Monaco in Downtown Chicago: From Hat Factory to Four-Star Hotel

This remodeled luxury hotel lets guests relax with free wine, yoga and pets - yours or theirs


The Tranquility Suite at Hotel Monaco Chicago, with a one of a kind window seat — Photo courtesy of Hotel Monaco Chicago

After a long, busy day, who wouldn’t want to relax at a window seat offering views of the night lights lining the Chicago River? It’s one of the things guests at Hotel Monaco in downtown Chicago look forward to, often with a glass of wine from the complimentary wine hour that the hotel hosts every evening from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in their lobby.

Conveniently located in the Loop overlooking the Chicago River, Hotel Monaco Chicago is just steps away from the iconic shopping of Magnificent Mile and within walking distance of the architectural masterpiece that is Millennium Park.

Hotel Monaco, part of the Kimpton family, renovated its 191-room boutique hotel in 2013. They redesigned the lobby, event spaces and adjacent restaurant - South Water Kitchen - and added plenty of new amenities to the Hotel's already impressive line-up.

Its revamped lobby greets guests with pops of bold colors, playful patterns, iconic black and white Chicago photographs and specially-commissioned artwork.

The lobby of Hotel Monaco Chicago — Photo courtesy of Hotel Monaco Chicago

Along with a large LCD flat screen TV airing Chicago-centric movies, the lobby also now features an eight-seat bar table with built-in power outlets and high-backed chairs, ideal for travelers seeking a social setting to get some work done. Many guests also take advantage of the complimentary wine hour, as it’s a great way for solo business travelers to mingle with others or relax with a glass of red or white after a long day of meetings.

While surfing the web with free WiFi (well, free for Kimpton InTouch members, a free loyalty program), guests can also pick up complimentary “power packs” for loan at the front desk, complete with an iPhone charger, noise-cancelling headphones and a tablet pre-loaded with music and books.

Yoga mats come standard in every Kimpton hotel room. Upon request, hotel staff provides guests healthy amenities such as flavored waters and fresh fruit or trail mix and tune the television to its on-demand yoga and Pilates channels. It’s cleverly called this “roll out” service, a riff on “turn down” service.

Deep soaking tub in Tranquility Suite — Photo courtesy of Hotel Monaco Chicago

If the idea of coming back to an empty hotel room is unappealing, bring your furry friends along. The hotel is pet-friendly and allows guests to bring any numbers of pets without size or weight restrictions and at no extra charge.

Or, ask for some Guppy Love. The Guppy Love Program offers travelers in need of a little extra comfort on the road a live goldfish to stay overnight in their room. Hotel staff will deliver the fishy friend to the guest’s room and handle daily feedings and care, allowing travelers to enjoy stress-free bonding.

Tranquility Suite's king-sized bed at Hotel Monaco Chicago — Photo courtesy of Hotel Monaco Chicago

Want to really allow yourself to relax? Ask for the Tranquility Suite, one of the most-requested rooms. Guests respond to its calming décor and appreciate the serenity after a hectic day in business meetings or a tiring afternoon of sightseeing. The Suite comes with the option to “black-out,” which means forfeiting all electronics with the front desk including cell phones and laptops.

For those who appreciate history, they may enjoy knowing that the building was originally built as a hat factory for D.B. Fisk & Co. in 1912 and then later converted to the Oxford House Hotel in 1958. In 1998, Kimpton completely renovated the building as an adaptive reuse project, unveiling it as the stylish Monaco Chicago.

Monaco pays homage to its historical roots by incorporating the hat factory into its artwork behind the front desk and having the doorman’s hat specifically selected by Goorin Brother Hat Company. The hotel partnered with Goorin Brother Hat Company in 2012 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of its retail-related past with a party and Goorin Brother trunk show. 

Mediterranean Suite's tranquility area — Photo courtesy of Hotel Monaco Chicago

About Megy Karydes

Megy Karydes dreams of the day that she could unplug for more than 24 minutes, let alone 24 hours.

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