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Inside The Public Chicago Hotel

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  Site Where: 1301 North State Pkwy [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60610
September 13, 2011 at 11:44 AM | by | ()

Yesterday on our latest hotel-hopping adventure, we landed at Chicago O'Hare Airport and caught a taxi cab into the city. When the cabbie asked us where we were headed, we decided to use the hotel's former name instead, "We're going to the Ambassador East Hotel in the Gold Coast, although it's going to be called something different now."

The cabbie nodded his head up and down in recognition at Ambassador East but once we got on our way, he asked, "What do you mean it's going to be called something new now?"

So we explained that the entire hotel had been renovated and was now going by a new name--Public Chicago. Our cabbie's reaction: "What? They couldn't come up with a fanicer name? That sounds like the poor house!" That had us chuckling in the backseat but we weren't laughing when we pulled up to the hotel.

The twinkling lights over the hotel's front entrance and the good-looking bellmen waiting in front had us gasping, "Gramercy Park!" Yes, just five years ago a taxi cab was dropping us off in front of another similar scene directed by the same man, master hotelier Ian Schrager.

But where Gramercy Park was cold and gothic inside, Public Chicago is warm and laid-back without sacrificing any of its high style and at the same time, achieving the perfect balance between affordability and luxury. In short, we like Public. A LOT.

For photos and video of Public Chicago, keep reading!

To be fair, we're still taking it all in but we wanted to let you guys see what we're seeing as fast as possible. There will be more Public posts to come in the next few days, heck, possibly the next few hours, so keep checking this page for the latest.

For now, here's what we liked and didn't like:

The Rooms: The rooms were a treasure trove of goodies, functional furniture and lighting wonders.
The View: Killer view of downtown Chicago.
The Internet: Free and fast! All you needed to do was enter your name and room number.
The Library: Very Rose Bar but more open and inviting.
The Bikes: The hotel has bikes free for guests to ride. Lake Shore and the beach is just three blocks away. We're proud to say we were the first to break in the bikes!
The Pump Room: We'll have more on the restaurant later but NOMG, it is so good.
The Area: The hotel is tucked into a residential part of Gold Coast where you can stroll around for several blocks, admiring the varied architecture of houses and apartment buildings.

The Low Beds: A little too low for our old bones, also the mattress was very firm. Sheets and duvet, however, felt soft.
Noisy A/C: Maybe we could have controlled this better but the A/C's whirring woke us up a few times.
Toiletry Skimping: We only saw shampoo, conditioner and two bars of soap. No lotion or body wash.
Big Bathroom Door: The bathroom door took up seemingly most of the room. But perhaps we should be grateful it's not a peekaboo bathroom.

While we digest all the Public goodness, we suggest you take advantage of the hotel's opening rate which starts at $135 a night, although due to demand rates will probably hover around $215 a night instead.

We'll have more from Public Chicago over the next few days including a bit on the delicious Pump Room so watch this space to keep up!

[Photos and video: Juliana Shallcross for HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:

Giant clock and low beds?

I like


Instant reaction: kind of reminds me a bit of Ames in Boston and of Andaz 5th Avenue. I think it's the room layout and furniture.

Cows with Hats

Did anybody else notice that the guest room photos are the same Modino cow photos from the Library Bar at Hudson?  Did Bessie get a new hat or what?


that's interesting! i did not realize that about the cows. also, the library bar felt so much like GPH, except lighter and happier. there were some interesting photos on the columns in that room too. a woman wearing headwraps made out of cleanup materials like a black garbage bag, bubble wrap and cans. Will get more info on that soon!

That's some recycled recycled wood

And the wood column and ceiling in the bar are a direct knock-off of Schnabel at Grammercy Park. It's one thing to do it with the same designer, but when you lost the original property and use a different designer, can't you come up with something new? It worked in the GPH aesthetic, here it seems out of place.

Though I lament the new, less fancy

Though I lament the new, less fancy name, the hotel still retains many of its charms. It has a classy décor which immediately makes a visitor feel at home. The hotel seems to offer a great view of the surrounding city as well. Modern travellers would also appreciate the free and fast wifi.