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Updating the 18 Most Essential Chicago Hotels Guide

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Behold, the latest and greatest edition of Curbed's Hotel 18, a guide that helps answer the ultimate question Chicago visitors, business travelers and local residents have when planning a trip or staycation in the Windy City: "Where should I stay in Chicago?" Our guide attempts to balance out the new with the old, the pricey versus the affordable, but one thing they all must share is offering their guests a true Chicago experience. Also, it's important to keep in mind that the hotels are listed in no particular order.

For the latest edition, we've only made slight adjustments, but the newest and most notable entry to the list is the West Loop's Soho House. Hotel Lincoln and The Drake rejoin the list, bumping theWit, the Warwick Allerton and the Fairfield at Millennium Park off.

The city has some very exciting new hotels in the pipeline that will completely change the hospitality landscape in Chicago. The much anticipated Virgin Hotel was slated to open this year, however, it is now targeting an early 2015 opening. Other highly anticipated hotel offerings include the Ace Hotel and Nobu Hotel, both being planned for the West Loop, historic tower conversions that include the London Guarantee Building, the Chicago Athletic Association and Wicker Park's Northwest Tower, among several others. The area surrounding McCormick Place will also be delivering hundreds of new hotel rooms within the next couple of years.


·Introducing Chicago's 18 Essential Hotels Guide For 2014 [Curbed Chicago]
·Resetting the Hotel 18, Our Guide to Essential Chicago Hotels [Curbed Chicago]

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1. Soho House Chicago

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113 N. Green Street
Chicago, IL 60607

The West Loop's Soho House was this year's media darling as it was one the city's most anticipated hotel openings. The hotel is located in a former factory and blends modern luxury with old school Chicago industrial charm and has helped continue laying the groundwork for bringing more high-end boutique hotels to the Chicago neighborhoods.

2. Godfrey Hotel

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127 W Huron St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 649-2000
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The long anticipated Valerio DeWalt Train designed Godfrey Hotel is one of the latest entries to River North's booming hotel scene. The ultra trendy cubist-inspired Godfrey sports 221 brand new custom furnished rooms and is also the home of the indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge IO Urban Roofscape.

3. Kinzie Hotel

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20 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 395-9000
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The spiritual successor to The Amalfi Hotel, the Kinzie represents a complete conceptual and physical overhaul of its predecessor. The "new" boutique hotel pays homage to Chicago history and culture through its custom Windy City inspired interior decor, art and furnishings.

4. PUBLIC Chicago

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1301 N State Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 787-3700
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The PUBLIC Chicago utterly oozes coolness. The brainchild of Ian Schrager, co-founder and former co-owner of the iconic disco-era nightclub Studio 54, this super contemporary Gold Coast offering is rather hip, but not overly pretentious. A departure from its previous life as the Ambassador East Hotel, PUBLIC Chicago still remains the home to the famed Pump Room bar and restaurant.

5. Thompson Chicago

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21 E Bellevue PL
Chicago, IL

The Thompson Chicago is another fan favorite and expert panel approved hotel famous for its super cool aesthetics and decor. A Gold Coast "lifestyle" boutique hotel, the Thompson has recently nabbed a spot on Travel + Leisure's It List of Best New Hotels for 2014.

6. Dana Hotel & Spa

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660 North State Street
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 202-6000
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A consistent fan favorite, the Dana Hotel & Spa makes another appearance on our list of essential Chicago hotels for combining its boutique hotel room offerings with luxurious zen-like pampering. Slightly austere yet inviting, the Spa at Dana is serious about relaxation and wellness.

7. Hotel Lincoln

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1816 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 254-4700
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Located in the heart of Lincoln Park, the Hotel Lincoln is a trendy spot that predates the plethora of new hotels that are following the formula of featuring custom made furniture, artwork from local artists and the historic Chicago theme. It also has a really great rooftop space.

8. ACME Hotel Company

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15 E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 894-0800
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The ultra hip ACME Hotel represents a departure from other touristy, high-business and generally bland chain offerings in River North. Although its rooms fall on the smaller side (roughly 200 square feet) of the scale, the hotel makes up for it through its unique amenities and packages, like the complementary use of Google Glass while exploring the city (for up to two hours).

9. Hilton Chicago

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720 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-4400
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The gargantuan Hilton Chicago opened in 1927 boasts a whopping 1,544 rooms and overlooks Grant Park. The hotel is famous for being a favorite of US Presidents, and making cameo appearances in many popular Chicago-based movies including Road to Perdition, U.S. Marshals, My Best Friend's Wedding and The Fugitive.

10. Palmer House Hilton

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17 E Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 726-7500
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Host to one of the most beautiful hotel lobbies in the city, the meticulously preserved Palmer House is a Chicago icon and the second largest hotel in the Windy City. The utterly palatial landmark hotel was founded by early department store magnate Palmer Potter in the late 19th century but purchased by hotelier Conrad Hilton in 1945.

