Occupying a former belt factory in the West Loop, this private members club's hotel feels like a bohemian artist's loft. Artists, architects, and musicians lounge in the chandelier-decked lobby, which slings cold-pressed juices by day and craft cocktails at night. The contemporary-art collection, featuring pieces by the likes of Damien Hirst, is a draw for art lovers, while foodies appreciate the proximity to Randolph Street restaurants. Handsome hotel rooms, which are clubby but not cloying, are open to the public. Hotel guests also get access to three on-site restaurants, bar, spa, gym and rooftop pool.
Each of the rooms--spanning three categories that are quirkily named: Tiny and Small, Medium and Medium Plus, and Big (the largest, at 600 square feet, including a dining area)--feature warm-toned fabrics like brick-red, charcoal-grey, gold and shades of blue and purple, in contrasting patterns that somehow work. Furnishings, including two plush armchairs at the foot of the bed, channel midcentury-modern design.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The Tiny and Small room category is just what it sounds like...small. It's only 200 square feet. You might consider upgrading to a larger room (the Medium room is 500 square feet) if traveling as a couple.
In each of the Big rooms is a free-standing tub and walk-in rainforest shower, while all other rooms have a shower only (which is the size of a large closet). Grey tiles on the floor and walls are a nice shift from all-white baths. Toiletries are from Cowshed Spa, linked to all Soho House properties, including the Chicago hotel's spa.
One nice advantage to checking into a hotel not in downtown Chicago is that there's more square footage in the hotel's footprint. This includes the lobby, where the decor evokes the 1920s and 1930s with exposed-brick walls, plush tufted-back armchair and sofas, an open concept and crystal chandeliers overhead. There's not a single piece of furniture that doesn't look like it came from that time period, too, but that hasn't gotten in the way of folks working on their laptops for hours here.
Up on the rooftop is the hotel's 60-foot-long pool flaunting superb Chicago-skyline views. Outdoor fireplaces and beach-house-type furnishings make this feel more like California than Chi-Town.
Cowshed Spa is here, like at other Soho House properties, around the globe. There are five treatment rooms plus six chairs dedicated to servicing manis and pedis.
Clocking in at 19,000-square-feet this is one of the best gyms at a Chicago hotel. There's also a fun, unique perk: a full-on boxing ring.
Three restaurants are open to non-members who are guests at the hotel: The Allis (all-day dining that includes flaky croissants for breakfast and wood-fired eats at night), Fox Bar (a Brit-style small-plates and drinks bar) and Chicken Shop (rotisserie-style chicken).
Enjoy the Chicago-skyline view with food and drink delivered poolside at the rooftop pool.
All three dining venues open to non-members who are hotel guests offer drink menus. The Allis is where you'll find the most exquisite wines as well as craft cocktails with fun flavors, like "Turning Japanese" with its chamomile, lavender, spiced pear and whiskey.
Book a table for Afternoon Tea at The Allis, served daily from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The West Loop location means you're in the thick of some of the city's hottest restaurants (just a five- to 10-minute walk away) but you'll have to hop an Uber or Lyft to get to the lakefront museums (Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago). Thankfully, those rides won't take more than 20 minutes.
"Top Chef" winner Stephanie Izard's Girl & The Goat (literally around the corner) hasn't slipped out of style since its 2010 opening; on the dinner menu are a mix of raw bar, pig and pork items. Across the street is Au Cheval, which many Chicagoans dub the city's best burger.
The Aviary (8-minute walk), if you can snag a reservation, is a haute cocktail bar that's a definite experience, where mixologists employ a chef-grade kitchen for their craft. Swift & Sons (8-minute walk), also in the Fulton Market area, has one of the city's best wine lists and is your basic old-school steakhouse reinvented.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The West Loop is hopping and if you're a foodie who has to hit all the best spots then this is your place because everything is a quick walk. Sure, it's a bit of a haul to get to the lakefront for museums and cultural attractions but you're really only crossing the Loop area, made easy thanks to public-transit as well as Uber and Lyft drivers. For creative professionals, you'll not only drool over the design but if you bring your business cards you might even engage in some networking with fellow guests and members.