chicago Travel Guide

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The Virgin Hotel Chicago Strips Down to Reveal Its Signage

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  Site Where: 203 N Wabash [map], Chicago, IL, United States
November 20, 2014 at 6:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's really happening! Gone is the wraparound red construction board at Chicago's eagerly anticipated hotel and in its place, a real live Virgin. Er, marquee.

That's right. Signage just went up at the Virgin Hotel Chicago and it is looking good. Of course, the entrance is predictably Virgin with its red sign lettering and the Virgin logo on the plaque next to the door, but still looking good. We're also chuckling at the cheeky window signage which says, "Is the plural of cheese, cheese or cheeses? Either way I could use a glass of wine." So could we. And some cheeses while we're at it.

Additionally, signage went up for Miss Ricky's All American Diner at the hotel, and a special VIP with some giant red lips stopped by to admire it. Lovely. And slightly scary.



Rates for the hotel, which opens on January 15 start at $219 a night for a Chamber King room.

Congrats to Virgin. Now just make sure the T, E, and L are always lit up. Otherwise, you'll have a real oxymoron on your hands there.

[Photo: Virgin Hotel]

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Virgin Hotels Flaunt Their Free WiFi Around Chicago

November 7, 2014 at 10:22 AM | by | Comments (0)

Once again, Virgin Hotels is harassing driving by other hotels in town, flaunting what they got. This time, it's free WiFi which will be available for every guest at the Virgin Hotel Chicago when it opens in January.

Virgin took the streets of Chicago in a branded van the other night and parked at the intersection of Wells and Adams St., which is conveniently near both the JW Marrioott and the W City Center hotels, two hotels that charge for WiFi in the guest rooms. (Although, internet access is available in the lobby for free.)

But not only did Virgin be like, "Look what we have that they don't have!", they also offered free high-speed WiFi from the van so passerbys could experience the Virgin WiFi network.

Virgin will also not charge for early departure fees, room service delivery fees, minibar stocking fees, and business center fees so expect this van to come back around. again.

[Photo: Virgin Hotels]

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The Short, But Very Important, List of New Hotels Coming to Chicago

October 13, 2014 at 12:25 PM | by | Comments (2)

Chicago has been a breeding ground for new hotels and new hotel concepts for a few years now. We even named it the Best Hotel Scene back in 2011. But the hospitality winds of change are just starting to pick up.

By our count, 8 very important hotels will open in Chicago in the next two years. Of course, there will be many, many, more hotels opening than just eight. But here are the ones we're dying to sleep with.

1. Virgin Chicago: At long last, Virgin Hotels finally revealed its much hyped but much covered up hotel concept last week. And we are loving it. Rooms will officially open to guests in the dead of winter on January 15 at $209 a night. We're currently hunting down a faux fur coat to accompany us on our virgin stay with Virgin Hotels.

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Brilliant: A Virgin Hotels Loyalty Program is In The Works

Where: 203 N Wabash [map], Chicago, IL, United States
October 9, 2014 at 1:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

We now know you can FINALLY book a room at The Virgin Hotel Chicago on January 15, starting at $209 for a Chamber king room. We also know that you'll get a room with a sliding partition, an ergonomic bed, an oversized vanity, minibar snacks at normal prices and free WiFi.

Outside of your kinky room, there will be five restaurants and lounges for you to socialize in because ain't nobody leaving the hotel when it's freezing outside.

But given that Virgin Hotels are an extension of Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic airlines, we have to wonder about the Virgin Hotels Loyalty Program.

The good news is there will definitely be one. But the bad news is we have to wait a little longer for the details. A Virgin Hotels spokesperson has told us that the loyalty program will be coming out much sooner that initially reported (well before the first Virgin Hotel opens) and it will be integrated into the airlines' current loyalty programs. Whee!

So while the ins and outs of the Virgin Hotels loyalty program are still under wraps, we bet if you have status on either Virign America or Virgin Atlantic, you will see probably some status perks at Virgin Hotels.

