You’re coming to Chicago, but you’re not overly concerned either about flash and opulence, nor do you feel the need to dole out pennies for a good time. What you’d enjoy is a location that’s close to where the shopping, clubs, and tourist destinations are, but not necessarily one of those massive high rises that make up the skyline. You like it that the person at the front desk is possibly the proprietor or someone who knows a lot about the area. Also, it doesn’t hurt if the hotel has a touch of style, either contemporary or elegantly wrapped in Chicago’s design history. What you’re looking for is a unique experience, a boutique hotel. While you’re visiting Chicago, you’ll find that there are many such offerings downtown and in the surrounding neighborhoods.
How do you find a boutique hotel? It’s a label that hotels
are proud to carry, and they’ll frequently describe themselves as such. They
are usually smaller and more intent on impressing their guests so that they’ll
be enticed to return again and again for future visitations. For example, City
Suites Chicago is a four-story hotel on West Belmont in the Boystown
neighborhood, and it proudly describes itself as boutique. Rooms shed the boring
traditional beige and white color scheme choices that won’t offend anyone,
preferring vibrant colors and stylish décor. There’s a common dining area by a
fireplace, and the room is well stocked with teas, coffee, and other beverages.
Kinzie Hotel, another establishment that describes itself on its website as a
boutique experience, provides a common gathering place with large tables,
comfortable chairs, a bar, and snacks as well as a large continental breakfast
in the morning.
Near Water Tower Center, the hint as to this next hotel’s identity lies in the name itself. Ivy Boutique Hotel offers the unique amenity of encouraging cycling in Chicago, with mountain biking onsite and bicycle rentals available. Rooms have iPod docking stations, minibars, free WiFi, and satellite programming.
Many hotel chains have realized people want a unique experience and you might be surprised if the boutique hotel you choose is actually owned by Marriott or Hilton. Don’t let that dissuade you as they will be just as committed to the boutique experience with the financial resources of a larger organization behind them.
If you say downtown, you should anticipate having to pay for parking; that’s a less common issue in the outlying suburbs. See if your hotel has a concierge, or if not, find out if the staff have tips on the best places to visit so you can maximize your enjoyment during your stay. Expect the staff to pull out the all the stops to impress you during your vacation.
Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago offers four-star luxury in the heart of downtown’s River North neighborhood. Shopping on Magnificent mile is just a few blocks away, with all of the excitement on Navy Pier just beyond. Stay in luxe rooms with an indoor pool, swanky fitness center, and on-site restaurant.
Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection is part of the Marina City Complex, located in the River North neighborhood just above the Chicago River. You’re just steps from entertainment at the House of Blues and public art along the Chicago Riverwalk. Then, go home to plush beds and sleek decor.
Aloft Chicago Downtown River North offers urban-contemporary style in the trendy River North neighborhood. Theater, dining and entertainment is all within reach, as is shopping on nearby Magnificent Mile. In your room, enjoy free WiFi, mini refrigerators and flat-screen TVs.
Hotel Felix Chicago is known for its environmentally conscious practices like low energy consumption, eco-friendly cleaning products and recycling. It also has several on-site dining options, including a sushi joint and a French Bistro. After, work it off in the high-end fitness center.
The Godfrey Hotel Chicago offers four-star service in the heart of the River North neighborhood, full of happening restaurants, nightlife and theater entertainment. In your room, enjoy thoughtful amenities and out, stop in one of the scenic indoor/outdoor spaces, like the I|O Rooftop Lounge.
Located in downtown Chicago in the River North district, AC Hotel offers access to all of Chicago entertainment—including nearby Magnificent Mile, Streeterville, and Navy Pier. Kids and kids at heart will enjoy the heated indoor pool and on-site spy-themed restaurant.
ACME Hotel Company is an unconventional stay in Chicago’s River North District. It’s self-described as “painfully hip,” alluding to some unique extras like in-room Amazon Echos, a hot tub/bar, and a lobby bar where drinks are served out of Slushies or flasks. And it’s all served up with the best tech in town.
Between Ohio Street Beach and Magnificent Mile, find the new trendy hotel in town: Aloft Chicago Mag Mile. Contemporary interiors are outfitted with oversized TVs and free high-speed wifi. At the end of the day, top of your visit with a nightcap at the popular W XYZ.
