Perched on some of the best real-estate in Chicago (cue amazing views), the cosmopolitan Renaissance Chicago is on the south bank of the Chicago River, on West Upper Wacker Drive shouldered by other high-rises. In 2016 the property's $32-million renovation added Raise, a rooftop bar. Enjoy views of the Chicago skyline right from your room or, after dark, head to Raised, with both indoor and outdoor spaces.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Plan to use the hotel's juice? Know that the WiFi is not free.
Whites and grays drive the decor in the rooms (with blue and yellow accents) for a Zen-like vibe. More than just a bed and desk, even the smallest room category comes with a comfy armchair.
Ask for a river view. Trust us: you won't regret it.
Marble and wood make the bathrooms glam, and Aveda toiletries are refreshed daily, but other than that are your basic hotel baths (although spacious).
Funky and artsy, the lobby's taxi-motif mural looks like it was made out of Lite Brite pegs while L cars are depicted on pillars, a reminder of the urban setting outside the hotel. There's plenty of spots to sit down with your laptop or people-watch. The check-in desk looks more like the hostess stand at a hot nightclub, which is what the lobby can feel like at night.
Despite all of the adult-leaning amenities, kids are definitely welcome here, in part because of the property's large size where running and fidgeting isn't going to be noticeable.
Open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., the indoor pool (surrounded by chaises for some chill-axing) is near the 24/7 fitness center.
You can get a massage, facial or body treatment (like the indulgent Warm Honey Drizzle Delight exfoliation and massage) at the hotel's spa, called the Rejuvenation Center.
The gym is stocked with all the equipment you'd expect from a Marriott: ellipticals, cycles, treadmills and weight machines. Free weights are also available for guests' use.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Don't want to miss your yoga class while on the road? The hotel does not offer exercise classes so you'll have to walk outside for a dose of namaste.
Attracting not just hotel guests but walk-in diners, too, Great Street serves breakfast and lunch while Staytion Market & Bar just off the lobby specializes in shareable eats as well as comfort foods (like roasted chicken and meatball pizza), paired with live music Friday nights. Up at Raised, the rooftop bar, are shareable bites plus burgers.
The best seat at the hotel for imbibing is at Raised, the new rooftop bar with indoor and outdoor seating (remember, this is the Windy City!). You can also sip Chicago craft beers at Staytion just off the hotel lobby.
Budding mixologists, take note: mixology classes are offered at the hotel.
In the heart of the Loop, where it borders River North, the hotel is centrally located. An L stop within a few blocks of the hotel will get you anywhere in Chicago while the city buses (146, 147 and 151) running up and down Michigan Avenue three blocks to the East. Uber and taxi drivers continually circle the area, too.
Classic Chicago deep-dish pizza is at Gino's River East North (10-minute walk) while a veritable trip to Italy lies at Eataly (10-minute walk), with Italian specialty-food products for sale as well as several restaurants (you might need to bring a shopping tote!).
Just across the river, Rebar (inside the Trump hotel, a 5-minute walk) serves punch bowls and fun cocktails just a few steps from the river in a glass-enclosed space. Short on time? House of Blues Chicago (4-minute walk) delivers solid blues music and drinks in one visit.
WHY WE LIKE IT
For a brand hotel, this one is ultra-cool and hip, showcasing among the best that Marriott can do. The location can't be beat because within a 15-minute walk you can be in River North, Gold Coast, downtown or the Loop, with museums, trending restaurants and paths along the lakefront just steps from the hotel. There's a lot under one roof, too, from quality dining to a luxurious spa and even an indoor pool.