Chicago's Best Hotels Feature Boutique Amenities and Services to Guests

To meet the growing market of well-healed travelers, Chicago’s top hotels go above and beyond to offer boutique amenities to its guests.

Hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, Ritz-Carlton Chicago and The Peninsula offer guests five-star treatment, but it comes with a five-star price tag.

The city also has excellent historic hotels, loaded with character as well as amenities, such as the iconic Drake Hotel and Palmer House Hilton. For those who appreciate the eco-friendly efforts, check out Hotel Felix, the city’s first Silver LEED certified hotel.

From trendy lounges to five-star restaurants, relaxing spas and kid-friendly activities, today’s hotels aren’t the kind of place where you’re there just to spend the night (although their luxurious bedding makes a good night’s sleep welcome). They’re designed to make your overall experience a delight. Any of our top 10 best Chicago hotel recommendations will make your stay in the Windy City memorable and enjoyable.


Hotel Lincoln
Photo courtesy of Hotel Lincoln

Head North into Lincoln Park for this small, quaint, eclectic hotel that is steps from the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Chicago Museum, Steppenwolf Theater and Second City, Chicago's world-renown comedy and improv theatre. Rooms are on the smaller size, but many families opt for a junior suite with a king-size bed, plus a sleeper sofa, or a family suite which also includes an additional room with bunk beds and additional bathroom. There isn't a pool, but it's only a 10 minute walk to North Avenue beach on Lake Michigan and is close to Wrigley Field. (The hotel offers complimentary bike rentals.) Parents love the rooftop bar (J Parker) known for its view, Perennial Virant, a farm-to-table restaurant and Elaine's Coffee Call, which offers pastries, salads, wraps, coffee, wine and beer.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This location is ideal for families who want to see a Cubs game,go to Lincoln Park Zoo or visit the beach.

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This modern hotel located near Millennium Park is a hidden gem, especially for sport enthusiasts. (Think 5-star amenities for 3-star prices.) There's an 8,000 square foot fitness facility that includes a half basketball court and 25-yard lap pool. Outdoors, there's a 80,000 square foot rooftop deck, 25-foot outdoor lap pool and a wading pool for kids (open Memorial Day to Labor Day), plus a hot tub, 1/5 mile running track, sundeck, fire pits, cabanas and a dedicated yoga space. The location is also ideal for biking along Lake Michigan. Many parents will book suites with two connecting rooms (king connecting to two queens). Dogs are allowed (up to 60 lbs.) three-hour express laundry, free Wi-Fi, an onsite spa and a private movie theater room. Tip: Book a room on a Business Class floor--for a small upcharge, families have access to a free hot breakfast, snacks and refreshments.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Parents love this hotel for its extra amenities and reasonable price.

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History buffs will appreciate the living and breathing piece of Chicago history in the lobby of the historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel. Guests and visitors can often be found in one of the plush seats in the lobby staring at the 21 frescos which pay tribute to Greek mythology and love. The Michelangelo-esque mural was originally created in the 1920s by French muralist Louis Pierre Rigal. Guests can enjoy room service, city views, luxury bedding, satellite television and WiFi. There are also three restaurants (including Lockwood, a fine dining establishment), a beauty salon and a gift shop. Guests also have access to Balance Spa and Fitness located within the building and features a 10,000 square feet fitness center, indoor pool, Jacuzzi and steam rooms.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Guests at the Palmer House Hilton have access to a 10,000 square feet fitness center which includes an indoor pool, Jacuzzi and steam rooms.

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Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago
Photo courtesy of Photo by Jamie Bartosch

The Hotel Monaco Chicago is conveniently located two blocks from both Millennium Park and the Chicago Riverwalk. Guests love the complimentary wine hour in the evening, as well as the free Starbucks coffee and tea served throughout the day. They also appreciate the free internet provided throughout the facility. Many of the rooms come with views of the river or city skyline that can be enjoyed via window seats built for two. Make sure to request a view, as some rooms are tucked behind stairwells with very little scenery. The hotel is also one block away from a metro stop at State and Lake, making it an ideal hotel for transit to other parts of the city.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: A boutique-style hotel in the heart of the Loop, guests love the complimentary wine hour, as well as free Starbucks coffee served throughout the day.

