Forbes Travel Guide just announced its 2014 Star Rating list, but Chicago is already gearing up to open a slew of hip new hotels, three of which will debut by spring. While Chicagoans need no other reason to celebrate springtime — so long polar vortex, goodbye slushy streets — these hot hotel openings have us anticipating the season. Here’s a look at each one:
You’ll find it hard to miss the Cubist-influenced façade of this 221-room spot in Chicago’s bustling River North neighborhood. Opening on February 1, the 16-story luxury boutique hotel has a striking all-white, marble-clad lobby; neutral-toned (subdued purples, grays) rooms with rich textures; a first-floor restaurant; and top-notch amenities, such as 46-inch televisions, L’Occitane bath products and complimentary in-room Wi-Fi. But what will really set The Godfrey apart from the others is the remarkable indoor/outdoor lounge on the fourth floor. The 15,000-square-foot IO Urban Roofscape has a retractable roof (no need to wait for summer weather), a two-story fire pit, cabanas and panoramic views of the Chicago skyline. And since this is a city where sports reign supreme, you can bet that if any local teams are in action, the games will be played on the lounge’s huge video wall.
Also in River North, The Kinzie is slated to open February 4. Once home to the Amalfi Hotel, this property has been renovated from top to bottom with a design overhaul. The result is a thoughtful, contemporary aesthetic that incorporates the history of Chicago (after all, the hotel is named for John Kinzie, said to be the city’s first settler). To wit, maps of 1800s Chicago cover the walls above beds, carpet designs reflect the old city grid and sconces resemble vintage city lampposts. The 215 rooms are bright and colorful with a few special touches, such as the EcoSmart shades, designed to let light in during the day and block out the city’s bright lights at night. And while you’ll find traditional upscale amenities — plush robes, Aveda bath products, in-room spa services — this place has plenty of locally inspired, unique touches, including room service catered by the iconic Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse nearby.
Hotel Indigo Chicago-Millennium Park
Another boutique hotel, another place for both visitors and locals to eat, drink and be merry. The 1912 building underwent a big renovation to morph from bank to boutique hotel, but many of the original design details were left intact. Slated to open this spring, the 156-room property will be located just north of Millennium Park off of Michigan Avenue. Four stories were added to the building (which will include a rooftop bar), as well as a restaurant helmed by celebrity chef David Burke (whose namesake steakhouse resides inside The James in River North). This eatery, though, will take on a more casual air and focus on farm-to-table cuisine.
And that’s not all — a handful of other high-profile hotels are scheduled to open later in 2014. We’re most excited about the world’s first Virgin Hotel, opening in a former bank in the Loop, as well as Soho House Chicago, which will debut with a spa, pool and rooftop bar in a former factory near one of the city’s hottest restaurant districts, Randolph Street. Both are rumored for a summer or early fall opening. One more addition to the hotel scene in late 2014: The Chicago Athletic Association is undergoing a major renovation (led by the design hipsters behind Ace Hotel in New York City), which will turn the landmark building into what we hope is a whole new kind of clubby-cool experience.
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