We always recommend the Loop as the best place to stay in Chicago. Why? Because it's close to nearly every CTA El line, it's just a quick walk to the best Chicago museums, the Willis Tower is right there, the river is close so you can easily jump on a boat tour, and gorgeous Chicago parks like Millennium Park and Grant Park are closeby. There are plenty of Chicago restaurants in the area, but for the trendiest of the city's eateries, head to River North or the West Loop. Luckily, those neighborhoods are just a couple of El stops or a short bus ride away. Here are the best downtown Chicago hotels to take advantage of the best of the city.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to the Chicago Loop
Downtown Chicago hotels: Loop
A feeling a refined romance pervades in these cushy digs: oversized bathroom, seperate dressing rooms, fluffy robes and in-room spa services complete with Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. From standards to suites, all 687 rooms offer ample space and an organic, modern feel, but if you sign up for the Gold floor, you'll also gain access to a private lobby. At the end of the evening, settle down in the lobby's wine, chocolate and cheese lounge, the Eno Wine Room, for a nightcap.
With Beatles in the bathrooms and Madonna in the corridors, there’s little doubt about this hotel’s theme. The rock and roll aspect is toned down in the guestrooms, where amenities include flat-screen TVs and a selection of Aveda toiletries. The hotel occupies the beautiful 40-story Carbide & Carbon Building, an art deco superstar built in 1929 by sons of famed architect Daniel Burnham.
The Blake is housed in the recently renovated former 19th-century headquarters of the Morton Salt Company. Located in the heart of Printers Row, the hotel's historic exterior belies the chic, contemporary digs that lie within its walls. A 24-hour complimentary business center and fitness room are just a few of the attractions.
This Loop hotel, on the National Register of Historic Places and built in 1895, morphed from the Reliance Building into the Hotel Burnham in 1999. Designed by famed architect Daniel Burnham, along with Charles Atwood and John Root, the building still features the original ornate grillwork on the elevators. Perfect for visiting architecture buffs.
So much is historic about this hotel. Less than two weeks after its 1871 opening, the Palmer House burned to the ground in the Chicago Fire. Just two years later, it was up and running, making it the longest continuously operating hotel in America. The opulent Beaux Arts lobby showcases museum-worthy frescoes and displays a mural by 19th-century artist Louis Pierre Rigal. Even the brownies are inspired by history, made with a recipe invented by the hotel chef in 1893.
This gorgeous hotel, first opened in 1910, has had an intriguing run so far. Many U.S. Presidents have stayed there (including Teddy Roosevelt), it was a favorite hangout of Al Capone and his cronies, and Maharishi Yogi, the Beatles' personal guru, once owned the building. Now it's simply one of the most beautiful hotels in the Loop and a favorite for bands playing at the nearby Lollapalooza music festival in August. Don't miss the attached Spanish small-plates restaurant, Mercat a la Planxa.
This 144-room boutique hotel on Jewelers Row is an architectural gem. The late 19th-century Arts and Crafts style is evident outside and in, with wrought-iron pieces adding accents to the comfortable (if slightly dated) decorations in each room. Guests can get their sweet fix during the complimentary dessert hour.
The new Virgin Hotel is a dream hotel for people into design and technology, with an app to control the room temperature, a pour-over coffee setup in each room and a Tesla to give free rides to guests. The rooms themselves are sleek, with Smeg refrigerators, swiveling desks and a bedroom/lounge, a bathroom/dressing room, and, if you have a suite, an extra room with a couch and a second TV. The bed is pretty comfortable and had a padded backrest at one corner of the foot of the bed. The press release about the hotel said the bed “functions as a playpen and traditional bed," so interpret that as you'd like.