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Magnificent Mile

Anyone driving south on Lake Shore Drive has seen the marquee of this historic hotel. It has an excellent location - across the street from Oak Street Beach) - plus comfy rooms with lake and skyline views. Each of the 535 rooms are equipped with high-speed WiFi, and HDTV flat screen with premium movie channels. The Drake is famous for its afternoon high tea service, served in Palm Court, a tradition for generations of families (so book in advance!). The hotel's restaurants provide excellent food and service. At the seafood restaurant, the Cape Cod, you might see the initials of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio carved into the world-famous wooden bar. Look on the lower level, for a display of celebrity guests, including Princess Diana.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Drake Hotel is one of most historic hotels in Chicago, and the U.S.

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Located next to Water Tower Place, one of Chicago's tourist epicenters, the Ritz-Carlton is a peaceful and posh retreat from the Magnificent Mile crowds. The comfortable and well-appointed rooms have large windows with views of Navy Pier and Lake Michigan, and their 5-star service includes an optional nightly visit from the Candyman (a staff member with a well-stocked candy cart - a very popular feature with families). The luxurious spa includes and indoor lap pool with glass ceiling view of the famous John Hancock skyscraper. Though a big and busy hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Chicago lives up to its luxury reputation.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: It's next-to-Water Tower Place location is convenient for both business and family travelers seeing luxury on the Magnificent Mile.

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Celebrities, heads of state and other VIPs often stay at The Peninsula when they're visiting Chicago because the hotel offers five-star accommodations and service. Everything about the hotel is classy and high-end, including rooms appointed with marble baths and premium bedding, and some with soaking tubs with city views. The four on-site restaurants serve gourmet food, and a few provide alfresco dining and cooking classes for guests. The spa, gym and indoor pool are pristine. Its on-site fitness facility offers 30 different complimentary classes per week as well as a heated 25-metre pool overlooking the city's skyline. As you'd expect from a hotel of this caliber, the service is top-notch. With a location along the Magnificent Mile, guests have location and luxury.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Peninsula Chicago offers The Peninsula Academy, designed to give guests insider access to the city's historical, cultural and local lifestyle activities.

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Hotel Felix Chicago
Photo courtesy of Official Website

Hotel Felix presents an upscale and intimate luxury boutique hotel that blends a comfortable elegance with inspiring natural elements. As downtown Chicago's first hotel designed to meet Silver LEED certification, it delivers an enriching experience that not only benefits its guests, but the environment, too. Organic materials. Renewable resources. As you enter the hotel's architecturally unique and historic 1920s facade, you're greeted with delightful dancing waters, white marble columns and a host of services tailored to your every desire. Whisper-quiet rooms blended with gentle tones and plush furnishings create an invitation to relax and escape. Experience bistro dining at Troquet River North, the hotel's French tavern, serving guests all day long. Amenities include customized to your needs such as red carpet concierge, room service, state-of-the-art fitness center, fully-equipped professional business center, complimentary hard-wired high-speed and wireless internet service.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Chicago's first hotel designed to meet Silver LEED certification, it delivers an enriching experience that not only benefits its guests, but the environment, too

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It's all class without the flash at this very posh but low-key spot in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. Starting with the suit-wearing staff at the reception desk, guests receive 5-star service that caters to their every whim. The apartment-sized room are decorated in tony, Parisian-themed d├ęcor and have comfy king-sized beds and marble bathrooms. Some rooms have fireplaces, balconies with skyline views, or high-tech features like TVs in the bathroom mirrors. There's a divine spa on the premise. While it's one of Chicago's most expensive hotels, the Waldorf-Astoria is a perennial favorite among luxury travelers, and consistently ranks among the best hotels not just in the city, but in the country.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Aside from five-star service, each of the hotel's suites has a working fireplace, a full bathtub and separate standing shower.

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Take an unforgettably scenic bath in one of the granite tubs, which are in front of large picture windows, in this luxury hotel. The Langham chain recently expanded into Chicago, bringing a mix of British elegance and modern sophistication to a famous skyscraper on the downtown riverfront. The building was designed in the 1970s by famed architect Mies van der Rohe, so it's beautiful both inside and out. The hotel's interior reflects its European roots. Rooms are done in neutral colors with tasteful furniture, with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the sparking skyline and the boats floating down the Chicago River. The marble bathrooms have rain showers and spa products, With an on-site gourmet Mediterranean restaurant and posh spa, the Langham exudes elegance in the center of downtown Chicago.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The Spa guestrooms are secluded on two floors and offer direct access to The Spa at Trump.

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Meet Jamie Bartosch

Jamie Bartosch is a lifelong Chicagoan who thinks her hometown is the greatest city in the world. She is an award-winning newspaper reporter, a freelance travel writer, and the mother of two great kids.