Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
What We Love
- 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
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
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.
How to Get There
The staff is friendly. The gym is well equipped. The location is great. I love staying here every time I come up for work, and when I collect points we come up for leisure. I would highly recommend this hotel.
Quick check-in, large room, very comfortable bed, soft sheets, perfectly clean. and quiet. Can't ask for more there. Staff were all very friendly and kind. Only limitation was very poor room service food.
The hotel is beautiful, close to the lake and river and an easy walk from the train station. The staff is friendly and the hotel is clean. I slept better than I do in my own bed at home. The room was very comfy and the city view was pristine.
The Radisson Blu Aqua was a treasure. The room was quiet, clean and relaxing. The bathroom was exciting, enjoyable, and clean daily. Had no problem with accessing the internet. Very enjoyable stay. Easy check-in, very friendly host and décor was very welcoming.
Nice place but if you are of the generation the prefers more traditional settings you might consider another place because it was very modern. I didn’t mind it but wasn’t my husbands type of place. Staff was very helpful and pleasant.