Chicago is a city with a lot of history and, as we learned on our most recent visit there, it’s a city that has gone through impressive lengths to preserve that history through its buildings. Modern architecture is at the core of Chicago’s identity: ravaged by fire in 1871, the city found new life through more thoughtful planning, new technology, forward-thinking design, and the some of the world’s tallest buildings at the time. It was actually in Chicago that the world’s first skyscraper was erected: the 10-storey Home Insurance Company, designed by William Le Baron Jenney, and completed in 1884.
Spend just a few minutes in Chicago’s city center and it’s easy to see why architecture is such a big deal here. Surrounded by towering, majestic buildings, it almost feels as though you’ve stepped back in time. Inside, you’ll find department stores, restaurants, and hotels that have adapted to fit the spaces that they occupy – and a great example of this is the W Chicago City Center, a trendy hotel located in the Chicago Loop and within walking distance of many of the major tourist attractions.
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The W Chicago City Center is of course part of the W Hotels family, a hip, lifestyle-focused brand that will appeal to millennial travellers – such as ourselves – who want to relax and play on their travels. Style, fashion, art, and the social aspect of travel all come together in a beautiful way at the W. The W Hong Kong is one of my favourite hotels in the world, so I was excited for this stay. There are actually two W Hotels in Chicago (the other one being down by Navy Pier) but the central location of W Chicago City Center was perfect for us.
The lobby, which doubles as a lounge, is playful and eccentric: you’ll find giant lamps, alarm clocks, and functioning disco balls here, and yet they seem to fit right in with the marble pillars and grand archways that were a part of the original lobby design many years ago. It’s the perfect space to grab a drink with friends before heading out on a nighttime adventure.
Our room was surprisingly spacious given how precious real estate tends to be in the center of any city. All the features of a W Hotel are present here: from the plush mattress with pillows that literally engulf your head, to Bliss Lemon + Sage bath and body products. Even the scent of the hotel has been standardized – an invigorating citrus mix that really elevates your mood. The W experience is fresh, fun, and familiar, and offered great value considering the location – very important for us on this trip, since we had plans to visit all the major tourist attractions.
Aside from the expected fitness (without pool or sauna) and business centers, there weren’t many other amenities at this particular hotel. However, we do need to give a special shoutout to IPO Restaurant, located within the hotel. As a Starwood Platinum member, one of my perks was a complimentary allowance for breakfast in the morning. IPO offered great service and one of the most delicious (and Instagrammable) plates I’ve seen yet. Check out these Nutella pancakes!
There are a lot of hotels in Chicago, each with their own unique charms and offerings. But the W Chicago City Center was perfect for this trip, our first time in The Windy City. If you’re looking for an hip, clean, upscale hotel that is reasonably priced, within walking distance to the major attractions and shopping in the Chicago Loop, and offers access to an incredible loyalty program, the W Chicago City Center is a place to checkout… and check in!
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