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Planning a staycation? We've scoped out the city's newest hotels-and they're all worth a visit.
The Blackstone Hotel
(636 S Michigan Ave, 312-447-0955, blackstonerenaissance.com)
Steeped in decades of history and frequented by a dozen U.S. presidents, the Blackstone is rightfully proud of its storied past. After the hotel closed in 1999, Sage Hospitality Resources—a Denver-based hospitality company—undertook a mammoth, $128 million restoration of the hotel. But the resulting fully refurbished building—which opened to the public in April—is as far from cookie-cutter chain hotel as you can get. Equally passionate about seeking out modern, cutting-edge decor and technology as it was about showcasing the newly restored original design elements, the venue tastefully merges old (3,000 hours were spent restoring plaster in the ornate ballroom and lobby alone) and new (including 1,600 contemporary works scattered throughout guest rooms, hallways and public areas by mostly Chicago artists, Eames and Frank Gehry furniture and LCD television screens embedded in bathroom mirrors). Guest rooms provide mesmerizing views of the lake, Grant Park and downtown. This hotel experience is old-school, vintage Chicago for a hip, urban guest.
Dining: Dig into tapas at the lively Mercat a la Planxa, the boisterous, two-story, separately owned and independently operated restaurant overlooking Grant Park.
Bar scene: While waiting for a table, guests linger over sangria at the upstairs and downstairs Mercat bars.
Fitness/spa: A sixth-floor fitness facility is outfitted with sparkling new cardio machines (each with its own TV) and weights; it also offers the perfect vantage point to people-watch. There isn’t a spa, though.
Room service: A kitchen cooks up your standard hotel menu.
Best for: Visiting ’rents—but beware, they may never want to leave.
Room rates: Start at $179. —Liz Plosser