The Gwen, A Luxury Collection Hotel

A Jazz Age gem on Michigan Avenue
There’s a wonderful sense of place and history at The Gwen, A Luxury Collection Hotel, housed in a 1929 building that fronts Chicago’s iconic Michigan Avenue. The Gwen aims to incorporate the artistry and history of its location with period-specific details that lend the contemporary interiors a decidedly Jazz Age edge.

Named after Gwen Lux, an influential artist of the time, the hotel was recently added to Starwood’s Luxury Collection group of character-filled hotels. (With that introduction came renovated public spaces in March 2016 and refreshed guest rooms in early 2017.)

Expect to hear jazz music as you enter the fifth-floor lobby, a traveling cocktail cart named the Prohibition Porter and plenty of Art Deco design touches, like the lobby’s four original sculpted panels created by Lux decades ago.

While there is a focus on the heritage of the building, the guest offerings are thoroughly modern and include an American restaurant, an intimate see-and-be-seen bar, a large outdoor terrace bar and fitness center.
Our Inspector's Highlights
•Gold light fixtures, sleek black-and-white lines and mod furnishings officially debuted in early May, which essentially gives the property the feel of early-20th-century Chicago.

•Contemporary, natural-light-filled guest rooms are bathed in elegant neutrals — rich bronzes and tans offset blond wood furnishings and black accents.

•Circa Restaurant, which serves up contemporary American fare for breakfast, is a wondrously re-imagined space that takes you back to a simpler time in the Windy City.

•The Gwen doesn’t have an onsite spa, but because of its relationship with Windy City Massages and nearby Spa Nordstrom, it doesn’t really need one; with the former, a licensed masseuse will bring her magic hands (and hot stones) to your room for a private session.

•During the spring and summer, the terrace presents family-approved movies under the stars. And if your “child” happens to have four legs and wear a leash, that won’t be a problem, either — the pet-friendly hotel welcomes Fidos and felines up to 40 pounds.
Things to Know
•The lobby itself has a delightful signature scent, “Aromatic Rain,” that greets you as you exit the entry elevator.

•The aforementioned Prohibition Porter will visit your room upon request. A mixologist will whip up a cocktail or two (try the Urban Buzz, a Gwen signature made of bourbon, freshly squeezed lemon juice and honey syrup).

•The fitness center is an intimate space with chilled towels, fruit, water and a special purifier so those working out can breathe in clean, fresh air.

•Shoppers will adore the Gwen’s proximity to The Shops at North Bridge, a luxury shopping center (Nordstrom, Kiehl’s, Stuart Weitzman) connected to the boutique hotel — a huge plus in Chicago’s inclement winters.

•When the weather is pleasant, head outside and enjoy being in the heart of the city with shops, restaurants, museums and more within easy walking distance.
The Rooms
•Bose surround sound is in every room, as well as a 42-inch TV and the ability to connect your iPhone to it. Rooms have large picture windows and many of them come with those iconic Magnificent Mile and Lake Michigan views.

•Bathrooms are also neutral and filled with tasteful beiges; they are clad in marble and have separate soaking tubs and toilets.

•If you’re looking to really soak in Chicago’s splendid architecture, book one of the six suites that have a large outdoor terrace (a rarity in this city). Perched from here, you’ll see the intricate work of the building’s original façade, plus a slew of other Windy City landmark buildings.
The Restaurants
•Upstairs at The Gwen serves hand-crafted cocktails (Oaxaca Old Fashioned, anyone?) and elevated American bites.

•The Terrace is a lovely outdoor space to grab a bespoke cocktail and relax on chic-but-comfortable seating from May through September.
Getting There
521 North Rush Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611
ORD (20-28 min)  
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