60654 Travel Guide
The 215-room hotel in the city's River North neighborhood is currently open as the Amalfi Hotel but it's undergoing a multi-million renovation and will officially reopen as The Kinzie in February. But aside from lounging in upgraded rooms and public spaces done by the Gettys Design Group Chicago, guests will also be getting quite the history lesson with their stay.
The hotel's namesake, John Kinzie, is often referred to as "Chicago's first civilian" who was involved in the city's first controversial murder (he was later acquitted) and then had some wild escapades during the War of 1812. During that time, he identified first as a British citizen (even though he was born in Quebec) and then was captured by the British for treason. Naturally, when he escaped British imprisonment somewhere in Nova Scotia, he quickly re-identified as a U.S. citizen and spent his last years in Chicago. His son later opened the city's first hotel and restaurant. The Kinzie Hotel now stands just blocks from where John Kinzie's original mansion once stood (the street is even named after him too.)
The Kinzie's new Double Cross lounge will be the most obvious homage to the man. Inspired by a silver piece Kinzie designed in the shape of a double-barred cross as well as for his "mercurial" reputation, the sixth floor lounge will be open from 5 to 8pm and will give guests an assortment of complimentary small bites and a cocktail to kick off their evenings.
Keep reading for more on the guestrooms at The Kinzie!
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Aloft Chicago's lobby is easily the funkiest and most fun of the Triplex social spaces
We recently told you about some new hotels opening in Chicago (an ongoing trend in a city on FIRE with new hotels), including three hotels dubbed the "triplex.” That triplex—which consists of Starwood’s Aloft Chicago City Center, Marriott’s Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown River North, and Hyatt Place Chicago/River North—opened last week in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. We were there and now have a photo tour to share.
But first, let’s talk about one very cool detail: all three differently branded hotels are situated right next door to each other on the same block. Though we’ve seen this happen a time or two, such as with the Tri-Pack in NYC, it’s definitely unusual for obvious reasons; most hotels prefer a little space between themselves and the competition. But an insider tells us that the partners behind the Triplex (Friedman Properties, White Lodging and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises [which opened the restaurant Beatrix in the Aloft lobby]) saw this instead as an opportunity to collaborate and deliver a unique experience, a sort of hotel destination that appeals to different travelers.
Renderings of the modern new Godfrey Hotel Chicago
As if we would be surprised by another new hotel popping up in Chicago, we learned last week that Oxford Capital Group and Cube Capital will open the new Godfrey Hotel Chicago in 2013. Located in River North at LaSalle and Huron, the 221-room Godfrey is the latest new concept and lifestyle hotel scheduled to open in Chicago.
The would-be hotel is already well connected, too. Not only is it adjacent to Hotel Felix (also led by Oxford), Godfrey is taking over the incomplete, cubist-inspired shell of a building originally carved out for a Staybridge Suites (which never came to be). Now after four years in limbo, that 16-story structure designed by Valerio Dewalt Train will finally have its day in 2013.
According to Oxford, Godfrey will be defined as an independent, upscale, lifestyle hotel with with 194 generously-sized studio suites and 27 one-bedroom suites, a chef-driven restaurant and bar, and -- wait for it -- a 12,000 square-foot indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge. Guests will also have great city views from their rooms at Godfrey, but even cooler is the fact that this distinctly modern building will add its own flair to Chicago's stunning skyline.
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Blame it on our obsession with AMC's The Walking Dead, but we are equally freaked out and overjoyed by the idea of a zombie apocalypse at the Dana Hotel and Spa.It's really happening from Oct. 26-31, when zombie folk will takeover the entire hotel in a scene that won't be for the faint of heart.
Lurking in the lobby, across the entire 5th floor, and on the rooftop Vertigo Sky Lounge, zombies will await guests around every corner—even the elevator will be manned by security guards for your protection.
Ok, so those guards might not hold a candle to zombie slayers like The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes or Daryl Dixon and his badass crossbow, but we'll take whatever we can get when it comes to fighting flesh-eating undead.
