True to Westin's wellness-oriented brand, this 752-room hotel scores big with travelers: there's a spa, fitness center and weekly guided runs. Major malls and flagship shops are steps from the front door. Once inside, the lobby seems a bit like an airport terminal—long, narrow, and full of folks tapping away on laptops—but the rooms are restful, furnished with specially designed Heavenly beds, which guests rave about and, on occasion, purchase. The Grill on the Alley is a steak house with a clubby atmosphere. Westin Executive Club members receive access to a club lounge that includes complimentary breakfast.
Want a partial view of Lake Michigan? Ask for a room as high up as you can go.
Hanging above each bed is a blown-up shot of the city's elevated-train rails and plush blue pillows on a loveseat-sized sofa. Families can easily spread out in the Deluxe Family Room, the same size (395 square feet) as the Deluxe Guest Room but with two beds instead of one. Business travelers can appreciate the work area that's not only ergonomic but stylish, with ample task lighting, a faux-cork vinyl chair and, in most cases, a nice view. Traveling with your dog? There's no extra charge added to the rate, so long as the dog is 50 pounds or less, and you can request a Heavenly dog-sized bed.
YOU SHOULD KNOW For an average of $25 more per night, it's not really worth it to spring for the "Flexible Rate + Breakfast" package, considering there are amazing places to grab breakfast right outside of the hotel for much less.
All-marble baths are modern and, although not visually striking, are clean and modern. Rainforest shower-heads are in each bath, too. White-tea scented toiletries are the signature (and soothing) amenities you'll find at all Westin properties.
In the lobby is a cafe serving pastries and Starbucks coffee, and a stunning open staircase along with natural light, tasteful furnishings (sofas arranged in conversation areas) and bright-yellow pillows as a style element.
Body Rituals Boutique Spa's menu features a variety of treatments. Tying into Westin's wellness mantras, a line of vegan nail polishes is used in the salon for manis and pedis.
Open 24/7, the third-floor fitness center's machines are stocked with personal TVs so you can multi-task. New to the hotel are Peloton bikes, which stream classes and rides. Guided runs are hosted by a hotel employee every Thursday at 6:45 a.m.
Save room in your suitcase by paying just $5 to borrow freshly laundered workout clothing (including shoes), thanks to the property's New Balance Gear Lending amenity.
In addition to a daytime-only cafe in the lobby serving pastries, snacks and coffee, the hotel is connected to a steakhouse. Guests can charge meals back to the room. The Grill in the Alley serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, bringing out the big guns at dinner, like Tomahawk Pork Chop with a side of apple butter (or California turkey melt for lunch, as one example).
While The Grill on the Alley features a bar, and you can charge back to the room, it's not a true hotel bar in that the management is the same. Still, the selection of cocktails is vast enough to keep you happy if all you want is a drink without walking far.
A car isn't needed at this hotel which is great because the $70 valet parking fee can create sticker shock. The 146, 147 and 151 buses running up and down Michigan Avenue, the street this hotel is on, get you all the way to Lincoln Park as well as the South Loop. The nearest L stop is a 13-minute walk but Uber and taxi drivers roam this part of Chicago on a regular rotation and aren't difficult to nab.
Restoration Hardware's restaurant concept, 3 Arts Club Cafe (15-minute walk), is located inside a gorgeous glass-enclosed courtyard at one of its stores, serving everything from morning scrambles to truffled grilled-cheese at lunch, plus cold-pressed juices. Beatrix's Streeterville location (9-minute walk) is big on salads along with vegan entrees and fun bowl dishes like poke.
Rush Street is one of Chicago's hottest bar districts. Tavern on Rush (7-minute walk) hosts DJs in its lounge every night of the week. For a quirky dive-bar scene, head to The Hangge-Uppe (10-minute walk) for suds and a fun vibe.
WHY WE LIKE IT
This property is consistent with the Westin brand: there's a clean, modern look to the design; staff is friendly and upbeat; and pretty much everything you need (including dining, a fitness center and a spa) is under one roof. Plus, this location can't be beat: you're close to bars, the arts, museums and shopping. Rooms are spacious and updated every few years. Travelers tend to be a mix of SPG guests traveling on business and families looking for a moderately priced hotel just a short walk from activities.