Blessed with a double-threat of sumptuous historic architecture and an enviable location just off Chicago's iconic Magnificent Mile, it's no shocker why this property has remained a stalwart for nearly a century. Renovations completed in 2013 brought the hotel firmly into the 21st century with remodeled, contemporary guest rooms across its two towers. Along with its unique, weathered history (take note of the Shriner greeting "Es Salamu Aleikum" ("Peace Be to God") from its original roots as The Medinah Athletic Club in the lobby), the property boasts two solid dining destinations: Eno wine bar and outpost of local basketball hero Michael Jordan's Steakhouse.
The property has a split personality divided between its two towers. The executive tower (formerly known as the historic tower) is ironically more modern, featuring slate textured walls and white linens with splashes of turquoise. Rooms on this side come stocked with water, fruit, robes, Keurig coffee makers, and mini bar, plus iHome systems and flatscreen TVs. Inspired from the property's historic design, the grand tower is outfitted with bright chartreuse and contrasting slate texturing, along with contemporary local artwork and photography nodding to the original hotel and Michigan Avenue. Rooms on this side are a bit smaller, but still have the upscale luxury akin to its counterpart tower.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Executive tower suites have a corner unit with parlor featuring Instagram worthy views of Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River. Those with allergies should definitely opt for the executive tower, as this side is entirely hypoallergenic.
Recently remodeled bathrooms are outfitted with updated touches like marble standing shower with rainfall faucet and bathtub, Agaria products, and textured cotton robes.
Try to keep your jaw shut--this lobby's a stunner. Built in 1929 as The Medinah Athletic Club, the property retained its original circular atrium with mosaic tile floors and curved staircases when it was transformed into the Intercontinental in the 1980s. Take a trip back in time through lobby's cornerstone time capsule, featuring original artifacts from the shriners who used to hold meetings there, along with standing armor and plateware.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Along with being the only hotel to have its main entrance on the Magnificent Mile, the dome of circular atrium changes throughout the day to display stars at night.
Get ready to gawk: the InterContinental pool is a veritable architectural wonder. A stunning display of plaster, Spanish tiles, green stained glass windows and striped chaise lounges, this historic junior-sized Olympic pool erected in the 1920s looks like something ripped out of a Wes Anderson movie.
Book a custom massage, rejuvenating facial or refreshing scrub service in one of I-Club Spa's three treatment rooms. With one located in each locker room and a separate couples room, plan on making your visit more of a tune up than a day-long event.
The narrow tri-level enclosed gym pales in comparison to other on-site amenities, but is stocked with all the necessities: cardio machines, weights, plus certified trainers available for private sessions.
Fans of the Chicago Bulls '94 Dream Team should pay a visit to the hotel's luxury steakhouse headlined by legendary player, Michael Jordan. Walk across the stunning see-through light-up walkway to Michael Jordan Steakhouse, a destination for pricey steaks and sophisticated New American favorites. Don't miss the 23-layer chocolate cake, a towering homage to Jordan's jersey number.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The property also has a Starbucks on-site for grabbing a coffee and your favorite snacks on-the-go.
Love wine? Head to the first floor to get your drink on at Eno Wine Bar, boasting a curated list of top-notch wine flights and by the glass, including a handful of coveted reserve pours using the elite Coravin system.
Score a deal during the bar's happy hour every Sunday through Thursday, 4 to 6 p.m.
About a dozen different bus lines pick up on Michigan Avenue outside the hotel or it's a short 7-minute walk to the Grand 'L' subway stop. But the property's doorman is always able to help hail a taxi immediately in a pinch.
Located in the heart of River North, the property is near the city's most coveted hotspots. Take a tour of Italy at food hall and grocery Eataly (4-minute walk); try award-winning Mediterranean snout-to-tail at The Purple Pig (5-minute walk); have classic seafood supper club experience at Shaw's Crab House (8-minute walk).
Pick your poison and you're likely to find something nearby: an anthology of craft beers at Howells & Hood (3-minute walk), glasses of sparkling at Pops for Champagne (7-minute walk); or tiki time at Three Dots and a Dash (11-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
It's tough not to have a sweet spot for a well-worn property that upholds its place in local history, and this hotel is no exception. Between the lavish lobby, picturesque pool and prime panoramic views from the tower, there's more than enough eye candy worth bragging about to friends. For first-time tourists, you can't beat the location just off the Magnificent Mile strip and a stone's throw from the Chicago River. Thoughtful, serviceable touches like XBox rentals for kids and hypoallergenic suites make sure guests leave satisfied and taken care of.