What are the best hotels in Chicago?

Answers from Our Experts (12)

You won't be at a loss for top-tier places to stay during a visit to Chicago, which is home to some of  the world's best hotels.

Don't be surprised if the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Chicago has a file on you. The staff meets every morning to go over who's arriving that day and what they might need, whether it's something you requested prior to your visit or something it may know by scrolling through its huge database of guests. It's this flawless service that makes a stay here feel exquisitely relaxing. It also doesn't hurt that the hotel is just steps from the city's best shopping.

Steps away is The Peninsula Chicago, which mixes Old World opulence with Asian-influenced style. The Five-Star hotel's graceful service befits the dignified atmosphere of this gem. But The Peninsula's crown jewels are also its most delicious. Shanghai Terrace serves inhalable Asian-inspired fare and cocktails, The Lobby offers American fare and a decadent chocolate bar, and Pierrot Gourmet is a sunny breakfast and brunch spot.

You might be confused when you walk into Five-Star Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago. Is it a hotel? Is it a condo building? It's both, and the understated but upscale lobby is a precursor to everything this well-done hotel has to offer: A sophisticated but relaxed lounge; Sixteen, a gorgeous Five-Star fine-dining restaurant; lavish rooms where every detail has been taken into consideration (down to Sub-Zero refrigerators); and amazing views from everywhere.

Inside the National Register of Historic Places-designated building that houses Five-Star The Langham, Chicago, you can see nods to the building’s heritage — large, elegant guest rooms have subtle bronze accents while gorgeous travertine tiles are found in bathrooms and in public spaces. But the 12-floor property also makes it a point to keep its eye on the modern traveler’s needs with 55-inch TVs, rainfall showers and seasonal American cuisine at Travelle Kitchen + Bar.

Located high atop Water Tower Place along Michigan Avenue, Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, A Four Seasons Hotel underwent a major renovation in 2010, giving rooms a sophisticated and modern makeover. The Deca restaurant on the 12th floor is a chic place for cocktails and bistro fare.

The Four-Star Waldorf Astoria Chicago is adorned with chandeliers inspired by Coco Chanel's jewelry and features only 10 rooms per floor, which include fireplaces, terraces, and white Carrera marble bathrooms. The elegant Parisian-style building has a cobblestone motor court, a Greek-columned spa, a handsome bar and a solid restaurant, Balsan.

With its cherry-wood design and gold and mocha accents, the Four-Star Park Hyatt Chicago is a prime choice for a striking stay in Chicago. Anything you could need is a question away with the hotel's butler service, and oversized tubs and room views of the Windy City's famous skyline and Lake Michigan guarantee a fair share of relaxation and beauty during your stay.

I love The Peninsula. I think it’s done an amazing job of the elegant refinement of an extremely Asian-cultured hotel, as far as the look, feel and level of service. But it’s really embraced the city. I think that’s remarkable.

I love The Drake, just as far as a step back in time. When you go to the Palm Court for afternoon tea, it’s the same level of experience of what’s been going on for years. It’s kind of neat to see the depth of all of the Gold Coasters who have been going there for decades. It’s a fun experience.

Four Seasons Chicago is an absolutely beautiful hotel, and Kevin Hickey has the executive chef for the last several years. As a hotel chef, he was embracing buying as much food locally as possible before it was cool. He continues to lead it, but he was doing it a long time ago because he thought it was the right thing to do versus “Well, this is a great trend and marketing angle and everything like that.” I have a lot of respect for that hotel for being able to maintain a chef of his caliber and connections and for using local food and produce for so long.

I think Public is awesome. It has really great rooms, it’s a beautiful place and they have a funky little room service. I really like it. If you’re going to do something really nice then go for The Peninsula — I like it the best. Whenever we have people come into town and we want them to be close to the office, we have them stay at Ruby Room. Ruby Room is kind of a cute, quirky little spot. It’s great if you don’t need full service and you just kind of want to be in the Wicker Park area.

Waldorf Astoria Chicago, which used to be The Elysian, is such a cool hotel. From the entrance, that big open European entrance way, to the really interesting design on the inside to the great restaurants and the cool little bar inside of it. I love it.

