Fresh off a major renovation in 2017, in celebration of the hotel's 107th anniversary, the lobby is a crown jewel in Chicago's architecture scene. Guest rooms are simple and elegant, with enough flair to feel updated yet still give a sense of the rich past. Property perks include the popular Mercat a la Planxa tapas-style restaurant and bar. Ask about the hotel's storied past: presidents as well as mob bosses have all done their time here.
With black-leather Eames lounge chairs in some, and robin's-egg-blue and espresso-black accents throughout, the rooms are striking. They're also spacious with black-and-white photo prints of Chicago as well as other locally procured art hung on the wall. A tower bookshelf holds a few hardback books and decorative arts, causing the room to feel more like a living room (that's a good thing!). If you can manage it, and are a huge fan of design, splurge for a suite: think gold-relief on the fireplace mantel, a crystal chandelier, gold fainting sofa and window views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan. Club Level rooms (floors 20-23) include access to the concierge lounge for complimentary breakfast and all-day refreshments. Pets under 50 pounds are welcome with a $75 fee for the entire stay. Dogs are allowed up to 75 pounds.
Lots of Chicago hotels tout their "lake view" rooms but the Lake View rooms here are actually unobstructed.
White-marble baths with their black-and-white paisley-print wallpaper are like stepping into luxury every morning.
The lobby is where the hotel is the fanciest--go figure--but it's also a high-design spot worth whipping out your camera for, with black-shag and turquoise-velvet armchairs, a steamer-trunk side table and gold, gold, gold everywhere. There's also a crackling fireplace to keep the place cozy.
The sixth-floor fitness center is open 24/7 and paired with a stunning view of Grant Park.
Barcelona's influence shines on the tapas menu at Mercat a la Planxa, open for dinner only (plus weekend brunch). Continually ranked as one of the country's best tapas spots, there's a mix of traditional tapas (patatas bravas and white anchovies) and heartier entrees like rack of lamb or grass-fed hangar steak.
An L stop is just three blocks from the hotel (the Harrison stop) and the 147 bus running up and down South Michigan Avenue traces the lakefront, leading to shopping, museums and attractions. A car isn't really needed during your stay and, by not bringing one, you can save money on the steep daily parking fee of $69.
If you've never had Chicago's deep-dish style pizza, you're in luck because a Lou Malnati's is nearby (5-minute walk). Umai (8-minute walk), with soaring ceilings, a bright airy environment and amazing Japanese cuisine (including steak, ramen and sashimi) is in Printer's Row
Buddy Guy's Legends (2-minute walk) proves that Chicago's blues scene hasn't died and is linked to the iconic musician, who performs some nights. For drinks with a view, head to Chicago Athletic Association's Cindy's Rooftop (13-minute walk), a rooftop bar with fun cocktails and across the street from Millennium Park.