired by Chicago events and landmarks, such as "Blizzard of '67" and "Lake Shore Drive." American Craft Lounge is a great place to try Chicago and Midwest craft brews while The Living Room is a chill lounge filled with art and serving small plates with drinks. If wine is more your vice, head to Stetsons even if you're not dining there. The staff sommelier secures a wide selection of wine.
You definitely don't need a car here. Not only are the streets right outside the hotel a traffic jam on most days (which makes walking faster), public transportation is easy to take from the hotel. Several L stops near the hotel connect with all lines. Two bus stops within a few blocks of the hotel (Michigan and East Wacker, and Upper Wacker and Stetson) get you down to the Museum Campus within 20 minutes. Lyft and Uber drivers are always nearby.
Within a five-minute walk of the hotel is Giordano's (5-minute walk), known for the Windy City's beloved deep-dish style of pizza. Sweetwater Tavern and Grille (5-minute walk) is a Michigan Avenue staple, with red-leather booths and, when the game is on, a sports-bar-like vibe.
Listen to some genuine Chicago blues music at House of Blues Chicago (11-minute walk), which has a full bar. If wine is more your style, check out City Winery at the Chicago Riverwalk (10-minute walk), for glasses of wine made on-site (using grapes from afar), paired with a riverfront view.
WHY WE LIKE IT
If you're looking for a hotel where you don't have to interact much with staff (in other words, you detest small inns and B&Bs), and you want many options for food and drink under one roof, you can't go wrong with the Hyatt Regency. Room rates are often at a discount in off-season or when there's not a convention in town (how the 2,000 rooms mostly fill up).