The Public, Chicago

1301 N State Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60610, USA

This hotel has changed ownership and is now the Ambassador Chicago.

In 2011, hotelier Ian Schrager reopened the iconic but faded Ambassador East Hotel as the Public, instantly infusing Chicago‘s Gold Coast with some flash. Its Pump Room restaurant was the city’s first posh, post-Prohibition, celebrity hangout (everyone from Fred Astaire to John Belushi has come). Keeping its name but little of the old decor, the revitalized Pump Room has a 24-foot bar with a 12-karat white gold–leaf ceiling and a changing menu by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The high-ceilinged, columned lobby feels both grand and intimate, and it’s now divided into a lounge with a computer-equipped workstation and an elegant library/coffee bar with deep couches and original art, including photos by Hendrik Kersten. Residential high-rises along Lake Shore Drive obscure views of Lake Michigan from the hotel, but drop-dead gorgeous rooms elegantly infuse the pre-WWII architecture with white stuffed couches, bronze textiles, and white sheepskin throws for an effect of lush minimalism befitting one of the city’s oldest and toniest neighborhoods.

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