When travelling to an urban center like Chicago, a boutique hotel can be an attractive proposition. These “lifestyle” oriented hotels offer business and leisure travelers a chic alternative to a corporate, cookie-cutter type experience: They're smaller in scale, more intimate in feel, and almost always have an eclectic point of view, such as mod furnishings, edgy art and buzzy restaurants and bars. But sometimes, there’s a catch: Hip should not mean disagreeable. When searching for lodgings that boast one-of-a-kind verve, you need not sacrifice comfort for trendiness. Indeed, the best boutique properties are an effortless balance of indie spirit, impressive design and creature comforts, such as high-thread-count sheets, good food or evening wine tastings in the lobby. The cool factor, in short, must be matched by standout service. Happily, the Windy City is home to a wide range of boutique hotels celebrated for both their attention to detail and their prime downtown location.
The Wit by Doubletree , The Loop
This high-energy, artsy boutique hotel has it all: spacious, bright rooms with a view; state-of-the- art technology; plush bedding and a spa-inspired bathroom stocked with amenities. But the 27th floor indoor/outdoor lounge is the highlight. It’s a cocktail hot spot with sweeping vistas of the city.
Acme Hotel, River North
Calling all hipsters: For a trendy getaway that won’t level your wallet, check into the Acme. Classic rooms are fine, but you should try to spring for the King Suite. Its hardwood floors, separate “chill out” area, city views, 300-thread-count sheets, Serta mattress and spa-inspired bathrooms will not disappoint.
The Godfrey, River North
Inspired by Cubism, Chicago’s newest boutique hotel is sleek and chic with spacious rooms, luxury linens, 46-inch LED TVs and state-of-the-art bathrooms. But the glammy rooftop lounge is the star of this hotel: Open year round, the IO Urban Roofscape features art deco sofas, fire pits, cabanas and uninterrupted skyline views.
Hotel Lincoln, Lincoln Park
Stylish—and situated smack in the middle of Lincoln Park—Hotel Lincoln profits from its prime location. The lobby and rooms are charmingly retro, giving a nod to the building’s Prohibition-era past (Al Capone operated a speakeasy on site). The rooftop bar dazzles with sweeping views of Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park and the Zoo.
The Public, Gold Coast
Hotelier Ian Schrager knows glamour, and The Public is a re-imagined Gold Coast hotspot—an au courant transformation of the historic see-and-be-seen Ambassador East Hotel. Rooms are achingly sophisticated, with a “no color” color scheme, Frette linens, down bedding, Giacometti-inspired desks and marble mosaic bathrooms with Corian sinks.