chicago Travel Guide

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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]

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Checking In On: The Soho House Chicago

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  Site Where: 113-125 N. Green Street [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60607
August 18, 2014 at 12:32 PM | by | Comments (3)

The Soho House Chicago has been open for a week now and since we're still, um, working on our Chicago travel plans, we thought we'd do a cursory check of recent internet reactions.

The hotel surprisingly lacks a TripAdvisor page, so we're unable to find out the nitty gritty details of like quirky elevators or loud vents or issues with WiFi. But here's what we've gleamed about the new hotel from both the mainstream media and the (probably more important) social media:

New York Times: There's a custom, on-site boxing ring coming soon.

New York Post: Nine different products from Cowshed line the showers.

Eater Chicago: Go inside the Chicken Shop and Pizza East, both London-based restaurants that have spun off to Chicago.

Chicago Mag: The "ultra-indulgent" treatment from the Cowshed Spa is actually just a pedicure.

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The Soho House Chicago Will Open on August 11 at $240 a Night

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  Site Where: 113-125 N. Green Street [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60607
July 29, 2014 at 1:20 PM | by | Comments (2)

We told you back in March that the Soho House Chicago would be opening in August and well, wouldn't you know? The Chicago spinoff of the London members-only club--with hotel rooms attached--is actually opening next month, on August 11 to be exact.

Located in the West Loop nabe in an old warehouse that was once home to the Chicago Belting Factory, the Soho House Chicago will now offer 40 rooms, ranging in sizes Small, Medium and Medium Plus.

The small rooms, which are going for $240 a night on opening night, start at 300-sq.ft. and include free WiFi; complimentary tea, coffee and homemade biscuits; and Cowshed products in the bathroom. The website also says a hair straightener will be included with the hair dryer. Score one for the curly-haired ladies out there.

The Medium rooms offer 450-sq.ft. of space while the Medium Plus rooms bump up to a generous 650-sq.ft of space with a bathtub in the bathroom. (The other rooms only have showers.) Rates for these rooms are going for $350 on opening night. Sadly, there are only illustrations of the rooms online and not real photographs. Hopefully, we can get some of those for you to peep real soon.

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Thompson Chicago Now More Luxe, Thanks to New Lexus Rides

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  Site Where: 21 E Bellevue [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60611
July 11, 2014 at 12:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's not a rare 1961 Ferrari GT California but it is pretty sweet.

Thompson Chicago has revved up their offerings for hotel guests, thanks to a new partnership with Lexus.

Guests can ride around town in a sleek Lexus IS 350 convertible or a ginormous LX 570 LUV--luxury utility vehicle--without any mileage restrictions, i.e. no one telling you the ride is only good for a one-mile radius from the hotel. The rides are complimentary and feature a pre-programmed navigation system with addresses to Chicago landmarks and nearby road trip destinations outside of Illinois. But of course, you'll still rely on Google Maps anyways.

Guests can also choose to ride in the house car, which is an LS 460 L flagship sedan, driven by a personal chauffeur and equipped with complimentary bottled water, the Chicago Tribune newspaper and Wi-Fi mobile hotspot functionality.

Rates next weekend at Thompson start at $429 a night so having the use of a Lexus during your stay makes that a little more bearable. And if you already own a Lexus, you can book the Thompson Chicago through the Lexus Drivers Site and get a $100 hotel credit which can be used towards dining and drinks at the hotel's Salone Nico or Nico Osteria.

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From Beer To Bourbon, Four Seasons Is Getting Its Spas All Boozy

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  Site Where: 120 E Delaware Pl [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60611
July 10, 2014 at 12:47 AM | by | Comments (0)

Possibly not the scrub selection

First it was massage with beer. Now it’s with bourbon. Are Four Seasons trying to tell us something?

Yes, hot on the heels of FS Vail’s bro-tastic beer massage comes word of FS Chicago’s Vintage Bourbon Massage – and this one is far classier than the last.

First comes the scrub: a wicked scrub of brown sugar, ginger, pecan and Kentucky bourbon. Then, once your pores have been suitably boozed up (and back bacteria slaughtered by the bourbon), comes the massage – not just any massage, but one with hot stones.

Does it get any better than a bourbon scrub and a hot stone rub? Indeed it does. The treatment ends at the bar: not the poncy spa bar, but the actual hotel bar, Allium, where you’ll sample its signature single-barrel bourbon. Presumably you’ll be expected to change out of your robe for this part.

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W Chicago-Lakeshore Unveils Their Very Swish New Look

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  Site Where: 644 N. Lake Shore Drive [map], Chicago , IL, United States, 60611
July 1, 2014 at 3:25 PM | by | Comments (2)

Sleeker. Sexier. Sassier.

Those are the three words used to describe the freshly revealed design of W Chicago Lakeshore after a massive renovation that made this beach-side stunner even more stunning.

Forking over about $38 million dollars for a much-needed refresh of the 520 guest rooms and suites, corridors, and even building exterior, the only hotel that overlooks Lake Michigan is once again the hotspot for visitors. And for locals too thanks to a few new restaurant and lounge offerings.

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The Virgin Hotel Chicago Announces Executive Chef (and Six F&B Concepts)

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  Site Where: 203 N. Wabash [map], Chicago, IL , United States, 60601
June 30, 2014 at 4:39 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Virgin Hotel Chicago announced their new executive chef last week and with that announcement we also learned a little bit more about the very mysterious Virgin we're dying to sleep with.