[Photo: Rayme Gorniak for HotelChatter]

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Ace Hotels to Bring Their A-Game to Chicago

October 9, 2014 at 11:51 AM | by | Comment (1)

What is everyone smoking in Chicago? Because hotels want to go to there, badly.

We're still digesting the news that we'll be able to stay at the Virgin Hotel Chicago on January 15 and we're still not quite over the coolness of the new Soho House Chicago. Heck, we're still in love with Ian Schrager's Public Hotel (although a friend tells us the property is starting to show some wear and tear after three years.) Now, our minds are spinning over the announcement of an Ace Hotel coming to the Windy City.

Curbed Chicago has all the pertinent details of the property and its location.

The upcoming Ace will be located literally right across the street from the old Fulton Market Cold Storage building, which Sterling Bay is also developing. The Fulton Market Cold Storage facility, now called 1K Fulton will become the future home of hundreds of Google employees, as well as the new global headquarters of Chicago-based SRAM Corporation.

The area is also home to the Soho House as well as the upcoming Nobu Chicago.

Details are scant on what will actually be inside this Ace but we bet there will be the usual Ace Hotels amenities like plenty of Pendleton blankets, a coffee shop of some sorts , a hipster sort of restaurant and free WiFi. Yet given that the competition in Chicago is getting fiercer by the minute, we suspect Ace will bring their A-game out with a few more special features. We can't wait to see what those will be.

[Photo: HotelChatter]

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The Virgin Hotel Chicago Will Open, At Last, on January 15 at $209 a Night

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 203 N. Wabash [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601
October 8, 2014 at 12:26 AM | by | Comment (1)

We had hoped Santa Branson would deliver a Virgin Hotel by Christmas but it seems like we’ll have to wait just a tad longer. However, now we can sneak a peek at the mysterious Virgin.

Earlier tonight, Virgin Hotels, at long last, unveiled their new website with actual information, not just rumors, about their hotels. Even better, reservations are now open for the Virgin Chicago starting on January 15. Rates for a “Chamber King” start at $209 a night.

We're still undressing the Virgin Hotels site but here are the pertinent details. Before we go any further, we strongly suggest you watch the video above to get a clear sense of what the hotel has to offer and how they plan on doing it.

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Branson, Baby, Hurry Down The Chimney With The Virgin Chicago This Christmas

October 6, 2014 at 3:32 PM | by | Comment (1)

Virgin Hotels have put an end to the rumors they willingly helped others spread about themselves, but there's still a while to go before the hotel actually opens to the public. Yet if you continue to be good little boys and girls, you should be able to sleep with a Virgin by Christmas.

The unofficial opening date for the Virgin Hotel Chicago is now December. And boy, do we hope Santa Branson and his elves can pull this off. Work is still obviously underway at the hotel and we've yet to see an actual website for the property. But they do have a general manager and a chef on board.

So we hope the rest is just a matter of making lists, checking them twice, finding out what's naughty and nice, and then, finally, crossing them off.

[Photo: Virgin Hotels/Facebook]

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Funky Friday: An Ice Cream Sundae At The Langham Chicago Will Cost More Than Your Room

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 330 North Wabash Avenue [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60611
October 3, 2014 at 6:22 PM | by | Comments (0)

Welcome to Funky Friday, a new segment we’re trying out which features one photo that we think singularly expresses a hotel’s inner psyche. We look for, and often find, a lot of wacky, wild and wondrous designs that seem to have one thing in common: a Type A personality. So why not have a bit of fun as we all wrap up our week by taking a quick look at some hotels that quite frankly, want our attention.

We love hearing about a hotel’s latest dessert creations – more so directly experiencing — and when chocolate’s involved, they’ve got our attention. If it’s outrageous enough, for example, the 'Chicolate Room' at the Four Seasons Milan, we give it a friendly does of Funky Friday. Equally outrageous and jaw dropping, so to speak, is the series of high-end desserts, and their high end price tags, presently offered at The Langham Chicago.

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What's Inside Marriott's New Healthy Vending Machine?