Just a block of Michigan Avenue, Ivy Hotel is tucked around an array of big-box chain accommodations. The boutique nature charms with local artwork, a cozy bar, and a seasonal rooftop terrace. It’s highly rated for couples so get ready for a romantic escape in the Windy City.
Two blocks from Ohio Street Beach and the Chicago lakefront, Hotel EMC2 offers stylish accommodations in Streeterville. Local artwork charms along with thoughtful amenities, like a chic coworking space and popular on-site restaurant, The Albert. And, you’ll have two robotic assistants on hand at all times.
Trendy decor meets sophisticated amenities at the Cambria Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile. The location is pretty tough to beat as well, just steps from Magnificent Mile and close to the Chicago lakefront. Take advantage of the on-site cafe and gastropub for eats at any hour.
Viceroy is a five-star hotel in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. In the former home of the 1920s era Cedar Hotel, Viceroy today offers unadulterated luxury in the form of Michilin Star dining, a rooftop pool and lounge, and an on-site Tesla to take you around in style.
One block from the Chicago Riverwalk, the Kimpton Hotel Monaco is a four-diamond accommodation in downtown Chicago. The luxe, boutique-style hotel offers special extras like a sleek fitness center, nightly happy hour, and complimentary PUBLIC bicycles—not that you’ll need them to access the many nearby attractions.
A luxury lifestyle hotel along the Chicago River, LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton is situated within the historic London Guarantee & Accident Building. Interiors pay homage to the heydey of Chicago while incorporating modern furnishings and high-tech extras, like smart TVs and free WiFi.
For thoroughly modern travelers, there is no better than the Central Loop Hotel. Its central location is a given, but the futuristic perks are unexpected: mobile check-in, in-room sleep systems and the “fastest WiFi in Chicago.” Plus, this is one of the area’s more affordable options.
The Kimpton Gray Hotel is a shiny new penny in Chicago. Its rooftop bar and fine dining establishments are the talk of the town, much like the gym’s on-trend Peloton bike. The Gray also lets you bring Fido for free, who you can take for a walk in nearby Millennium Park.
A stone’s throw from Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago, the Silversmith Hotel boasts an unbeatable location. That, coupled with a sophisticated design, trendy on-site restaurant, ample business services and complimentary WiFi make it worth the price.
Stay in the lap of luxury like the elite members of Chicago’s Gilded Era at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, tucked alongside Millennium Park. Once a members-only retreat for the rich and famous, today the classic architecture, on-site eateries and unparalleled service is open to all.
Staypineapple, An Iconic Hotel, The Loop Chicago is tucked in a historic building near the bustling theater district. Its trendy location and modern amenities are anything but staid, offering bright robes and matching yellow beach cruisers for guests. Plus, you can bring your pup!
Sharing a building with the James M Nederlander Theatre, the Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop has a prominent location in the heart of the theatre district. It also boasts an on-site eatery, free WiFi, a state-of-the-art fitness center and loads of business amenities.
Situated just two blocks from the Chicago Riverwalk, theWit Chicago - A DoubleTree by Hilton offers every amenity in a luxe location. There’s also an on-site spa, 24-hour fitness center and fine dining restaurant. The biggest gem, however, is ROOF, the indoor/outdoor rooftop bar boasting sweeping city views.
Adjacent to the Cadillac Theatre, find the Kimpton Hotel Allegro and its storied architecture. Equally luxe interiors are outfitted in Mid-Century Modern design that complements the classic cocktails served in the upscale lobby bar. The four-star accommodations offer a lot for the price: primarily, a location walkable to the best Windy City arts and entertainment.
Tucked in Chicago’s business district just south of the Riverwalk, Virgin Hotels Chicago believes in work hard, play hard. Amenities offer equal amounts of business perks with after-hours entertainment at its swanky bar and rooftop club. Plus, you can book a room specially catered to your pup.
Hotel Blake has it all: a historic 19th-century building and contemporary cachet. On historic printers row, enjoy a location within walking distance of Grant Park and The Art Institute. There are also free perks, like free WiFi, on-site dining and a 24-hour gym.