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Finding the best hotels in Chicago starts with your interests. Located along the aptly named Chicago River, the largest city in Illinois is the birthplace of the modern skyscraper. The bustling metropolis, punctuated by lush green boulevards, is a shopper’s paradise that takes hospitality up a notch, as well as a destination with iconic buildings, world-class museums, legendary music venues, and a glistening lakefront. Whether it’s a historic hotel near Millennium Park, a luxury escape near the beach, or an Art Deco remnant of the Roaring Twenties that you’re looking to experience, you can find it in Chicago. Here, we’ve rounded up 13 of the best hotels in this Midwestern capital of architecture.
The Langham Hotel stretches across 13 floors of a Mies van der Rohe skyscraper in the heart of downtown Chicago. The Langham’s signature pink hue and travertine marble merge seamlessly with van der Rohe’s clean lines to create what may be the most elegant, high-end stay in Chicago. This luxury hotel features an expansive spa, indoor pool and river views. It also has an epic penthouse suite with an equally stunning view from the bathtub. Dining options include Travelle, which features seasonal American dishes, and the Langham’s traditional afternoon tea—or you can ask the concierge to book a table for you at one of Chicago’s best restaurants.
Before opening its doors to the public, the Chicago Athletic Association was a private club for decades. The Venetian-inspired property (designed to resemble the Doge’s Palace in Venice) has since been reborn as a luxury hotel that welcomes guests with a collection of arched windows, restored fireplaces, custom-furnished rooms, and a 24-hour fitness center. Located on Michigan Avenue just across from Millennium Park and originally built for the World’s Columbian Exposition, it’s a convenient choice for visitors in town for concerts and festivals. This hotel is also located within walking distance of the Art Institute of Chicago and Quartino’s, one of the best Italian restaurants in Chicago.
This boutique hotel may be new to the city, but its historic structure has defined the Chicago skyline for decades. The Pendry Hotel opened in 2021 inside the Carbon & Carbide building, an Art Deco icon erected in 1929. The property oozes opulence—gold accents are just the beginning. Inside, guests will find marble bathrooms with custom toiletries, rooms equipped with Bluetooth speakers and espresso machines, and Michelin-star fine dining. There’s even a rooftop lounge that turns into a sort of Swiss chalet during the winter.
Possibly one of the best luxury hotels in the city, Park Hyatt Chicago is fresh off a renovation of its nearly 200 suites and guest rooms. Expansive windows bring city views to the comfort of your room in a property just steps away from architectural icons, world-class shopping, and Chicago’s historic Water Tower. The hotel is also within walking distance of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Several bars nearby make it easy to experience Chicago’s nightlife—though you may want to start at Nomi, the hotel’s onsite bar.
There may be no better hotel for curling fans than The Gwen. This hotel’s rooftop bar hosts curling with city views during the winter. Located on the Magnificent Mile, this lodge is also the perfect home base for anyone in Chicago who’s looking to shop for designer bags, shoes, clothes and more. There’s a Moet & Chandon vending machine in the lobby and an interior walkway to nearby shops for travelers committed to avoiding inclement weather. The hotel is even located steps from the Red Line train station, making it a breeze to get to Wrigley Field for a baseball game.
The historic Palmer House Hotel has long been a favorite of Hollywood legends, American presidents, and legendary musicians. This hotel is situated in the Loop, the city’s central business district, and was the first in Chicago to feature elevators as well as telephones and in-room electric light bulbs. Known for its oversized guest rooms and over-the-top opulence, the Palmer House Hotel’s past guests include Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald and Harry Belafonte, all of whom have performed at the hotel. Now a Hilton property, the Palmer House Hotel is also known for its homemade brownies.
The Drake Hotel is a defining feature of Lake Shore Drive, the scenic roadway that runs along Lake Michigan on the eastern edge of Chicago. The Drake opened just in time to host a New Year’s Eve party in 1920. Walt Disney, George Gershwin, and Bing Crosby are among its famous former guests and Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio once carved their initials into the counter of a dining area. An afternoon tea room now known as Palm Court is still one of the most elegant places in the city to enjoy a cup of tea.
Don’t be surprised if this Beaux Arts building feels familiar. The LondonHouse Hotel has appeared in productions like Perfect Strangers and Batwoman. The 452-room hotel is a remnant of Chicago’s 1920s high-rise boom. It sits at the location of Fort Dearborn, where the city of Chicago got its start, and for many years housed a legendary jazz supper club on its ground floor. Herbie Hancock is among the performers who played in that club. The hotel has a popular rooftop lounge that overlooks the river as well as easy access to the House of Blues and River North.
Chicago Motor Club Hampton Inn
This is no ordinary Hampton Inn. This property is located inside the 17-story Chicago Motor Club, an Art Deco building that once housed the offices of the automobile association. The property offers the comforts of a Hampton Inn inside a building sure to make you hear the call of the open road. Inside you’ll find a map of the United States and a classic car. The stay is a great option for travelers looking to spend time at Navy Pier.
The Peninsula Chicago is a five-star hotel with a spa that welcomes guests to the Windy City with a pair of Chinese marble lions sitting just outside the hotel’s doors. Its location near key sights and high-end retailers make it a convenient hotel for shopping and sightseeing trips. The Peninsula Hotel’s 339 rooms are palaces of luxury whose design pays homage to the Peninsula Hotel’s Hong Kong roots. Some rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows with expansive views of Lake Michigan.
This Gold Coast hotel has a full-service spa and a coveted location just steps from the world-class shopping on the Magnificent Mile. Even the smallest rooms come with sofas and desks, making them particularly convenient for business travelers. And when it’s time to play, make yourself an espresso, slip off your hotel slippers and get ready to stroll through a gorgeous hotel lobby on your way out for a night on the town.
There may be no better way to experience Chicago than with a luxury hotel room, yacht, expansive fitness center, and indoor pool. At the Four Seasons Chicago, guests can hop on board a chartered yacht to experience the beauty and excitement of Lake Michigan during the summer. They’ll return to the comfort of a Four Seasons hotel room, complete with a dreamy spa and delectable restaurants. Located on the Magnificent Mile across the street from the iconic skyscraper 875 North Michigan Ave, it’s also within walking distance of Oak Street Beach, a sandy beach that sits in the shadows of Chicago’s skyscrapers.
This Virgin Hotel brings a hefty dose of fun to an old bank building with roots in the Roaring Twenties. The property opened as the Old Dearborn Bank in 1928 and though the bank didn’t make it through the Great Depression, the pet-friendly hotel has 250 rooms and suites that still retains several of the building’s original elements (picture 1920s oak cigar bar and brass elevator lobby doors). Rooms feature sliding privacy doors to create separate areas for living and sleeping within the space. Minibars aren’t marked up, instead selling drinks and snacks for similar prices to local convenience stores. Best of all? You can order room service—or extra pillows—with an app.