Design-forward, from the undulating exterior to the chain-link-walled lobby lounge
Loaded with amenities including pools for all seasons (one in, the other out)
Museum-worthy art collection with a smartphone app providing guided tours
What To Know
Free WiFi and late check-out
Guestroom balconies offer opportunities to step out, but are unfurnished
Most rooms offer superior views, but the best are on the highest floors
Parking on site
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Design-forward highrise hotel with two pools, an impressive art collection and Italian eats ideally located between the Chicago River and Millennium Park
Chicago architect Jeanne Gang, a MacArthur Fellow, designed this acclaimed white tower ringed in rippling balconies that make the exterior seem to shimmy. Sexy low-lit interiors feel cozy and inviting. A 50-foot fireplace edges the lobby lounge, and gallery lighting picks out the hotel’s prized collection of black and white photos by street photographer Vivian Meier. Toying with proportion, the hotel’s split-level Italian restaurant resides on an open mezzanine a half-story up, with its communal-table-packed bar a half level below.
Bed and Bath
The hotel’s 334 guestrooms double as inviting sanctuaries and panoramic perches. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook key downtown attractions from Navy Pier to Millennium Park. Blond wood floors, white linens and original paper artwork set a tranquil tone in some design-forward rooms, while others feature teal carpeting and matching throws. Bathrooms riff on the aqua in the hotel’s name with white tile, pastel blue walls and opaque glass doors that slide across the shower. In addition to fully stocked mini-bars, one-cup brewers come stocked with Lavazza coffee and Rishi tea.
The centerpiece of the hotel is one of Chicago’s most impressive fitness centers, a third-floor span that includes an indoor basketball half-court, lap pool and billiards room with an 8-seat poker table. Outside, the deck hosts a larger pool, fire pits and a running track. In addition to its Italian restaurant and fireside lounge, the lobby hosts a grab-and-go espresso bar. The hotel’s app offers a museum-worthy tour of the prized art collection, as well as a proud overview of its architecture.
In the Area
Fittingly one block south of the design-centric hotel lies Millennium Park, home to a concert stage and pedestrian bridge designed by architect Frank Gehry, gardens, a video-screen fountain and the popular “Cloud Gate” sculpture (aka The Bean), a popular photo stop for its curvy reflective surface. The Art Institute of Chicago is connected to the park by a pedestrian bridge designed by Renzo Piano. His Modern Wing houses the top-floor Terzo Piano, a window-wrapped, light-flooded room that makes a memorable lunch stop. Just north of the hotel, the Chicago River offers spectacular views of the skyline best guided by the Chicago Architecture Foundation on their popular architectural boat tours.