The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago
What We Love
- Lake Michigan or skyline views
- Great for families: the chef hosts a daily cookie baking session, a “Candy Man” makes room calls with a cart full of candies and bathrooms are stocked with kid-sized robes.
- Mixology-driven cocktails at the THE dec, a hot rooftop bar
What To Know
- Not all rooms feature stellar views; go higher for the best
- The hotel was last renovated in 2010
- The hotel is above the Water Tower Place mall, so the lobby starts on the 12th floor
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
As is often the case, luxury starts with location, and the Ritz-Carlton Chicago’s perch above Michigan Avenue is choice. A gurgling marble fountain anchors the Art Nouveau lobby, but the star is the window wall peering out over the Mag Mile. All 435 guestrooms and suites have a classic style with creams, cool grays and slate blues complemented by dark wood furniture. Like the lobby, the star is again the panoramic views out of picture windows; they range from Navy Pier and Lake Michigan to the city’s famous architectural gems. You’re not likely to find a better spa in downtown Chicago, with treatments ranging from rejuvenating facials to healing massages or you can just hit the salon for a mani-pedi before a night on the town. Get to THE dec while the weather’s still warm to sip custom cocktails with the beautiful people high above Chicago’s most famous strip.
In the Area
The shopping all around the hotel is the best in the Midwest, but two of the best shops are right there below your hotel room: The Lego and American Girl Stores in Water Tower Place. When you’re ready to get the inside-bite on Chicago’s foodie scene head over to the West Loop’s Girl and the Goat, a 10-minute cab ride from the hotel. Top Chef Stephanie Izard’s menu of inventive small plates includes escargot ravioli with bacon and tamarind-miso sauce, and roasted beets with green beans, white anchovy and avocado crème fraîche. In a city known for its architectural history, a tour is a must. The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers year-round walking and bus tours and seasonal riverboat tours led by local certified docents. Speaking of impressive architecture, don’t miss the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago designed by Renzo Piano. The Art Institute is a must; pop in on a Thursday, when admission is free from 5 to 8 p.m. Millennium Park, a 24.5-acre urban escape the heart of the city, offers events and activities all year, from concerts in the summer to ice skating in the winter. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by starchitect Frank Gehry, and the Crown Fountain, an art installation featuring two 50-foot towers with moving faces of Chicago residents, are highlights.
How to Get There
If location was everything then look no further. Pretty much walk to most of the places and restaurants we wanted to get to. That said, the property was just half a step behind the other Ritz properties I have visited and Service not quite as crisp. The rooms were well kept and nicely appointed with lots of city and lake views. I would stay again but it was just a bit below expectations. The double elevator ride to lobby and room sometimes backed up a bit and slowed the day.
I was in town for an educational event, and the prices were unexpectedly low due to a cold snap. I reserved a members rate, which permitted my to use a club upgrade certificate. We also were fortunate enough (perhaps due to Marriott Platinum status) to receive a room upgrade to the Water Tower suite.
In short, this stay was spectacular. The location is convenient. It has an elevator directly into the mall. The club was never too busy, and the food and drinks were way above the Marriott standards that I’m used to. There was slight room noise due to wind, but Ritz notified us in advance and provided ear plugs. And there is Nespresso, if you can’t make it into the club. The staff were very friendly, and made the stay pleasant.
Based on my stay, it was well worth it. Highly recommended.
I would save your money or stay at one of the other high end hotels. It was nice, clean, and had great views, but it was not the “special” that we’ve experienced at other Ritz properties. The staff was friendly and provided the information we asked, but no better than any other hotel I’ve stayed in. We needed a couple of items, which never came. I called down to the desk, then the concierge, and after several rings, I was assisted by housekeeping. Not Ritz service.
The rooms were quiet and nicely appointed with nice bedding and two sinks. The toilet was very low, very. Not sure why.
The location is lovely, but getting to the hotel can be a little tricky the first time. The lobby is on the 12th floor.
Arrived at the hotel and asked for a Marriott Platinum upgrade - not available, but was placed in a room facing the Hancock building and partial lake views. Front desk seems busy. The updated room was nice, however the very soft carpet had a strange unraveling patch. The Nespresso machine was great. Toiletries by Asprey are very floral, not my personal taste but had them in other top-notch hotels.
What I didn't expect - and should have researched better - is that a Marriott Platinum (and Starwood Lifetime Platinum) status, is not enough to get upgraded to the club level, nor there is any allowance for food, like breakfast. I would have made a reservation elsewhere if I understood that lack of recognition, or policy.
The bed is excellent. WiFi is fast. The fitness room was nice.
We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in December. It was beautifully decorated for Christmas! The staff were all very friendly & helpful! My husband & I took our nephews to Chicago for a weekend getaway. We were able to stay in a room with a separate bedroom from the living room. In the living room, there was a pull out couch & they brought us a rollaway bed too. There was plenty of room for both of the beds in the living room. Something that was really nice about the room was that there were 2 full bathrooms! One for our nephews and one for us!