Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago
What We Love
- A nightly lobby wine hour from 5 to 6 p.m. every evening
- So pet-friendly it verges on doggie daycare (think turn-down treats and no size restriction)
- Free (upon request) spa tote bag for use during your stay, filled with a yoga mat, Pilates rings and core strengthening bands
What To Know
- There is no dedicated hotel spa, though in-room massages and facials can be arranged
- WiFi is free for those who sign up for the free Kimpton Karma Rewards program
- The “Forgot It? We’ve Got It!” program will supply you with anything from lip balm to cell phone chargers, if you call the front desk
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
This circa 1912 property, perched one block south of the Chicago River, started life as a hat factory. And that suits the Monaco — part of the playful Kimpton hotel brand — just fine. Following through on the theme with lots of Mad Hatter whimsy, the 191-room hotel kicks things off with a reception area and living room lounge that features day-glo photos of women in fanciful headgear, funhouse-size wing chairs and Deco murals. The valets get in on the act with their own hat tricks; depending on the season they’re decked out in earflap trapper hats, straw boaters or newsboy caps.
Bed and Bath
The guestrooms add to the quirky romp with white leather chaises, looping carved wooden headboards and a spinning color wheel of gold-framed mirrors, scarlet carpets and red damask drapes. Even the standard King Deluxe Rooms are airy by Chicago standards, at 332 square feet, but the gentle rise in price to the Mediterranean Suite buys you a separate living room, along with epic, cushion-lined window seats that could pass for cupboard beds. Standard bathrooms feel cramped, though the granite countertops, C.O. Bigelow toiletries and animal-print robes, cheetah to zebra, keep the party going.
A functional fitness center features free weights, stationary bikes, treadmills and supersized hula hoops. There’s a nightly lobby wine hour from 5 to 6 p.m. and the hotel’s South Water Kitchen sits just off the lobby. The homey restaurant doesn’t try to compete with all the local Gold Coast contenders, but it does do right by its Midwestern comfort food menu, which includes a very meaty plate of bourbon-braised pork belly dished up with bacon mac and cheese.
In the Area
Sitting just south of the Chicago River and just west of Michigan Avenue, the Monaco straddles the North and South Loops. That means you’re within easy striking distance of most major Chicago attractions: Navy Pier, the theater district and North Michigan Avenue’s luxe lineup of shops. The hotel’s concierge can help you book a private charter tour of the Chicago River, for a floating view of the city’s sleek modernist landmarks. If you want to stay firmly grounded, though, head south to Magnolia Bakery for a cup of the banana pudding. Then walk over to the Art Institute of Chicago, where the Modern Wing, inaugurated in 2009, showcases work by Picasso and Georgia O’Keeffe, and the terrace of the Terzo Piano restaurant, headed by master chef Tony Mantuano, overlooks Millennium Park.
How to Get There
This hotel is in a great location with rooms overlooking the Chicago River. It's been updated since our last visit. The rooms have a quirky charm and wide window ledges with a comfortable pad and pillows for those agile enough to get up on one. The decor is hard to pin down - maybe mediterranean meets modern - but it has quirky touches that fill the room with charm and make you smile. It's also dog friendly.
The staff was very friendly and helpful. The room was clean and nice, the bed and pillows were super comfy. At least on the higher floors (I was on 9) it was fairly quiet (normal city noise). Good meeting facilities and random sitting areas to get together with friends. The location was perfect for easy walking access to the Riverwalk, parks, restaurants, museums, etc.
Check-in: I was warmly welcomed about noon on a Friday by Frances. This was my first Kimpton so she explained a few things, including the $10 raid the minibar credit, which I could also use toward a charge in the restaurant. Due to the minibar prices, I used it for a food charge.
Room: Very clean and modern. Great bed, TV, and view except I was across from an office building so I had to keep my shades closed most of the time. Bathroom only had a shower-Frances thought she was giving me a room with a tub, but it was ok since it was newly remodeled. The shower did fine. They have those squirt bottles and don't provide little bottles of shampoo, body wash, or conditioner but do have some others. Safe had weak battery so I could not get my laptop out as display kept going blank. Guy came and replaced battery, but next day, it wouldn't work again. They fixed while I was out as I hid my laptop, and it worked for remainder of stay. On my two full days, I asked for housekeeping while I was out, and they were right on it! I was on top floor #1409. Everything was fairly quiet. I saw dogs but didn't hear any barking or have any issues with pet hair from prior guests in my room. In summary, really great room.
Wine Hour: I made Friday and Sunday but not Saturday due to my basketball game, the reason I was in Chicago. Go Irish! It was for 1 hour, included a California red and a California white plus a small tray of hors d'ouevres. Both guys in charge on the 2 nights were great! Friday was very crowded, but Sunday only had a dozen or so guests!
Restaurant: Separate review and not averaged in for hotel ratings
Check-out: Ms. Williams was great and made sure everything was done correctly on my bill. I used 2 different credit cards since I had a promotion with one and didn't want to charge more than the minimum to receive the max reward on that one and then use my IHG card for the balance for more rewards. Everything billed perfectly. I wrote her first name down but can't find it, but she knew what she was doing and was a true professional.
Conclusion: I would definitely return to this or another Kimpton based on this stay, if the price and location were right, but would avoid the attached restaurant except to use my raid the bar credit. There were a few issues (safe, restaurant charges, privacy due to office building) but overall a fantastic stay!
Booked this hotel due to the location. I am a IHG member and have always wanted to try a Kimpton and glad that I did! Its about a two min walk to the L with access to almost every line. The hotel was very nice, clean, and updated. The rooms were very eccentric and well decorated. Valet parking was $58 a night but could be worse I guess. The view was excellent and the staff couldn't be better!
Usually, I am too lazy to write reviews but I must write one for this property and their super friendly, considerate, and well-trained staff team. They are doing a superb job. Don't get me wrong, it is not luxury level experience like sit down or in-room check-in while the doorman walks you from the entrance to your room, but it is the best in their class.