Here are highlights of the Dana Hotel's zombie freak out:
A special for the night, the baked oysters we ordered were gone in a split second
Smack in the middle of Chicago's River North neighborhood on the corner of State and Erie, the hotel was abuzz both inside and out on one of the city's first warm nights of the season. No way did we want to miss all that action so we opted to dine outside on Argent's sidewalk patio under a lovely garden trellis.
Though indoor dining was just as tempting with the oversized, half-moon shaped booths on the first floor and a shiny upstairs Raw Bar where an old sink filled with ice keeps the oysters chilled. There we also saw walls peppered with images from the World Fair hosted in Chicago in the late 1800s, an event and era of rebirth that have served to inspire Argent's vibe.
Hotel rooftops get plenty of buzz during the summer season, but the Hotel Palomar's 17th-floor is humming for good reason. The property has recently partnered with local exercise studio Barre Bee Fit to host weekly Yogalates-like workouts on the rooftop overlooking its River North location. And even though the $18 classes have just started,there's already a waiting list,but there's one way to bypass the masses.
We're unsure of what happened that caused Kimpton to back away but we're feeling all sorts of sad for the Sax now. As a commenter pointed out the other week, this hotel has gone through several incarnations in the past decade--a Loews, an independent hotel brand and a Thompson.
The changeover was expected to happen on April 27th but perhaps Thompson will just stick it out after all. Otherwise, maybe it's time the Sax strike out on its own again.
A Thompson source says the Sax was just "not up to brand standards" hence the reason why they took over Sutton Place, which will turn into Thompson Chicago after some renovations.
This switch now means Thompson's standing in the Windy City drops from two back down to one while Kimpton bumps up to five hotels in Chi-town.
Fingers crossed, Kimpton finds a way to make the Penthouse Suite's Media Lounge, which features a 65" HDTV, three 23" HDTVs, a DVD Player, Xbox 360 and surround-sound system, available to the public again.
Rates for the Sax next week are currently holding steady (on the Thompson website) at $159 a night for a queen superior.
Wow. You guys are good. Indeed the answer to yesterday's Guess the Hotel challengewhere we admitted to paying only $69 for a roomis Chicago's Hotel Felix. For such a price, what'd we get? Let's break it down.
First off, we booked the room for such an affordable, last-minute rate using the HotelTonight app on our iPhone, while in the back of a cab from O'Hare Airport heading downtown. It was the most severe definition of a last-minute booking, on Halloween weekend, and when we arrived it hadn't even hit the hotel's system yet. So we sat in the lobby and waited for all of two minutes before the receptionist saw our booking in his computer. Not bad at all!
Situated in the artsy River North 'hood, Hotel Palomar Chicago sits amid more than 100 galleries. In fact, River North has the highest concentration of galleries in the United States outside of New York. The Chicago hotel is taking a cue from its neighbors by having its own gallery.
Hotel Palomar its cheekily named "Sleeping with the Artist" series, which features work from Chicago artists. The hotel turned hallways throughout two floors into an exhibit, featuring 15 paintings from two Chicago artists, Justus Roe and Darrell Roberts.
Art in the lobby. Sadly not the pop-up art.
Fresh off the announcement of Kimpton's new wine program, the Hotel Palomar Chicago is offering even more stuff to do in the lobby. Through July, the hotel has invited two local artists to take up (artistic) residence at the hotel, hanging paintings by Justus Roe and Darrell Roberts in the halls. The pair will also host occasional salons—with that wine, of course—to discuss their work and the broader city's art scene.
Riffing on the theme, the Palomar will also provide guests an adult art box, which we naturally read as being a box full of adult art. Turns out, it's a box full of art supplies intended for adults. Decidedly less racy—but still interesting!
With coloring books, sketch pads, journals and something called a "make your own masterpiece kit" involved, we're predicting lots of vino-inspired pieces that will look less remarkable in the harsh, bright lights of the following morning. Art: it's a process!
Chicago's popular Air and Water Show goes down this weekend, and while it's fun time, it gets noisy. If you need a respite from the fighter jet racket and the throngs of people, Dana Hotel and Spa will offer a respite with its Tranquil Suites.
The king-sized suites use glass dividers to maximize space and make the room airy. They also have balconies with views of the city. As far as tech amenities, the suites have flat-screen televisions and Zeppelins, iPod-docking stations from Bowers & Wilkins.