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Hotel fireplaces

No fireplace at home? Cozy up to the hearth at one of these hotel lobbies.
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki
By Madeline Nusser |

Hotel Burnham
After falling on hard times, this gorgeous 1895 building (named after its architect, Daniel Burnham) was acquired by Klimpton Hotels, which, in a dramatic 1999 rehab, restored the mosaic floors, marble ceilings and ornamental metal elevator grills back to their gilded-age splendor. The tiny lobby has modern, cozy touches that make snuggling up to the traditional, fireplace with a hot toddy ($10) from the hotel’s Atwood Café a pleasant way to while away happy hour. Better yet, on Dec 4 and 11 at 11am, members of Joffrey Ballet and Goodman Theatre station themselves near the hearth and read classic Christmas books while you beat the cold with a free mug of hot chocolate. 1 W Washington St (312-782-1111, Atwood Café bar open daily 7am–10pm.

JW Marriot Chicago
As busy 9-to-5ers, we’re hoping to spark a new trend: breakfast dates (hey, everyone’s doing it in New York City). This Loop hotel—with a brand new lobby that hasn’t yet acquired a stale-airplane smell—might encourage you to try it. The Lounge at JW Marriot offers Illy coffee, pastries baked on the spot and a bloody mary ($13) that you can happily consume at tables in front of the roaring flames in the fireplace. For you evening types, finger food, including flatbreads ($9) and a local cheese selection ($12), and a glass of wine ($12–$22) always go well fireside. 208 S La Salle St (312-660-8200, Illy Café open daily 6am–midnight.

Ambassador East
We felt shammed when the Pump Room announced its last night of live music, yet never closed. Still, we’re happy to grab a drink from its bar and snag a seat near the hotel lobby fireplace, flanked by wood-paneled walls. The roomy yet secluded lobby is the perfect place to relax at the end of a night out. 1301 N State Pkwy (Note: This is now the Public, Bar open Mon–Thu 5pm–11pm; Fri, Sat 5pm–1am.

This trendy hotel has no shortage of drinking spots, including its tapas resto, Mercat a la Planxa, and downstairs bar. Duck away from the action at the lobby fireplace—an old-timey marble hearth filled with giant candles. Sit on the cushy gold couch and sip a warm drink, such as the Hot Buttered Calabaza—Hennessy, smoked maple pumpkin butter, sweet cream and spices ($10). Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel, 636 S Michigan Ave (312-447-0955, Mercat opens at 5pm and the Lounge opens at 3pm. Both close Sunday–Thursday 11pm and Friday, Saturday midnight.

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