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
- Handicap Accessible
- 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
Stayed here for the '19 Marathon. Location for that was good, but a 10+ min walk from transit isn't great. Worst two aspects were the noise and restaurant service. Room was so noisy that neither of us slept well. 11 floors up and it was like we were on the street with windows open. Restaurant was consistently slow and unfriendly, taking ages to serve, bringing wrong orders and sometimes just not showing up at all.
Room was ok, spacious, relatively modern but showing signs of real wear and tear. Bedding felt cheap and thin. Bathroom design means that the floor gets very wet and is a slipping hazard after showering, which isn't nice.
Terrific service and accommodation. Staff was great and attended to every needed and then some. Would definitely go back to this hotel. Location is awesome as well. They want me to write 200 characters so I have to keep writing, it's too bad the criteria for this review isn't as good as the hotel.
We were delighted with our choice of hotel. The location, style and amenities were first class. The staff were very friendly and approachable. A special mention to Dante and the security team who let me store an expensive item in the hotel safe and were very helpful with my request.