The Fanciest, Finest Hotels Chicago Has to Offer



The well-heeled crowd will find plenty of posh places to lay their weary heads in Chicago. The city is dotted with ritzy hotels, most with on-site gourmet restaurants, high-end spas, and rooftop bars with unique cocktails and beautiful city views. But above all, they provide impeccable service.

While a more mature crowd might be drawn to sophisticated places like the Park Hyatt Chicago, with its comfy beds and in-room deluxe hot tubs, others like the modern, eclectic vibe from posh hotels like the new Langham and Thompson. It's more of a party at The James hotel, and celebrities tend to stay at places like the The Peninsula Chicago. But whether you prefer fancy and flashy, or low-key and elegant, Chicago will have a luxury hotel that will treat you like a V.I.P.

In the last few years, Chicago has seen a slew of new luxury hotels open, so first-class travelers who seek top-of-the-line rooms and whatever-you-need service now have lots of options. And all of them will be centrally located and will have gorgeous views of the skyline and Lake Michigan. If you're willing to plunk down the money, you can live large and luxuriously during your stay in Chicago.



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Thompson Chicago
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Thompson Chicago


 

One of the newcomers on Chicago's luxury hotel scene, Thompson Chicago is all about style. Posh lofts with jewel-toned furniture, eclectic design, floor-to-ceiling windows make the accommodations equally hip and comfortable. REN products are provided for use in the huge showers. The on-site Italian restaurant, Nico Osterio, headed by Chicago chef Paul Kahan, is among the best restaurants in the city with house made pasta and unique high-end cocktails. The long bar in the lounge means a business traveler can sit alone comfortably. Besides style and an ideal Gold Coast location, the hotel focuses on attentive service. Even guests' pets will be treated like VIPs.


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The Four Seasons' Chicago upholds the chain's reputation for luxury and service. Recently renovated, the limestone and glass building has large, fully-appointed rooms done with 20th century-styled decor and excellent views of the skyline and Lake Michigan. The hotel is very family-friendly, with an indoor pool, visits from the Ice Cream Man each night, and pizza-making classes in the kitchen. The chef will take everyone on bicycle rides to the city's famous Green City Market and then enjoy a four-course meal made with those ingredients. The art-covered lobby, stylish spa and well-equipped fitness center ensures the whole family will feel like VIPs.


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The James Chicago
Photo courtesy of The James Chicago


 

Modern, minimal decoration and a festive vibe distinguish this luxury hotel from others in Chicago. The rooms include penthouse lofts, one-bedroom apartments, and deluxe rooms with sleek décor. Excellent steaks are served at the hotel's restaurant, Primehouse, which has a VIP dining area and a menu that includes dishes like Kobe Beef Sashimi on Himalayan rock salt. A more casual meal or after dinner drinks can be enjoyed at their Primehouse Bar, which has an outdoor patio. Or for a more peaceful stay, the hotel's Asha spa has unique offerings like a coconut massage, plus a whole menu of services for teens.


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The modern boutique Kimpton hotel in River North is close to Michigan Avenue shopping and offers complimentary bike rentals, pint-size animal print bathrobes for younger kids and a yoga mat in every room. Most of the food served, whether in room service or in their gastro-pub, is organic or fair-trade. What makes this hotel stand out is its impressive eco-friendly design and features, includes low-flow toilets and energy-efficient light fixtures. It's still luxurious, though, with a 24-hour fitness center and 17th floor indoor pool with a sundeck. Parents like the complimentary wine hour. The service is top-notch, and you can even request the kind of pillow you want and it will be put on your bed during turndown service.


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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.


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The luxury 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, and some of the granite tubs are in front of large picture windows to make for an unforgettably scenic bath. With an on-site gourmet Mediterranean restaurant and posh spa, the Langham exudes elegance in the center of downtown Chicago.


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Park Hyatt - Chicago
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Hyatt


 

A longtime favorite among high-end travelers, the Park Hyatt emphasizes service and sophistication. It's restaurant, NoMI, is one of the best in Chicago, and foodies can arrange to have a special dining experience in the "chef's corner." Walk into the art-covered lobby and then into one of their stylish, clean and contemporary rooms, with comfy beds and enormous, spa-like bathrooms. Some guest rooms have window seats that overlook the lake. Have an evening cocktail on the outdoor patio, surrounded by urban lights, or pamper yourself with a long swim in the indoor pool or a revitalizing Hydrafacial in the spa.


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Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago
Photo courtesy of International Hotel & Tower Chicago


 

Many Chicagoans aren't fond of the building's huge TRUMP letters on a riverfront lined with architectural gems. But they can't deny that Trump International Hotel & Tower has luxury, location and some of the best views in the city. Built on a curve of the Chicago River, this glass tower's 339 rooms have limestone bathrooms with large soaking tubs. A sleek spa and Michelin-rated restaurant are among the many amenities. If weather permits, have a drink on the terrace of the 16th floor, a beautiful photo opp with the iconic Wrigley building and Chicago River in the background. You might not like Donald Trump's politics, but his Chicago hotel get our vote.


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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. 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.


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Waldorf Astoria Chicago
Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Chicago


 

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 décor and have comfy king-sized beds. Some rooms have fireplaces or high-tech features like TVs in the bathroom mirrors. There's a divine spa on the premise. Sit in the cozy, 34-seat boite, tucked away on the second floor, and enjoy a glass of imported wine or a rare bourbon or cognac. 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.


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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.

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