Chef Rick Gresh comes to Virgin after a 7-year stint as Executive Chef at David Burke's Primehouse restaurant at The James Hotel, which was deemed "Best Steakhouse" by Chicago Magazine in 2013. He's been cooking in Chicago for nearly 20 years and puts innovative concepts and local sourcing at the forefront of his approach to cooking. Here's what he said about joining Team Virgin:

“I am thrilled to join Virgin Hotels and inspired by their dedication to exceptional, locally sourced food,” says Gresh. “With six unique concepts under one property, this project will mark a landmark moment in Chicago’s F&B landscape, and I am very excited to be a part of the team.”

Yup. Read it again. He really did say SIX F&B concepts.

What will those be? We can only guess but it will include at least the hotel's main restaurant, probably the rooftop, possibly a bar menu, hypothetically a small cafe and maybe, room service? But that's only five concepts. Dammit, Virgin. You're killing us here. Guess we will have to wait until September when the hotel opens to find out.

In the meantime, here are 6 things we already know about Virgin Hotels.

[Photo: Virgin Hotels]

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Grupo Habita Will Be Bringing Its Edgy Modern Flare To Chicago in 2015

May 28, 2014 at 6:17 PM | by | Comment (1)

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Sleep Menu Hits the Right Notes at Hard Rock Hotel Chicago

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  Site Where: 230 N Michigan Ave [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601
May 28, 2014 at 1:45 PM | by | Comments (0)

According to European folklore (and Metallica) a late night visit from The Sandman brings deep sleep and dreams. Which is a lot less creepy than the name implies — because frankly, “The Sandman” also sounds like some kind of serial killer summoned by chanting his name in the bathroom mirror. Just saying.

Luckily (or not, depending on your predilection for heavy metal and horror movies) it’s the former, shuteye-inducing Sandman paged by the new “Sleep Menu” available at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago. The menu offers complimentary rentals of simple aids like ear plugs and extra blankets, plus a humidifier and a sound machine full of sleep-inducing background noise: Thunder, white noise, babbling brooks and whatnot. (Ask nicely, maybe they’ll upload Lady Gaga’s latest. ZING!) Drop a little extra dime, and you can get anything from a relaxing eye mask to chamomile tea, a Hot Toddy to a bottle of “Relax” brand wine.

And of course, you’ll be resting your head in the same Hard Rock where music stars like Cyndi Lauper and Boyz II Men have recently caught some Z’s. Guy Fieri too, but we weren’t going to mention that. We’re going for sweet dreams, not high-cholesterol nightmares.

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Some More Groovy Art on Display at Chicago's Hotel Palomar

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  Site Where: 505 North State [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60654
May 23, 2014 at 11:07 AM | by | Comments (0)

Chicago hotels are really upping their art game. We told you about Radisson Blu Aqua's special photography gallery and now The Hotel Palomar bringing back their popular "Sleeping with the Artist" exhibit.

The series is a partnership with the city's Revolving Collection Gallery, showcasing emerging artists on three floors of the River North hotel. Each of the artist's suites will feature an installation art piece that looks more like cool street art than museum classics.

Each floor is also transformed into its own gallery so a simple walk to the elevator might take a few more minutes as you stop and soak up the creativity. And if you're a guest of the hotel on a frequent basis, you won't get bored since the installations will rotate throughout the year.

Starting rates for a standard queen room hover around $329 and if you just need to "sleep with the artist", a night in the artist suit in June will set you back $609

[Photo: Hotel Palomar Chicago Facebook]

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Chicago's Radisson Blu Now Hanging Vivian Maier Photos in The Lobby

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  Site Where: 221 N. Columbus Drive [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601
May 20, 2014 at 9:51 AM | by | Comments (0)

The Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago changed the city's skyline when it first opened four years ago, the first Radisson Blu on U.S. shores. Now the hotel has made some changes to its lobby, marrying an industrial-style with a modern twist.

Don't worry, they've kept the flashy gold disc wall. But now, the walls opposite this eye-catching feature black and white photography from local artist, Vivian Maier.

Maier, transplanted from the East Coast via Paris, lived on the North Shore of Chicago for 40 years prior to her death and captured the lively street scenes of the Second City in ghostly black and white. Radisson Blu's new lobby features the 11 best pieces from her portfolio, all of which are photos of Chicago's streets and avenues.

The framed images are a perfect addition to the brick walls in the lobby and offer up a little something to look at while enjoying a cocktail (or two) in the cool bar. If your visiting the city and want to see more of the acclaimed artist, head west a few blocks to Harold Washington Library where a full exhibition is on display until September.

Rates at the Radisson Blu start around $340 a night for a weekend in early June.

[Photos: Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago]

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Langham Chicago to Serve Up Tacos and Treats at New Outdoor Restaurant This Summer

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  Site Where: 330 N Wabash [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60611
May 13, 2014 at 1:47 PM | by | Comments (0)

We've gushed about the inside of the Langham Chicago and now we're getting excited about the outside as the hotel rolls out a new al fresco dining spot that will send Chicago into a tizzy.

This summer, the hotel's fine-dining establishment, Travelle, will spin-off an outdoor restaurant on the banks of the Chicago River. Elle on the River will claim the open spot from the hotel to the river between State and Wabash and should be the hot-spot for visitors and locals alike all season. Tim Graham, the chef inside, will oversee the menu outside, filling it with Mediterranean-style tacos and refreshing punches for those lingering long lunches. Some dishes to choose from include tacos filled with chickpea to mahi mahi and chicken to braised pork shoulder

And if the temps aren't hot enough, chef has prepared some house-made hot sauces to kick up the spice. An apropos "rookie" sauce is perfect for beginners, where the "blazing" is for the more seasoned.

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