Location is a big draw for visitors to this hotel near the Magnificent Mile. Inside you'll find spacious, comfortable rooms in neutral shades, with modern bathrooms and superlative city views. Clientele is mostly international but also includes suburbanites eager for a city fix. Non-hotel guests love to descend upon Drumbar, the 18th-floor rooftop bar, in warmer weather.
A $25 million renovation in 2006 upped this hotel's look by many notches but by now the rooms appear a little dated, although the neutral shades go a long way. A Keurig coffee maker and iHome docking system are small, but important, comforts.
Request a west-facing room for a close-up look at the John Hancock Center.
A rainforest shower-head is one of the modern amenities in the bath. Leave extra room in your suitcase to stow away toiletries from GUYandGIRL Spa, a Miami Beach pampering destination.
Don't linger in the small lobby--with little more than a check-in desk and a few chairs, there's not much excitement there.
A small fitness center on the second floor means you never have to miss a work-out during your stay. Looking for classes? Ask for a $10-off coupon on a Core Fusion class at Exhale Spa nearby.
The all-white elegant Pelago Ristorante dining room doesn't feel like hotel restaurant at all--instead, it is the setting for many romantic dinners out, with food menus inspired by both Northern and Southern Italy. It's run by a husband-wife team who are a Michelin-star chef (him) and an architect (her). On warm nights, the brick-walled terrace is open.
Tucked into the tony Gold Coast area two blocks west of Lake Michigan, the well-heeled neighborhood is filled with shops and restaurants. To get downtown to the Loop for a museum or other attraction, get an Uber or Lyft for the quick ride. Or, a 20-minute trip on the L's Red Line or city bus (147 or 151) is a breeze.
Lou Malnati's (11-minute walk) is conveniently close to the hotel for sampling Chicago's deep-dish style pizza. Cafe Spiaggia (5-minute walk) is the less-costly cousin of Spiaggia, one of the Obamas' favorite restaurants.
Sip with a view at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center, which is a half-block west of the hotel (you can't miss it!). Want to finish off your shopping success with a drink and experience Chicago nostalgia? Inside Water Tower is Harry Caray's 7th Inning Stretch, filled with sports memorabilia linked to the late Cubs announcer.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This hotel isn't as widely known as its glitzy neighbors--like the Drake and The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago--but that's what makes it so appealing to travelers who want good value for their money. This smart-luxury property flaunts a be-seen type of rooftop bar, a chic restaurant and spacious rooms, even if you decide not to upgrade to a suite.