As travelers flock to the Windy City in record numbers, the properties keep upping their game.
Maybe it’s because the Cubs finally won the World Series, or the fact that it’s Obama’s hometown: Chicago is red hot right now. Last year, more than 54 million people visited the city, an all time record. To keep up with the demand, several new luxury hotels have opened — and many of the established properties underwent multimillion-dollar renovations to stay competitive.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Hotels were classified as City or Resort based on their locations and amenities.
Our readers recognized the Peninsula, this year’s World’s Best winner in Chicago, for its extensive room renovations, which were completed in 2016. Guests now use tablets to control everything from the air-conditioning to the television. “The level of service is above and beyond,” said one reader. “Rooms are spacious, comfortable, and offer the latest technology at your fingertips.” The hotel has also added a few new perks like the “Keys to the City” program, which gives each guest access to unique experiences around Chicago — think exclusive kitchen tours at Michelin-starred restaurants like Grace.
The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, another hotel topping this year’s list, was featured on our It List in 2016. The property impresses with its attention to design and history; the Venetian Gothic clubhouse was built in 1893, and much of that retro feel was either preserved or re-created by interiors firm Roman & Williams. (For example, guests get boxing-style robes.) “They have super nice rooms, and I love that the original ‘gym’ look was kept. Plus, Shake Shack is in the main lobby,” said one reader. Like the CAA, another newcomer to the list, the Virgin, stood out for its social spaces: the Commons Club bar (a great place for cocktails) and the speakeasy Upstairs. For the full list of the best hotels in Chicago, scroll down.