I’m a big fan of the Park Hyatt, always have been. I occasionally take a staycation there. Then The Peninsula and the Trump — love them, too.

The Peninsula is beautiful; it’s one of the best in the country. I love the Trump. The view there on the river from the restaurant in the hotel is outstanding. It’s very nice — one of the best places to stay. The Park Hyatt, great location, good restaurant, NoMI, stylish. You’re at Water Tower Place — the location couldn’t be better.

I visit the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago a lot and I really like the concierge there. I’m always talking to them about the restaurants. I like what Kevin Hickey, the chef, has done there. The new lobby is so much more casual and fun. A lot of times when we have visiting chefs, we’ll put them up there. It’s just around the corner from Spiaggia. It’s classic.

One of my favorite Chicago hotels is Waldorf Astoria Chicago, which was formerly The Elysian. I also love The Peninsula Chicago and the Park Hyatt Chicago hotel.

We have The Peninsula, which I think is great. Our Park Hyatt is awesome. They have a really fantastic outdoor lounge as well, where you can go sit on the patio and be a tourist in your own city. The Trump — extraordinary views from The Trump. They have that outdoor patio that overlooks the Wrigley Building and it’s just extraordinary. It’s a beautiful hotel, absolutely beautiful, and if you can snag one of those outdoor patio [seats]. Chicago is all about being outdoors because you’re just locked away [during the winter], so when you get to go outside, it’s awesome.

Then you have our tried and true. The Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, we have some awesome hotels here. The Elysian — now it’s the Waldorf — is another beautiful property. There’s a great bar at the Waldorf called Bernard’s Bar, and it’s not too far away from our house. It’s sort of undiscovered; but it’s a small, beautiful walnut-lined bar with leather walls and beautiful white marble. We like to go in there and play tourist in our own city and have a little nightcap or a drink. It’s a little bit more sophisticated. You go in there, and it’s quiet and tucked away. It’s awesome.

I haven’t stayed at too many in Chicago. Hotel Lincoln is probably the only one that I’ve stayed at in Chicago in years. It’s cool; it’s kind of like the Ace Hotel in style. The rooftop bar is fun — I had my engagement party there.

Right down the street from our Three Dots and a Dash tiki bar is Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar. It’s great — the restaurant and bar are good. I think the location is great. It’s not on Michigan Avenue, but it’s close to Michigan Avenue. It’s around all the restaurants, and a lot of the bars around there that get really crazy on the weekends.

One night I had to stay at the InterContinental because there was a blizzard, and I couldn’t get home — that was pretty nice. I would imagine that the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago is awesome here because they’re awesome everywhere. There’s also a little inn connected to a restaurant that has quite a bit of critical acclaim in one of those marginal neighborhoods; it’s called Longman & Eagle. I’ve heard from people that that’s a great place to stay, but it’s small.

Lauren Viera

In a convention-friendly town this big, you can bet all of the major players are here, including as many Marriott incarnations as your corporate-hotel memory can muster. Many of the big names defend their well-heeled reputations. The Peninsula, for example, has one of the loveliest, airiest lobbies in town that masquerades as a top restaurant. The Park Hyatt teems with pitch-perfect service and stunning views, one of the best of which is from its sleek, minimalist indoor pool. Chicago's Four Seasons recently reconcepted its restaurant and the result, Allium, somehow manages to balance an edgy look with classic caliber service. The fabulous Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago is visually stunning: the hotel's 92 stories of glass and steel put this tower firmly in the city's skyline, and inside its walls, the décor is just as glamorous with rich woods and neutral tones. And, of course, no roundup of luxury Chicago hotels would be complete without The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, A Four Seasons Hotel with its enviable location atop Water Tower Place on Chicago's famous Magnificent Mile.

On the boutique hotel scene, newest is Hotel Lincoln, from California's Joy de Vivre group, with comfortably hip decor, stunning views overlooking Lincoln Park, and one of the neighborhood's bright spots of destination dining, Perennial Virant. In the summer months, be sure to check out Hotel Lincoln's roof bar, J. Parker, with views extending across the park to Lake Michigan.

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