Built in the late 1920s as a luxury-apartment building, this Gold Coast boutique hotel, which now compares to a Comfort Inn, has hosted the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Mick Jagger. Spacious, updated rooms are close to Magnificent Mile shopping, Rush Street nightlife, and the Oak Street beach. Two restaurants are on-site.
Inquire about "park and drive" packages that include $10 parking, a drastic reduction from the $65 rate (which is nearly 75% of the room rate in off-season).
High-quality linens and lots of dark wood reinforce the boutique-y feel, along with antique dressers and four-poster bed frames featuring curvy iron work, perfect for a romantic getaway.
Request a room with a view of Lake Michigan--no matter the season, it's a relaxing scene to wake up to each morning.
Baths are spacious and awash in marble, including the countertop vanity, and modernized within the last few years. Robes help stave off a cold night in the Windy City.
Entering the intimate lobby feels like arriving at a friend's apartment building in the city, complete with a doorman, crystal chandelier, tiled floor and friendly staff at the check-in desk. The 1920s-themed clubby Whitehall Place Lounge is a great spot to relax with a drink or wait for your room to be ready, should you arrive early.
Free weights and a few machines (including treadmills) are available to guests who want to keep up on their work-out routine while on the road.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Looking for state-of-the-art equipment? This gym's machines are very outdated. Yes, they work, but proceed with caution.
The Northern Italian-themed Fornetto Mei serves standout pizzas topped with off-beat ingredients like grapes and goat cheese, paired with martinis and selections from the wine list, while Mei's Corner is a casual, street-level Chinese restaurant with authentic food and decent prices for the area. This is more than Kung Pao chicken, however: Berkshire pork is one example of the upmarket ingredients.
Grab a cocktail in the Whitehall Place Lounge where the refurbished decor authentically dials it back to the 1920s. Glasses of wine are also available at Fornetto Mei, ideal for pre-dinner drinks before hitting up any of Mag Mile's restaurants.
You really don't need a car at this Gold Coast property. The lakefront's attractions, including Oak Street Beach and Navy Pier, are a quick Uber ride away while within walking distance are dozens of restaurants, bars and shops. To get downtown and to the Loop, hop on any of the 146, 147 and 151 buses running up and down North Michigan Avenue, a block east of the hotel.
It would practically be criminal to leave Chicago without trying two staples: hot dogs and deep-dish pizzas. Wildly popular outposts of both are near the hotel: Portillo's Hot Dogs (14-minute walk) and Lou Malnati's (6-minute walk). For a great breakfast spot that pleases all palates, visit Eataly (11-minute walk), an Italian-foods marketplace with restaurants on the upper level and, on the street level, a Lavazza cafe with decadent pastries and coffee drinks.
River North is buzzing with new bar and lounge openings, including LiqrBox (15-minute walk), a tri-level dance club and "adult juice boxes." An old favorite from a chef-owner who has won a James Beard Award is Purple Pig on Michigan Avenue (13-minute walk), serving cocktails with small bites, such as charcuterie plates.
WHY WE LIKE IT
For this price point (during the off-season rates fall to $75), the value is incredible. Rooms are spacious, the location is ideal (walking distance or a quick ride to museums, shopping and restaurants in the Gold Coast, River North and Loop), and two restaurants on site (both of which are decent) provide flexibility for grabbing meals during a packed itinerary.