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
All around we had a very good experience here. Stayed 3 nights during a unusually cold spell. Front desk attendants were very polite and serviced us quickly. All the staff were friendly. They will hold bags if checkout is prior to flights.
We never ate at the restaurant, but the bartender allowed us to grab a beer on the way to our room just as they were closing. The restaurant and bar were always busy when we moved about.
Our room had the typical modern look, but was attractive and suitable for us. The bathroom had a large shower with great shower head, as well as an enormous bathtub. The room was very well lit. The king bed was extremely comfy. Our view wasn’t really good and there wasn’t a window that could open, but that didn’t bother us much. The rooms mini fridge is meant for ordering “mini bar” items, so the temperature isn’t very cold, more cool. There was a corkscrew.
Location is nice, a CVS next door and just a few blocks from the river walk. Taxis and Uber were readily available.
Great location, very clean. We stayed for a romantic getaway and then went to the bears game. The bears played the lions and they won!!!! We had a corner room with a balcony and it was a spectacular view.
The location and lobby/bar/ect for this hotel was fantastic and the customer service was great but the rooms have definitely seen better days. Things were very worn and not super clean. It was a little disappointing for the price and popularity of the hotel. The staff were super accommodating though and even sent us some chocolate and wine after we told them it was our anniversary. Overall a good experience but the guest rooms definitely need some attention and repairs/deep cleaning.