11. The James Chicago

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55 E Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 337-1000
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A luxury gem off the Magnificent Mile, the James Chicago is a popular destination for travelers and locals alike who appreciate a true boutique hotel without the stuffiness. The 297 room hotel has received numerous awards including accolades for its David Burke’s Primehouse restaurant.

12. The Drake Hotel

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140 E Walton Pl
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 787-2200
Visit Website

The Drake is a Chicago institution and has been welcoming guests to the city since the 1920s. The Drake was known for being the hotel where guests on the Oprah Winfrey Show would stay. Oprah is long gone, but The Drake is still around, and will continue to stick around for the foreseeable future.

13. Hotel Burnham

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1 W Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 782-1111
Visit Website

Initially designed by John Root of Daniel Burnham's architectural outift, and completed by Charles Atwood in 1895, the Reliance Building is a shining representation of the early skyscrapers that made the Chicago School of architecture world famous. Holding nearly every landmark designation under the sun, the building was restored in the late 90s and reborn as the Hotel Burnham in 1999. This unique hotel is an absolute must visit for architecture and history buffs.

14. The Langham, Chicago

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330 North Wabash
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 923-9988
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A mainstay of Chicago's five star circuit, the Langham is not only a fan favorite, but also recommended by many on our expert panel and ranked #1 on Tripadviser's Chicago hotels list. Expect five star accommodations, service and prices. A weekend stay at the primo spot can easily cost as much as a month's rent for many Chicagoans.

15. Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

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401 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 644-0900
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As polarizing as The Donald is, most Chicagoans can agree that the Trump International Hotel and Tower is one of the most exciting architectural works of recent years. The five star hotel also boasts a Michelin-rated restaurant and a primo location along the Chicago River near popular tourist destinations and Mag Mile shopping.

16. The Peninsula Hotel

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108 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 337-2888
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Described as "effortlessly elegant" by one of our expert panelists, the Peninsula Hotel is a true super luxe five star, five diamond hotel with a highly lauded spa and restaurant offerings. Running with a "Far East meets Midwest" theme and located along the Magnificent Mile, the Peninsula is a favorite spot for celebrities and others who can afford to drop the serious coinage required to stay at the superior spot.

17. Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel

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221 N Columbus Dr
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 565-5258

A popular spot for tourists and business travelers alike, the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel is housed in the award-winning Jeanne Gang designed Aqua skyscraper. Although its guest rooms may not be as exciting as other nearby options, the hotel is surprisingly affordable considering its New East Side location, lake views and proximity to shopping and other popular tourist destinations.

18. Waldorf Astoria Chicago

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11 E Walton St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 646-1300
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The final super luxe on our list, the Waldorf Astoria Chicago holds its own among the finest hotels in North America with an incredibly long list of accolades, being named the best hotel in Chicago last year by Travel & Leisure and U.S. News & World Report. The hotel has also recently tapped chef and culinary virtuoso Brendan Sodikoff to head up its entire food and beverage program, including the menu of its lauded restaurant, Balsan.

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1. Soho House Chicago

113 N. Green Street, Chicago, IL 60607

The West Loop's Soho House was this year's media darling as it was one the city's most anticipated hotel openings. The hotel is located in a former factory and blends modern luxury with old school Chicago industrial charm and has helped continue laying the groundwork for bringing more high-end boutique hotels to the Chicago neighborhoods.

113 N. Green Street
Chicago, IL 60607

2. Godfrey Hotel

127 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654

The long anticipated Valerio DeWalt Train designed Godfrey Hotel is one of the latest entries to River North's booming hotel scene. The ultra trendy cubist-inspired Godfrey sports 221 brand new custom furnished rooms and is also the home of the indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge IO Urban Roofscape.

127 W Huron St
Chicago, IL 60654

3. Kinzie Hotel

20 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654

The spiritual successor to The Amalfi Hotel, the Kinzie represents a complete conceptual and physical overhaul of its predecessor. The "new" boutique hotel pays homage to Chicago history and culture through its custom Windy City inspired interior decor, art and furnishings.

20 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654

4. PUBLIC Chicago

1301 N State Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60610

The PUBLIC Chicago utterly oozes coolness. The brainchild of Ian Schrager, co-founder and former co-owner of the iconic disco-era nightclub Studio 54, this super contemporary Gold Coast offering is rather hip, but not overly pretentious. A departure from its previous life as the Ambassador East Hotel, PUBLIC Chicago still remains the home to the famed Pump Room bar and restaurant.

1301 N State Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60610

5. Thompson Chicago

21 E Bellevue PL, Chicago, IL

The Thompson Chicago is another fan favorite and expert panel approved hotel famous for its super cool aesthetics and decor. A Gold Coast "lifestyle" boutique hotel, the Thompson has recently nabbed a spot on Travel + Leisure's It List of Best New Hotels for 2014.

