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Planning a staycation? We've scoped out the city's newest hotels-and they're all worth a visit.
Dana Hotel and Spa
(660 N State St, 888-286-2589, danahotelandspa.com)
This 216-room hotel nestled in the heart of River North can’t seem to settle on one aesthetic: An earth-toned palette and recycled materials (such as shards of beer bottles encased in the spa floor) lend an overall organic quality, while details like exposed piping in the halls and graffiti-style “do not disturb” signs, designed by Miami Ink artist Ami James, present some urban flair. Nonetheless the place feels warm and calming, with lots of rounded edges, circular motifs and a flowing room layout. As for the guest rooms, each comes equipped with a sizable flat-screen TV and a souped-up media system where you can plug in your iPod. If you can, upgrade to the suite—the two-person shower with Italian tiles, rain-shower heads, three wall-shower jets and granite seating—is splurge-worthy.
Dining: The street-level restaurant, ajasteak, offers an Asian twist on the traditional steakhouse, while the upstairs “floating” sushi bar serves up the raw stuff.
Bar scene: You’re just as likely to see a group of middle-aged businessmen at the leather ottomans as you are to find a bleached blond wearing platform flip-flops, designer denims and a rhinestone-embellished beater. Ajasteak’s bar specializes in sake, but the bartenders pour plenty of froufrou cocktails, liquor, wine and beer. Between the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on State Street and a direct view of the restaurant scene, people-watching opportunities abound. Look for a rooftop bar to open later this month.
Fitness/spa: Dana’s Zen den features a sleek leather banquette with mani/pedi stations and five treatment rooms, where guests can indulge in anything from a four-hand massage (two therapists working simultaneously) to an Italian-mud body wrap. The same services are available in the rooms. On the other side of the wall, a modest but remarkably airy (thanks to two walls of windows) 24-hour gym holds a few TV-equipped cardio machines plus free weights.
Room service: The 24-hour service features ajasteak menu items such as miso-glazed black cod (available during the restaurant’s approximate hours) along with a selection of standard room-service items such as eggs for breakfast and pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Best for: Suburbanites seeking an urban adventure
Room rates: Start at $350. —Jessica Herman