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Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

Hotel fireplaces

No fireplace at home? Cozy up to the hearth at one of these hotel lobbies.


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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