21 E Bellevue PL
Chicago, IL

6. Dana Hotel & Spa

660 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

A consistent fan favorite, the Dana Hotel & Spa makes another appearance on our list of essential Chicago hotels for combining its boutique hotel room offerings with luxurious zen-like pampering. Slightly austere yet inviting, the Spa at Dana is serious about relaxation and wellness.

660 North State Street
Chicago, IL 60654

7. Hotel Lincoln

1816 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

Located in the heart of Lincoln Park, the Hotel Lincoln is a trendy spot that predates the plethora of new hotels that are following the formula of featuring custom made furniture, artwork from local artists and the historic Chicago theme. It also has a really great rooftop space.

1816 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614

8. ACME Hotel Company

15 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

The ultra hip ACME Hotel represents a departure from other touristy, high-business and generally bland chain offerings in River North. Although its rooms fall on the smaller side (roughly 200 square feet) of the scale, the hotel makes up for it through its unique amenities and packages, like the complementary use of Google Glass while exploring the city (for up to two hours).

15 E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 60611

9. Hilton Chicago

720 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

The gargantuan Hilton Chicago opened in 1927 boasts a whopping 1,544 rooms and overlooks Grant Park. The hotel is famous for being a favorite of US Presidents, and making cameo appearances in many popular Chicago-based movies including Road to Perdition, U.S. Marshals, My Best Friend's Wedding and The Fugitive.

720 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

10. Palmer House Hilton

17 E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603

Host to one of the most beautiful hotel lobbies in the city, the meticulously preserved Palmer House is a Chicago icon and the second largest hotel in the Windy City. The utterly palatial landmark hotel was founded by early department store magnate Palmer Potter in the late 19th century but purchased by hotelier Conrad Hilton in 1945.

17 E Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60603

11. The James Chicago

55 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611

A luxury gem off the Magnificent Mile, the James Chicago is a popular destination for travelers and locals alike who appreciate a true boutique hotel without the stuffiness. The 297 room hotel has received numerous awards including accolades for its David Burke’s Primehouse restaurant.

55 E Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60611

12. The Drake Hotel

140 E Walton Pl, Chicago, IL 60611

The Drake is a Chicago institution and has been welcoming guests to the city since the 1920s. The Drake was known for being the hotel where guests on the Oprah Winfrey Show would stay. Oprah is long gone, but The Drake is still around, and will continue to stick around for the foreseeable future.

140 E Walton Pl
Chicago, IL 60611

13. Hotel Burnham

1 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

Initially designed by John Root of Daniel Burnham's architectural outift, and completed by Charles Atwood in 1895, the Reliance Building is a shining representation of the early skyscrapers that made the Chicago School of architecture world famous. Holding nearly every landmark designation under the sun, the building was restored in the late 90s and reborn as the Hotel Burnham in 1999. This unique hotel is an absolute must visit for architecture and history buffs.

1 W Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602

14. The Langham, Chicago

330 North Wabash, Chicago, IL 60611

A mainstay of Chicago's five star circuit, the Langham is not only a fan favorite, but also recommended by many on our expert panel and ranked #1 on Tripadviser's Chicago hotels list. Expect five star accommodations, service and prices. A weekend stay at the primo spot can easily cost as much as a month's rent for many Chicagoans.

330 North Wabash
Chicago, IL 60611

15. Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

401 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

As polarizing as The Donald is, most Chicagoans can agree that the Trump International Hotel and Tower is one of the most exciting architectural works of recent years. The five star hotel also boasts a Michelin-rated restaurant and a primo location along the Chicago River near popular tourist destinations and Mag Mile shopping.

401 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

16. The Peninsula Hotel

108 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611

Described as "effortlessly elegant" by one of our expert panelists, the Peninsula Hotel is a true super luxe five star, five diamond hotel with a highly lauded spa and restaurant offerings. Running with a "Far East meets Midwest" theme and located along the Magnificent Mile, the Peninsula is a favorite spot for celebrities and others who can afford to drop the serious coinage required to stay at the superior spot.

108 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611

17. Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel

221 N Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

A popular spot for tourists and business travelers alike, the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel is housed in the award-winning Jeanne Gang designed Aqua skyscraper. Although its guest rooms may not be as exciting as other nearby options, the hotel is surprisingly affordable considering its New East Side location, lake views and proximity to shopping and other popular tourist destinations.

221 N Columbus Dr
Chicago, IL 60601

18. Waldorf Astoria Chicago

11 E Walton St, Chicago, IL 60611

The final super luxe on our list, the Waldorf Astoria Chicago holds its own among the finest hotels in North America with an incredibly long list of accolades, being named the best hotel in Chicago last year by Travel & Leisure and U.S. News & World Report. The hotel has also recently tapped chef and culinary virtuoso Brendan Sodikoff to head up its entire food and beverage program, including the menu of its lauded restaurant, Balsan.

11 E Walton St
Chicago, IL 60611