From shopping the dazzling Magnificent Mile, to ice skating in Millennium Park, there’s plenty do in Chicago during the holidays. But at the end of the day, when you need a spot to rest your weary feet and warm your hands, don’t settle for something dull. Check into one of these five new—or improved—downtown hotels.
The Inn at Longman & Eagle
Perfect for: Foodies
The allure: Exposed-brick walls, reclaimed-wood furniture, and Apple TVs make this six-room urban retreat in the up-and-coming Logan Square neighborhood a major draw for hipsters more interested in chilling out than hitting up Barney’s. The inn’s Michelin star gastro-pub also happens to be the restaurant of the moment—and one of Esquire’s best bars in America.
Drink this: The 38 artisanal whiskeys and re-imagined classic cocktails are as much a revelation as the chanterelle agnolotti with crispy chicken skin.
Details: Rooms from $75; 2657 N. Kedzie Ave., 773-276-7110, longmanandeagle.com
Perfect for: The rich and famous
The allure: Park Avenue meets 1920s Paris at this impossibly posh hotel. They’ve thought of everything to make the Elysian feel like a private penthouse: the staff don’t wear name tags, the rooms have door bells, and there’s not a sign or advertisement in sight. Plus, the cobblestone turnaround drive is heated so your feet never have to slosh through snow.
You simply must: Spend a day at the ultra-luxe, Grecian-inspired spa, where services change with the season and lunch is served poolside at your chaise lounge.
Details: Rooms from $395; 11 E. Walton St., 312-646-1300, elysianhotels.com
The James Chicago
Perfect for: Trendsetters
The allure: Like its wildly popular sister hotel in SoHo, the James strikes the right balance between luxurious and unaffected. In other words, this is where the cool people stay. To mark its five-year anniversary this fall, the James got an au naturel facelift: repurposed and hand-crafted furniture, a partnership with Minneapolis-based organic beauty company Intelligent Nutrients, and other environmentally minded details like triple-filtered tap water.
Picture this: In conjunction with the big-name galleries and the Art Institute of Chicago, the James maintains an impressive collection of modern local art.
Details: Rooms from $250; 55 E. Ontario St., 312-337-1000, jameshotels.com
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel
Perfect for: Architecture aficionados
The allure: Radisson’s new contemporary concept makes its stateside debut on November 1. Set within the futuristic Aqua Tower, the hotel’s all-white, wave-like exterior is hard to miss, even in a city of skyscrapers. Guests can choose from two room styles: the modern “Mansion House” or the “Naturally Cool,” a nod to Scandinavian design with it mix of white and wood details.
Design notes: Aqua Tower is the world’s largest skyscraper designed by a woman, environmentally conscious architect Jeanne Gang. Swedish designer Christian Lundwall created the room interiors.
Details: Rooms from $250; 221 N. Columbus Dr., 312-565-5258, radissonblu.com
Perfect for: History buffs
The allure: The nation’s oldest continually operating hotel has been a crown jewel of Chicago since 1871. A $170 million renovation updated the rooms and restored the ornate ballroom and grand lobby to museum-like quality. The massive, marble common area is at its best when swathed in twinkling lights and lavish holiday décor.
Don’t miss: The enthralling History is Hott tour, which includes the story of the hotel’s visionary founder, Potter Palmer, and his socialite wife, Bertha—a powerhouse couple behind some of the country’s most remarkable inventions.
The details: Rooms from $159; 17 E. Monroe St., 312-726-7500, palmerhousehiltonhotel.com