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Last week, something happened in Chicago that made us crave diner food and now we can share how our appetite was whet the moment we stepped foot into Virgin Hotel's newest food outpost, Miss Ricky's. In true Virgin fashion the diner menu has been re-invented consisting of old stand-bys, with a cheeky twist and clever take on Branson's name.
When we originally stayed, the all-day dining restaurant off the lobby was still shrouded with paper as the menu and space was being finalized, but last Thursday, the diner welcomed it's first guests, tempting them with giant burgers, Reuben sandwiches and milkshakes.
With a menu that goes well beyond the normal flat grill of a truck-stop, the restaurant claims to be "a modern American diner for early morning noshes, late night bites and everything in between", and with hours starting at 6am to well after midnight on the weekends, you won't be disappointed.
Oh, a full cocktail menu will probably help with that too.
Chicago is absolutely not slowing down its hotel scene anytime soon. The latest hotel brand to set its sights on the Windy City is Viceroy Hotels.
The Viceroy Hotel Group officially announced this morning they will open The Viceroy Chicago in the city's Gold Coast nabe in 2017. The announcement was extremely light on details but here's what it said:
Working in tandem with Convexity Properties, the powerhouse luxury hospitality brand will unveil the Goettsch Partners and TAL Studio-designed property, located conveniently for guests on State Street in the Gold Coast. The area occupies the central part of a flourishing neighborhood, quickly gaining momentum as one of the most sought-after modern luxury destinations in the city.
Known for creating authentic and inspired experiences, Viceroy Hotel Group will be using design, art, style and culture to infuse the new property with all the amenities and services of a top-luxury hotel, while simultaneously working to maintain a distinct sense of place for guests eager to explore and experience the Chicago landscape.
We took a behind-the-scenes tour of the Loews Chicago back in early December but now it's your turn to actually stay in one of the 375 guest rooms, or if you prefer some larger space, one of the 25 suites inside the 52-story tower in downtown, just a block north of the Chicago River and close to North Michigan Avenue.
Rates tonight start at just $133 as part of the hotel's First Impressions rate, which is 30 percent off the usual rate. That's for a 377-sq. ft. superior room with a king bed, free WiFi, Garnier Thiebault linens, a work desk and chair, and a Keurig coffeemaker. A premium room with great city views is only $140 while a 621-sq.ft. junior suite is just $182. #BOOKIT #WORTHIT.
We've long known that the old Sheraton Four Points in Chicago on Rush Street was transforming into an AC Hotel by Marriott but now we have a date on when this transformation will be revelead---MAY.
That's what the website for the hotel is saying, but you know this hotel business, dates can, and do, change. Interestingly, that's also when the new Hyatt Centric brand will open in Chicago. (Taps fingers together and laughs a Dr. Evil kind of laugh.)
Still, if May is when the hotel opens, guests can expect masculine but comfortable decor, free WiFi, tapas and cocktails from the AC Lounge, and breakfast with those imported buttery croissants in the AC Kitchen. There should also be an AC Store where you can pick up toiletries, snacks, wine and phone chargers, among other things. No word on room rates but we'll update you when we have them. #prayfor$200orless
Elsewhere in the AC world, AC KC (Kansas City) is about to open, while AC DC is happening next month, followed by AC MB (Miami Beach). And there's a whole bunch more in the works too. You can read those here.
It's been over a month since we slept with the Virgin Chicago and a few things have already changed since we did it.
Opening next week is Miss Ricky's All American Diner a 23-hour spot serving "new classics" such as a Great Lakes Reuben, The Biggie Grilled Cheese, Short Rib Pie and decadent donuts and dessert. You can see Virgin CEO Raul Leal's recent tweet for confirmation of such decadence:
Dessert items in Ms. Ricky's at Virgin Hotel Chicago. pic.twitter.com/wvTHm6ViBg— Raul Leal (@VirginHotelier) February 25, 2015
The hotel has also rolled out a partnership with Tesla Motors, giving all Virgin guests the option to be ferried around town in a Model S P85D. It's color? Bright red of course. #howVirginsdoit
Now, these things are all fun to talk about, but it's time to see what real guests are saying about the hotel. And for that, we head to TripAdvisor. Even though everyone knows to take TripAdvisor with a grain of salt (seriously awful reviews can never be trusted, neither can the gushing ones) it's still a place all guests go to when thinking about booking a hotel.
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UPDATE: A Hyatt Centric South Beach reps says the hotel will open in April but that the "spring inventory" has not been released yet. The hotel is working on a special opening package which they will release next week. Once we have those details, we will let you know how you can book a stay in April. Stay tuned.
The other week, we had an operative on the ground in South Beach who cruised by the forthcoming Hyatt Centric South Beach to check on the construction progress. Our operative's conclusion? April was going to be a tough opening date to make. And they were right.
Hyatt Centric South Beach, one of the first hotels of the new Hyatt Centric millennial-friendly brands to open, is now taking reservations from JUNE 1.
We found a room on that date for $239 a night for a 300-sq.ft. king bed with complimentary WiFi, 47" flatscreen HDTV, a tea and coffemaker, a minibar, an oversized desk with ergonomic chair and a Hyatt Plug Panel for all your gadget hookups.
