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Best Hotel Scene of 2011: Chicago Is Having a Bit of a Hotel Renaissance

December 30, 2011 at 3:35 PM | by | ()

It's what you've been waiting all year for--The 2011 HotelChatter Awards! We'll be bringing you the best and worst of the year all day today and part of tomorrow. Agree or disagree with our picks? Air your thoughts in the comments below.

This year marked the introduction of not one but three major hotel brands to the good ol' US of A. And the midwestern city they all chose as a launching pad? Why, Chicago! Where else?

After Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago and Public Chicago opened literally within a month of each other, we then got sideblinded by the news that, when it debuts in 2013, Virgin Hotels' first location will be Chicago (specifically, in the North Loop, next to The Wit and Trump Chicago). We wondered for a minute whether this had been Virgin's plan all along, or if they simply got wind of the burgeoning hotel scene going on in Chicago right now, and decided to forgo the coastal cities like New York and LA.

Either way, we see this as the city to watch in 2012, and we can hardly wait for 2013 to come so we can get inside the world's first Virgin Hotel. Until then, however, there will be plenty going on in this city—we're looking at you, Waldorf-Astoria and JDV!—to keep us distracted.

Despite some peanut gallery comments from our snarky Chicago cab driver, we find Public Chicago's straightforward nomenclature rather endearing—and even refreshing.

Perhaps Chicago could go in a different direction than LA's celebrity-filled VIP lounges, or New York's too-hip-for-words downtown scene (have you ever tried hanging out at Dream Downtown's rooftop lounge, Ph-D, on a Saturday night? Yeah, we didn't think so).

As our very own JetSetCD noted back when Virgin announced their Chicago location in November, Chicago is traditionally a more conservative place that's "balanced by huge creativity," which allows both conventional and unconventional hotel brands to thrive here. And with all the trimmings like rooftop bars, haute restaurants, and cool hotel art, we'll just be full of reasons to keep coming back to this beautiful city.

Know of a new hotel opening in Chicago that we haven't gotten our mits on yet? Send it to us!

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