Chicago Traveler Blog

Chicago Traveler Blog

Chicago’s Public Hotel Finally Becomes Public

9/14/11 | by

Public Chicago is being talked about as one of the nation’s most highly anticipated hotel openings of the year, and it opened for a preview on Sept. 12th.

A preview, meaning the hotel rooms are basically ready for guests to stay in, but parts of the hotel are still being renovated (the lobby).

It’s the latest business venture by hotel mogul Ian Schrager, a huge force in the new boutique hotel trend. As a remodel of Chicago’s historic Ambassador East Hotel, which was built back in 1926, it has big shoes to fill.

Now, Schrager’s concept is interesting to say the least, probably why it has people talking. He’s calling it the “anti-hip” hotel. A minimalistic, boutique place to stay with no striking colors or style. But yet, it will feature “chat rooms” near the lobby for guests to... chat with each other in? And it will offer a screening room with original performances, poetry readings and video screenings. Then there’s the famed Pump Room, which was also remodeled, and will become a 30’s and 40’s style supper club with a contemporary twist. Dare we say this all sounds... “hip”?

Well, if anything truly is hip these days, it’s affordability. And apparently that’s really what Schrager had in mind: simplistic, sophisticated style at a bargain rate (the rooms are supposedly going to be cheap).

While his past hotels were more about luxury, now he feels that it’s more about "getting the best value and being made to feel special." Sounds good to us penny pinchers.

The official grand opening party is on Oct. 11th.

Just in case you’re curious, up until then, room rates to preview the hotel are running well into the mid-200’s. Yeah, we’re not that curious either... So we’ll hold off judgement for now, at least until after the grand opening, when the rates drop down into the low $100’s. We’re still hoping -- although not holding our breath -- that rates go even lower.