The Peninsula Chicago, which opened in 2001, is undergoing a guest room overhaul this year, perhaps to freshen up before new luxury hotels like LondonHouse and Nobu hit the scene. Details are sparse, but here’s what we know. All 339 rooms and suites will be redesigned, with the new décor inspired by the best elements of other Peninsula properties such as:
Accent details from the Peninsula Paris:
Distinct wood and leather finishes from the Peninsula Hong Kong;
Elegant color palettes from the Peninsula Shanghai:
Can you picture a combination of these features? Well, we can’t either but look forward to seeing the most likely beautiful result.
The hotel will up its game in the technology space as well: in-room proprietary Peninsula touch tablets will feature 11 different languages and will control everything in the room from the curtains to the Nespresso machine, plus complimentary long-distance calling via VOIP technology.
Peninsula Chicago enthusiasts, what would you like to see in the newly designed rooms? Do tell.
Peninsula Chicago enthusiasts, what would you like to see in the newly designed rooms? Do tell.
[Photos courtesy of Peninsula Hotels/HotelChatter]
Yet another luxury hotel, LondonHouse, is set to open in Chicago in the spring of 2016 at the corner of North Michigan and Wacker Drive. Despite the name, the British are NOT coming.
Chicago-based Oxford Capital Group will open the property at the historic London Guarantee Building (hence the name) after a comprehensive renovation resulting in a high-design, 452-room lifestyle hotel with a new 22-story “modernist” glass tower designed by Goettsch Partners.
Per a press statement:
Not long after the news came out yesterday about South Beach, came this news about the Hyatt Centric The Loop:
Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago, a 22-story property first constructed in 1927 by Frank Chase, has undergone a transformative renovation from an office building to an iconic new hotel, all while maintaining the integrity of the building’s roots. The hotel features 257 guest rooms, 2,513 square feet of meeting space, a 24-hour fitness center, rooftop bar and a new signature French bistro, Cochon Volant, run by James Beard award winning Master Chef Roland Liccioni. The hotel will showcase elements of the area’s rich cultural and architectural past while offering guests a full range of modern amenities.
Some rather upsetting news for a Monday morning--hotelier Ian Schrager is not only looking to sell his game-changing hospitality concept, the Public Hotel Chicago, which opened in the city's Gold Coast nabe in 2011, but that if a sale does go through, the hotel may no longer go by the name Public Hotel.
Chicago Real Estate Daily reports that Schrager and financial partner Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds have put the hotel on the market, hoping to sell it for about $86 million. Terms of the sale would not include a management contract with Public nor even a requirement to keep the name, Public Hotel. Industry experts have also chimed in, saying the hotel is ripe for a new brand and a management change.
No word on what will happen to the iconic Pump Room restaurant either, a historic spot whose interior was transformed by Yabu Pushelberg and whose menu was created by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Not gon' lie, we almost started to hyperventilate reading this news. But apparently, this is not the end of the Public Hotels brand.
We've got perfect timing to recommend 3 more hot hotels in Chicago, following the fifth biggest snowstorm the city has ever seen. So without further adieu, strap on your snow boots, zip up your Moncler jacket and head straight to these Chicago hotels for some serious hibernating (or at least one night in a warm and pampering hotel):
The Palmer House Hilton: The Palmer House is steeped in Chicago tradition. It was originally bought by Potter Palmer as a wedding gift for his new bride Bertha (lucky lady). Thirteen days after its purchase, it burned to the ground in the Great Chicago Fire (huge bummer). But ole’ Potter persevered, rebuilding it from the ground up and it re-opened in 1873; it’s now the nation’s longest continually running hotel (and a very upscale Hilton).
The Lockwood Restaurant and its bar are stunning – and the cocktails start flowing at 11:00 am if you want to get an early start. Afternoon tea is served daily from 2:00 to 4:00 pm and room service is 24 hours. Make time for a visit to the Balance Spa, health club and indoor pool. Interested in Chicago history? Take the very cool “History is Hott” tour (you don’t even have to leave the hotel!) where you’ll learn interesting factoids like Chicago is actually named after an onion.
While Chicago temps are going down and the streets are piling up with snow, we can always rely on the folks over the W Chicago City Center to keep us warm and toasty with delicious libations. We scored a chance to catch up with the hotel's head bartender and resident mixologist, Lauren Parton, to get her thoughts on industry trends and what we can see for the spring thaw when it comes to drinking.
(Coincidentally, Parton was tasked with creating the cocktail menu for the renovation relaunch party for their sister property, W Chicago Lakeshore, and whipped up some edible cocktails that were passed around like hors d'oeuvres. We can't argue with this concept.)
The genius mind behind a specialty cocktail menu in the W's Living Room, Parton has more than just cocktails in her repertoire. Her industry career began creating some culinary masterpieces in a few of Chicago's greatest eateries. When she made the move to hotel bartending--at Raffaello's Drumbar--Parton was shipped off to Bourbon Camp and the rest is libation history!
Keep reading for our Q&A with Lauren Parton