This purpose-built luxury high-rise hotel has 400 rooms in all, and natural light spills through floor-to-ceiling windows onto modern, spare furnishings with warm taupe and gray tones. Higher floors offer spectacular views of Lake Michigan and Navy Pier. But the real reason to stay here is the nothing-is-impossible attitude of the staff and the third floor’s 9,000-square-foot communal space, the Streeterville Social, a private landscaped parkland featuring an indoor lap pool, alfresco bar, yoga terrace, and urban lawn with benches, lounge chairs, beanbag toss games… and views of the city.
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Two blocks east of Michigan Avenue, the hotel is an oasis. Free of tourist hordes on the Magnificent Mile, it’s still an easy walk to the Chicago River docks for architectural boat tours and a new riverside footpath (leading east to Navy Pier) that’s lined with spots to eat and drink (such as Flanders Belgian Beer & Fries at 55 Chicago Riverwalk) and to rent kayaks and bicycles. Catch buses on Michigan Avenue headed south to Millennium Park, the Art Institute, and the Field Museum of Natural History. On a rainy day, kids will appreciate the AMC River East movie theater and bowling alley (322 E. Illinois) a block away. For a break from all the Argentine beef, local foodie favorite the Purple Pig serves creative drinks and small plates.
Need to Know
Rooms: 400 rooms, including 25 suites. From $389. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Off the lobby, chef Jose Garces (of Iron Chef fame) runs Rural Society, an Argentine steakhouse open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and whose maze of dining spaces includes a communal chef’s table with views of the open kitchen, an intimate 19th-century Gaucho art–themed suite, and a large, modern, plush dining room. Streeterville Social offers tasty small “street food” plates such as a crispy, Greek-inspired lamb belly and a Lake Michigan walleye fish taco. The lobby bar ETA pairs craft beers and classic cocktails with pizza, burgers, salads, and snacks; try the duck-fat fries with braised short ribs and cheddar cheese sauce. Spa and gym details: A large, airy gym has city views. A 75-foot indoor lap pool also has movie nights for kids. The spa uses HydroPeptide anti-aging products and offers sunrise Vinyasa yoga classes.
Who it's best for: Summer leisure travelers and year-round road warriors with time to enjoy high-quality hotel amenities. Our favorite rooms: Northeast Corner rooms on high floors offer views of Navy Pier (nighttime fireworks) and Lake Michigan. Rooms ending in 26 through 50 have direct east-facing lake views. Special access: If you don’t have a view from your room, watch Navy Pier fireworks from the Streeterville Terrace. It’s open to the public, but hotel guests have guaranteed access. (Guests have exclusive access to the terrace until 4 p.m.)