Just a few miles north of downtown, the Hotel Lincoln is a great addition to the popular Lincoln Park neighborhood, offering a funky yet comfortable style---think 1950s family rooms---to visitors who want to venture outside the central business district. The lobby has a retro feel; a collection of oddball artwork lines the staircase.
Hallways and guest rooms have retro plaid carpeting and splashes of red. Across the street from the 1,200-acre Lincoln Park and its free zoo, the Hotel Lincoln location is great for families with children. The lake and beaches are also within walking distance. And downtown shopping and museums are just a quick cab ride away.
The hotel is topped by a popular, new watering hole with stellar views of the park, lake and city. J. Parker has both indoor and outdoor space and takes reservations for its small plate and drinks space. An outdoor fireplace and patio heaters make the outdoor space usable on some early spring or late fall evenings. It can be hard to get an outdoor table in summer.
1816 N. Clark St.
Smack dab in the middle of the city’s Gold Goast, noted hotelier Ian Schrager brings his New York City vibe to Chicago, and it’s all very slick and hip. Taking over the once faded but storied Ambassador East space, Public mixes dark wood with high-tech; iMacs are available for use in the lobby and there’s free wi-fi throughout the hotel. Rooms are done up in a minimalist palette of cream, white and gray, with the modern styling of low leather couches and touches of whimsy like the black-and-white groupings of cow portraits that hang over the settee. A spic-and-span fitness center and bikes for borrowing can keep active travelers happy. The hotel is close to the lake and its bike path, so those bikes can make for a great diversion in good weather. The Library & Coffee bar in the lobby is a cozy place to have a cup of java beside the huge limestone fireplace, but it also serves up a hipster crowd and cocktails, beer and wine after dark. The name of the legendary Pump Room remains the same, but the restaurant has an all-new design with striking circular lights that float like planets through the night sky.
1301 N. State Pkwy
Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago
The Radisson Blu is notable for its design inside and out. In a great location, steps from Millennium Park, the lakefront and Michigan Avenue, you can spy the award-winning architectural blue waves of noted architect Jeanne Gang on the outside walls. Inside, two different room styles offer either a soothing design with bare woods and pale neutrals or a jazzy vibe with glitter and vibrant colors. Rooms are spacious and most have large windows offering great views. Inside the lobby, there’s a nod to Chicago’s history with decorative walls using historic bricks from around town. A first-floor restaurant and bar is comfortable as well as convenient. The hotel has indoor and outdoor pools, a large fitness center and great outdoor space including a fire pit and walking track.
221 N. Columbus Dr.
JW Marriott Chicago
Though a new hotel, this JW Marriott is housed in a historic building and it retains many architectural gems, like the stunning Art Deco winding staircase that dominates the lobby. A light-filled lobby bar is welcoming even to single travelers. Rooms are spacious and modern with high ceilings trimmed with crown molding, soft-as-silk cotton sheets on uber-comfy beds, marble baths and elegant jewel-toned fabrics and furniture that lend a traditional flavor. On the lower level is the 20,000-square-foot Valeo spa, patterned on a traditional Turkish hamman with heated stone tables and benches and a clarity chamber. There’s also a fitness center and a swimming pool.
151 W. Adams St.