September 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM | by | Comments (2)

While its tipping envelope initiative continues to dominate the headlines, Marriott's introduction of a healthy vending machine at its Chicago O'Hare airport location has been much less controversial. Earlier this month, it jumped on the bandwagon of a Chicago start-up called Farmer's Fridge, which creates healthy options using local ingredients, puts them in a jar, and delivers them to vending machines throughout the city.

Yep, healthy food in jars, which can be recycled back into the vending machine after the meal. There's approximately 12 of them in Chicago, and Marriott plans to test out the concept for the next five months at O'Hare. It seems like a great fit for an airport hotel, with plenty of guests on the go, many arriving late at night and departing early in the morning when hotel restaurants may not be open. This, in theory, gives them an option that's healthier than a fast food restaurant or a candy bar from a typical vending machine. We've certainly been there.

We haven't swung through to try it for ourselves, but are very curious to see how travelers respond to it. We're also interested to know if the food's any good, so drop us a line if you've tried it. As for what's on the menu, here's the full list of the items inside, which range from $3 to $12 dollars in price:

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Inside The Soho House Chicago, Not Just for Members Only

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 113-125 N. Green Street [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60607
September 15, 2014 at 12:08 PM | by | Comment (1)

A few weeks ago, Soho House opened their newest, exclusive hideaway in Chicago. We finally went to check it out for ourselves and we think, this might just be the one of the best hotels in Chicago.

The property has 40 bedrooms, three restaurants (all open to the public), a private cinema and a retro-styled gym with a vintage boxing ring and aerial yoga classes. Soho House is also located on a back street in the West Loop neighborhood behind the hottest restaurant precinct in town. (Since you can clearly work off whatever you ate the night before, there's no reason not to take a few steps to some of the eateries found on Randolph Street.)

Take a look around a "Medium" room at the Soho House Chicago

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Oh No They Didn't! Virgin Drops Doormats at Competing Hotels in Chicago

September 9, 2014 at 8:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

Looks like starting crazy rumors about themselves wasn't enough.

Virgin Hotels are now printing those rumors--on doormats--and dropping them off at other competing hotels in Chicago. Here are a couple of snapshots of the upcoming hotel's cheeky brand awareness campaign.

We've actually seen this sort of campaign before when CitizenM parked a stretch limo plastered with ads for their new Times Square hotel in front of luxury hotels. We like the doormat idea better but would it have hurt you, Virgin, to put an opening date on the doormat? #canthardlywaitanylonger

[Photos via Virgin Hotels]

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Kimpton to Open Their 5th Hotel in Chicago in 2016

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  Site Where: 37-43 South LaSalle [map], Chicago, IL, United States
August 19, 2014 at 11:54 AM | by | Comments (0)

That old saying, "Three's a crowd", clearly never bothered Kimpton Hotels who have had not three, but four hotels in Chicago for quite some time. And now, the boutique brand is working on their fifth hotel for the Windy City. Fifth!

Kimpton recently purchased a historic office building in the Central Loop neighborhood. Built by architect William Le Baron Jenney in 1894, the building was previously known as the LaSalle-Monroe Building and before that, The New York Life Building.

Kimpton will renovate and refurbish the property to open by early 2016. The hotel will have 281 rooms, 9,500-sq.ft. of retail space on the ground floor, a restaurant and bar and a top floor ballroom with views of LaSalle street. We're guessing that means the Starbucks and Subway, shown in the photo above, will probably move out.

New York-based architect Gensler and Los Angeles-based design firm Beleco, will work with Kimpton's senior VP of design, Ave Bradley, to create a "locally appropriate" style.

And of course, all the Kimpton amenities that we love will be in play like free WIFi for Karma members, complimentary wine hour for guests and fun animal-print bathrobes.

Meanwhile, we hear that Kimpton will make yet ANOTHER new hotel announcement very soon, regarding a new hotel in the South. Our sources say it will be in Palm Beach but a Kimpton spokesperson would not comment on that. We'll just have to wait it out then.

[Photo: Wikipedia]