4 Chicago Hotels That Highlight Architecture

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These dynamic hotels offer some of Chicago’s best examples of incredible architecture and design.


ACE HOTEL CHICAGO

PHOTO: SPENCER LOWELL

August marks the one-year anniversary since the Ace Hotel Chicago opened in the West Loop. Taking over a former cheese factory, the boutique hotel captures a Bauhaus feel within a concrete-and-glass building converted by GREC Architects. Inside, 159 rooms by Commune Design show off materials such as polished steel, marble walls and ceilings, plywood furnishings and wood-grain desks, all warmed by linens, leathers by Horween Leather Company and handwoven textiles. Works by Volume Gallery artists are displayed throughout, and there’s more art to be seen in the sculpture garden on the fifth-floor terrace.


AMBASSADOR CHICAGO

PHOTO COURTESY AMBASSADOR CHICAGO

A Windy City hot spot since 1926, the Ambassador Chicago was restored by Journal Hotels in 2017, turning to its illustrious past as a Hollywood magnet for inspiration. The 17-floor Gold Coast gem exudes a largely neutral palette–a white-marble lobby and 285 mostly cream-colored rooms–to allow its authentic Art Deco design features to shine, including vaulted ceilings and original crown moldings. It’s a classic backdrop for the rotating exhibitions of contemporary art and the various photos of stars like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, a reminder of the icons who have stayed on property.


SOPHY HYDE PARK

PHOTO COURTESY SOPHY HYDE PARK

The innovative character of Hyde Park–home to the Museum of Science and Industry, among other institutions–is the inspiration for Sophy Hyde Park, the seven-story boutique hotel opening in the neighborhood this summer (its name is derived from the Greek word sophia, a nod to the pursuit of knowledge). The Norman brick exterior by GREC Architects frames 98 rooms by Stonehill Taylor, all of which have hardwood floors, an 8-foot art piece by abstract painter Joey Korom and a record player featuring tunes by local musicians. The wow factor starts in the lobby, which houses a 15-foot double-sided fireplace and a 1,000-pound chandelier.


THE TALBOTT

PHOTO COURTESY THE TALBOTT

In the Gold Coast neighborhood, The Talbott hotel reopened last May following a $20 million refresh by interior designer Kara Mann. The results of her first hotel project begins in the expanded lobby, which feels more like a pied-à-terre thanks to marble tables and velvet chairs. The 1927 structure was also modified to accommodate an extra 29 rooms; Mann brightened all 178 with neutral colors, gold accents, sheer draperies, marble bathrooms and thoughtful touches like images by local photographers.