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The Best in the Midwest: Chicago's Luxury Hotels



There are so many extraordinary hotels in the world and Chicago is home to an embarrassment of riches in terms of luxe properties. These hotels are expert at accommodations, public spaces, spa, dining and service, so what separates them from each other? It’s attention to detail.

The well-heeled might be drawn to sophisticated places like the Peninsula Chicago. the Langham and Park Hyatt, with dreamy beds and in-room deluxe soaking tubs, while others are attracted to the modern elegance from posh yet unpretentious hotels like The Conrad Chicago. The Viceroy Chicago is a genuine intersection of luxury and boutique offering an array of amenities (like complimentary transportation in the House Tesla Model X). Whether you prefer fancy and flashy, or low-key and elegant, Chicago offers a luxury hotel staff that will treat you like a V.I.P. 

First-class travelers who seek top-of-the-line accommodations and exceptional service have lots of options. All are centrally located and most have gorgeous views of the skyline and Lake Michigan. Some boast rooftop bars with stunning city views. If you're willing to heat up the plastic, you can live large and luxuriously during your stay in Chicago.


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Thompson Chicago
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Thompson Chicago


Anyone who overnights in the center of the city can get annoyed at the sirens and honking cars but the Thompson Chicago may be one of the city's most hushed hotels tucked away on East Bellevue just off of Rush St. The neighborhood can't be beat for upscale shopping, cafes, people watching and a stroll to the lake. The lobby feels like a tasteful living room filled with books and cheeky art. Rooms feature masculine lines and color yet feminine flashes of texture and sparkle. Book one of the bi-level suites: four have outdoor terraces with lake views. Soaking tubs and showers big enough for two are a plus and the on-site Italian restaurant, Nico Osteria, is a winning example of refined Italian dining. In addition to scads of style and an ideal Gold Coast location, the hotel focuses on attentive service. Even guests' pets will be treated like VIPs.




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 and pizza-making classes in the kitchen. Regional artists, especially from the faculty and alumni at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, display artwork along the walls and corridors. The Spa is home to a 50-foot Roman-style indoor pool, steam rooms, whirlpool and fitness center. Have a bite of contemporary American cuisine created by Executive Chef Michael Zachman at Allium Restaurant and Allium Bar, is an intimate lounge with hand-crafted cocktails and premium spirits.




Located next to Water Tower Place, the Ritz-Carlton is a peaceful retreat from the Magnificent Mile crowds. The 5-star luxury hotel offers upscale amenities, 90 recently refashioned suites and comfortable, well-appointed rooms with large windows revealing views of Navy Pier and Lake Michigan. The Day Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago has five treatment rooms, men and women's steam rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness center with yoga and meditation spaces, swimming pool, and a nail salon. Indulge in fresh pastas made in-house daily, Prime and dry-aged meats, and seafood at the on-site Torali Italian â€" Steak. The 12th floor Rooftop at Torali is a lounge open seasonally. Youngsters can fill a bag of candies with the complimentary Candy Cart by Ferrara, a legendary Chicago candy company, which will stop by your hotel room door upon request. Though a big and busy hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Chicago lives up to its luxury reputation.


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Many Chicagoans aren't fond of the building's huge TRUMP letters on a riverfront lined with architectural gems, however, you can't deny that this is one classy stack of bricks. Trump International Hotel & Tower offers 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; fully equipped kitchens; 10-ft. floor-to-ceiling windows; and even a pillow menu for your best night's sleep. A sleek spa (with spa guest rooms available) and top-rated restaurant are among the many amenities. If weather permits, have a drink on the terrace of the 16th floor, a beautiful photo opportunity with the iconic Wrigley building and Chicago River in the background.




Celebrities, heads of state, artists and other VIPs often stay at The Peninsula when they're visiting Chicago because the hotel offers five-star accommodations and service. In fact, The Peninsula Hotels are the only hotel brand to achieve the highest possible Five-Star status by Forbes Travel Guide across all ten of its properties. Everything about the hotel is elegant including rooms appointed with marble baths and premium bedding, and some with soaking tubs with city views. Spacious one-bedroom Junior Suites are the most popular among guests. The property features three distinctive restaurants, a sexy rooftop bar (Z-Bar) and a world-class spa. The spa, gym and indoor pool are pristine. As you'd expect from a hotel of this caliber, the service is top-notch. Situated along the Magnificent Mile, guests enjoy location and luxury.




A longtime favorite among discerning 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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The Viceroy brand's first property in the Midwest opened its doors to locals and guests in fall of 2017 and less than two years later, it was named the number one hotel in Chicago by Travel & Leisure. The 180-room modern luxury hotel is located on the site of the former historic Cedar Hotel and features dining experiences from Chicago's award-winning Boka Restaurant Group. Guest rooms have luxurious bathrooms with CBD bath bombs; private bars with local and artisanal offerings; free Wi-Fi access; and some suites offer expansive terraces with wonderful views of the cityscape and Lake Michigan. There's a rooftop pool and an expansive fitness center with panoramic views to keep you going another few minutes on the elliptical. Somerset features American cuisine by renowned Chef Lee Wolen and pastry chef, Meg Galus. Oh yes, and there's complimentary transportation in the House Tesla Model X and free yoga classes every week.




Stay at the modern, chic Conrad Chicago and you'll be steps away from all the major tourist sites, shopping and countless restaurants. Choose among elegant rooms and suites with dynamite skyline and Michigan Avenue views, Nespresso coffeemaker, smart in-room technology that controls draperies and lights, 65-inch HDTV and more. Any of the 24 suites offer even more space with a separate living area, and private check-in. Two distinctive restaurants also offer dynamic city views: Baptiste & Bottle, on the 20th floor, is a bourbon-centric concept from Chef Richard Sandoval and Noyane's seasonal rooftop beckons with Japanese and Peruvian influences. There's also a functional training fitness center if it's too hot or cold for a run along the lake.




The posh Waldorf Astoria in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood could not be more low-key and elegant. Starting with the crisply suited staff at the reception desk, guests receive 5-star service that caters to every whim. The apartment-sized rooms are decorated in tony, Parisian-themed décor and have comfy king-sized beds. Some rooms have fireplaces or features like TVs in the bathroom mirrors. There's a great spa on the premises and two Michael Mina Restaurants: Petit Margeaux, a sweet French patisserie on the hotel's lobby level, and Margeaux Brasserie, a Parisian café with elevated French cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients. The Waldorf-Astoria is a perennial favorite among luxury travelers, and consistently ranks among the best hotels in the city.




The luxury Langham chain expanded into Chicago about six year ago, bringing a mix of British elegance and modern sophistication to a famous skyscraper on the riverfront. The building was designed in the 1970s by famed architect Mies van der Rohe, and it's tasteful and dignified inside and out. Rooms are bathed in neutral colors with smart furnishings and feature floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the inimical skyline and boats floating down the Chicago River. Marble bathrooms have rain showers and granite deep-soak tubs are welcome after a day touring the city. Staff is beyond accommodating and kind. Spring for access to the Langham Club Lounge that offers private registration for arrival and departure; express check-out service; sumptuous breakfast (see the sun rise over the lake!); all-day refreshments; evening cocktails and canapés; one complimentary fitness class per stay; and Butler Service. Chuan Spa is the model of what a luxury wellness experience should be.


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Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky

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