Five-star luxury accommodations are nice, but they aren’t a prerequisite for a successful city getaway. In Chicago, affordable lodgings abound—and are not limited to sketchy motels near the airport. Savvy budget travelers are experts at scouting out the spots that offer maximum creature comforts at the lowest cost. There is always detective work involved to make sure it covers the basic necessities: How far is it from public transportation? How recently were the rooms updated? And perhaps most important, is there free coffee and wifi? Happily, despite the many high-end indulgences found in the Windy City, Chicago also has plenty of high-quality affordable hotels. Some are unique boutique hotels, and others reliable brand names. Here are some best bets for lower priced spots— conveniently located in downtown Chicago, or close to major attractions, restaurants and shopping. To boost your savings, don’t forget to check the hotels’ web sites for promotions and special deals.
Daniel Burnham’s Reliance Building, dating back to 1895, is one of the country’s first skyscrapers. This national historic landmark turned boutique hotel capitalizes on its status with classic features that exude Old World charm. Spacious rooms are outfitted with mahogany writing desks, damask drapes and velvet upholstery. Perks include a complimentary happy hour.
This River North hotel is all about Zen ambience. The lobby, done up with earth tones, a sleek fireplace and white quartz walls, has minimalist appeal, and that vibe extends to the rooms, with eco-chic design elements and “sustainable” art made from recycled materials. Flat-screen TVs, high-end bedding, free wifi and upscale L’Occitane products more than compensate for the petite rooms and bathrooms.
Doubletree Magnificent Mile
Located in the center of the Magnificent Mile, standard rooms are contemporary and bright, with 27-inch flat screen TVs, an in-room coffee maker and floor-to-ceiling windows to showcase the skyline. Beds are plush— boasting the chain’s signature Sweet Dreams Sleep Experience bedding—and king rooms offer a sleeper sofa. The big-city bonus: an outdoor, rooftop pool.
The Wit by Doubletree
Location, location, location. Set in the heart of the Loop, this stylish boutique hotel is the gateway to downtown Chicago. Rooms are spacious, bright and modern with plush bedding, 42-inch TVs and a spa-worthy bathroom. The highlight: The trendy rooftop lounge with excellent skyline views. You can use your Hilton points here, too.
Hipsters unite at this trendy hotel that promises to “blow your mind, not your wallet.” Rooms are modern with Serta mattresses and spa-inspired bathrooms. High-tech perks such as Mac-friendly and PC-compatible hook-ups, superfast wifi and a free Google Glass program, to enhance your viewing of the city, are a bonus.