Old Chicago gets contemporary life at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. Tucked in an 1893 historic building, locals and travelers alike frequent the hotel for its popular eateries, game room and swanky rooftop bar. The storied location boasts prime real estate on Michigan Avenue, right across from Millenium Park. The Chicago Athletic Association was a respite for the elite and privileged for more than a century, but today’s hotel welcomes all to enjoy the nostalgic location and luxurious services.
Chicago Athletic Association – Best for…
The Instagram set
With a location literally on top of Millennium Park, it’s no surprise that the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is arguably the priciest place to rent a bed in downtown Chicago. That said, those willing to splurge on the best won’t be disappointed. Rooms are Instagram-worthy to say the least, boasting 20th century–inspired design by Roman & Williams. The devil is in the details, however, with classic touches like crystal glasses and a cocktail carafe for the perfect nightcap. Choose a room with a park view for the true experience.
And if you want to raise a glass with the who’s who of the Windy City, there’s no need to exit the building. The Chicago Athletic Association is home to seven eat and drink establishments. Cindy’s rooftop restaurant features an open-air terrace overlooking the park, while Cherry Circle Room serves up elevated classics. Game Room mixes elevated libations with old school fun, and there is also a Shake Shack, Fairground coffee and tea room and Milk Room cafe. #Goals.
Chicago Athletic Association Amenities
Although the pretension of the days of Chicago Athletic Association club members is gone, the luxurious details remain. The hotel offers 24-hour in-room dining service, 24-hour fitness facilities (it is, after all, still called the Athletic Association) with personal training and private group sessions available, pet-friendly accomodations, complimentary bicycles to explore the city, concierge services, free WiFi and valet parking.
Rooms are outfitted in sophisticated design reminiscent of the club’s golden days, and all rooms feature custom SFERRA linens, signature boxing-style robes, carrara marble bathrooms, a 42-inch flat screen TV, gourmet mini-bar, C.O. Bigelow bath products and bedside power center with USB ports. Guestroom options include classic queen, king, and double rooms, and Superior guest rooms boast a bit of extra space. Suites boast downtown views over Madison Street or Millennium Park as well as separate open living areas. Accurately named Holy Cow suites are spacious luxuries, with some offering cozy working fireplaces, seating areas, an extra bedroom and/or seperate seating areas.
Regardless of your room, taking advantage of one of the chic on-site dining locations is a must. If your room doesn’t have a view, you can still take in the sites from Cindy’s, the rooftop restaurant and bar overlooking the park and Great Lakes Beach. Cherry Circle Room serves up farm-to-table cuisine as well as throwback cocktails and tableside presentations. The Athletic Association’s original billiards room is reborn in the Game Room, which offers a nod to the original with bocce, billiards, shuffleboard, chess and checker tables—all of course, enjoyed over a craft cocktail. Milk Room also serves up some history, once used as a speakeasy during prohibition. There is also a Shake Shack and Fairgrounds coffee and tea cafe, as well as the Drawing Room in the lobby lounge.
Chicago Athletic Association Location
It goes without saying that the Chicago Athletic Association’s best asset is its unsurpassed location across the street from Millenium Park. Within minutes, walk to Cloud Gate or The Art Institute of Chicago. Or, stroll south to Grant Park and the Chicago Symphony Center, Fine Arts Building, and Roosevelt University Theatre. The nearby Washington/Wabash L station serves every corner of the city as well, or you can grab a cab from the lobby.
Other nearby accommodations include the Hampton Inn Majestic Chicago Theatre District, Palmer House a Hilton Hotel, Staypineapple The Loop Chicago, the Kimpton Gray Hotel, JW Marriott Chicago, W Chicago – City Center and the Sheraton Grand Chicago.
Chicago Athletic Association – The verdict
If you have the budget, a stay here is well worth it. Here, you can rub elbows with Chicago’s It crowd, in a room that overlooks Millennium Park. The building’s rich heritage was once a members-only club for the city’s elite, but today is open to anyone. Rooms are outfitted in stunning design and every luxury—like carrera marble bathrooms and crystal-bedecked mini bars. If it’s too much to drop on a stay, opt for a nearby hotel like the Silversmith, Palmer House or the Pittsfield Hotel but be sure to visit Chicago Athletic Association for dinner and drinks at one of its impressive eateries.