The $200 million renovation and expansion of the 1923 Alfred Alschuler-designed London Guarantee & Accident Building into the LondonHouse hotel has been a multi-year labor of love for developer Oxford Capital Group, architect Goettsch Partners, and interior specialist Simeone Deary Design Group. With the wait now over and the hotel open for business, the public can now experience firsthand the high level of detail found in nearly every aspect of the renovation of one of Chicago's great historic buildings and the addition of new glassy annex.
The transition between the old and new is perhaps most noticeable on the building’s first floor, where the contrast between the original gold leaf entrance and elevator lobby and the more modern spaces is apparent. Elsewhere the interiors are completely seamless, with the presence of floor-to-ceiling glass windows usually the only indication of being inside the addition.
The second floor lobby and lounge is a particularly bright space that includes a full bar, seating areas with high-backed chairs and low sofas, and an inlaid marble floor that echoes a pattern found on the wall and ceiling of the front desk area. The lobby features numerous custom works of art such as a two-story colorized portrait of General William Hull as a historical nod to the Battle of Fort Dearborn that took place at the site in 1812.
Directly above the lobby is the LondonHouse’s high-ceilinged ballroom. The airy space was designed specifically without sightline-obstructing structural columns and can be partitioned into two smaller rooms if needed. The ballroom’s glamorous chandeliers feature spherical bulbs that reference the room's patterned carpeting which is evocative of strings of pearls. This same hotel level also contains a number of uniquely designed private meeting rooms that can accommodate groups of varying sizes.
The LondonHouse also offers multiple layouts and a number of unique decors across its 452 guest rooms. Much like the exterior, the rooms are designed as a handsome meeting of new and old and include thoughtful touches like custom under bed storage, stone lined bathrooms, and keyless entry via guest smartphones. Meant to be evocative of the fashions and automobiles of the 1920s, the result is very elegant —albeit somewhat mid-century — in its execution.
The design of hotel’s sleek fitness center and spa pays special homage to Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. The corridors of the space are lined with illuminated names of the fair’s architects and visionaries while the workout area features a dividin wall laser-etched with an image of Chicago's original Ferris wheel. Inside the spa, guests will find a stylized three-dimensional rendering of the iconic State of the Republic statue that presided over the expo’s Great Basin in Jackson Park.
By far the aspect of the LondonHouse that has Chicagoans most buzzing is the three-tiered bar and lounge dubbed 'LH' located in the building’s crown. While the clubby, onyx-clad indoor 21st floor bar with bespoke furniture and spaces for live music and private dining is incredibly impressive, the real show-stopper is the outdoor terrace offering spectacular views of Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River from the 22nd floor. Just in case the reservation-only rooftop lounge isn’t exclusive enough, guests can also reserve a truly unique space in the building’s restored temple-like cupola on the 23rd level for $1000.
- Downtown's Much-Anticipated LondonHouse Hotel Opens to the Public [Curbed Chicago]
- Check Out the View From the Top of the New LondonHouse Hotel [Curbed Chicago]
- Chicago Hotels Archive [Curbed Chicago]