Tucked into the Streeterville neighborhood, which is wedged between bustling North Michigan Avenue and the lakefront, families love this hotel for the suite-like accommodations and kid-friendly offerings (like toys, night lights, and DVDs with DVD players that are free to use during your stay, plus the "Loews Loves Kids" activity book). There's also a spa, indoor pool, rooftop terrace and restaurant. Contemporary-styled rooms have all you'd expect, along with plenty of USB ports to charge your devices.
Traveling with a tween or teen? Loews gives this age group music-download cards, plus access to a library of board games and Gameboys, and a list of nearby teen-friendly shopping and attractions.
Awash in creams and grays, the modernized rooms (there are 400 total) feature floor-to-ceiling windows, tons of outlets and USB ports ensure you never run out of juice, and a Keurig coffeemaker. A task chair with the work desk is great for working in comfort. There are 25 suites that are upgraded to include a soaking tub and separate living area.
Pets are welcome with a $100 one-time fee, probably best for stays of more than a night as the fee is the same between one and six nights. Still, a dog-friendly (and cat-friendly) room-service menu and tons of treats--plus a dog bed and dog-walking map--keep tails wagging.
In your bath is either a shower/tub combo or glass-enclosed shower stall. Counter space is maximized, perfect for getting ready each morning. A dark-brown vanity includes open-shelf storage. Wallpaper in the toilet space features Chicago street maps.
Past the glossy prism exterior is a less-harsh interior, with a crackling see-through fireplace and check-in hosted at a trio of white exposed-brick desks. There's lots of seating in the lobby, including communal tables and two-tops, all well suited to working on laptops or enjoying a drink. Furnishings are midcentury-modern in style, including white club chairs with gold finishes. ETA bar is just off to the side of the lobby, within easy reach for connecting with others over cocktails.
The75-foot indoor pool is designed to hold a lap lane as well as open space for families or other swimmers to use.
Massages as well as salon treatments can be serviced at the hotel's spa.
YOU SHOULD KNOW This isn't a luxury full-service spa. Changing areas are tiny and there isn't a lot of relaxation space.
Within the fitness center--open 24/7--are state-of-the-art machines (ellipticals, treadmills, etc.) along with free weights.
ETA Restaurant & Bar strives to please all palates with New American dishes created from regionally sourced ingredients and served all day long. For example, broccoli cheddar soup with pretzel grilled-cheese; or the fried-chicken BLT. Bites are served in the Lobby Lounge. Bistro-type food is available at Streeterville Social on the rooftop (open during warmer months only). For grab-and-go breakfast, a Starbucks in the hotel is well suited, open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Drinks at ETA Restaurant & Bar are well thought-out, with quirky names like Portland Rose or the L lines (for example, the Green Line and the Brown Line). Beer and wine selections are plentiful, with a few Chicago craft breweries highlighted. Streeterville Social's craft-beer menu includes Chicago-made beers and frozen cocktails are perfect on a hot day.
Self-parking is an affordable (for downtown Chicago hotels, at least) $42 a night for self-parking. Valet runs $69--save $27 a night by going with self-parking. But you really don't need a car during your stay. Lyft and Uber drivers are always within a few blocks and public-transit is convenient: the Grand L station is a 12-minute walk and buses running up and down North Michigan Avenue, two blocks to the west, can take you anywhere north and south.
While both casual and fine-dining are all near the hotel, a Chicago-style hot dog at Portillo's (17-minute walk) is never a bad idea. For a great breakfast or brunch that appeals to all diets (including gluten-free and folks who eat anything and everything), Beatrix (15-minute walk) is an excellent choice.
Howl at the Moon (13-minute walk) is a dueling-piano bar that offers entertainment and awesome drinks. Dave & Buster's Near North Side location (10-minute ride) is part of a national chain filled with arcade games for the entire family as well as adult-friendly areas.
WHY WE LIKE IT
It's a rare hotel that can appeal to business travelers, families with young kids and those traveling with pets. This hotel does it all. Dining options are delicious and affordably priced, a boon if your time in Chicago is limited or you simply don't want to spend nights away from the property. The indoor pool is a rare perk for a downtown-Chicago hotel and open year-round. Come summer, the rooftop Streeterville Social is a place to hang whether you're a guest or not.