For out-of-towners and locals alike, these chic hotel lobbies in Chicago are destinations in their own right.
1. The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
Situated in the Loop, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel takes its decorating cues from its past life as a private men’s club in the city’s business center. Leather Chesterfield sofas, high-backed armchairs and antique oriental rugs feel elegant but inviting, but its the lobby’s architecture, painstakingly restored from its 1893 heyday, that truly makes this space feel special.
2. Thompson Chicago
The lobby of the Thompson Hotel is as sophisticated as its Gold Coast address suggests. British designer Tara Bernerd is behind the luxe look, which features rich materials like leather and velvet juxtaposed with trendy Pop art and bookshelves filled with collections of curiosities, all adding up to an that’s decidedly high-style.
This Ian Schrager-owned property may be part of the hotelier’s more wallet-friendly venture, but you would never know it by stepping into the lobby. The space’s soaring atrium is flanked on one side by the trendy Pump Room restaurant, but it’s the intimate lounge area, where fur-covered armchairs and Victorian-style portraits by photographer Hendrik Kerstens surround an oversized fireplace, that we’d venture to for cozy conversation over a late-night cocktail.
4. Soho House
You don’t have to be a Soho House member to stay at the property’s hotel … or to sip a cocktail in its stunning lobby bar. The space, a former warehouse built in 1908, won an American Institute of Architecture Chicago award for its use of period details, which include reclaimed floors, vintage tile and antique chandeliers.
5. The Virgin Hotel
The Virgin Hotel Group’s inaugural property sets quite a precedent from the moment you step it the lobby. It’s dubbed “The Commons Club,” and fuses a check-in area, bar, and lounge into one retro-cool space. The property was once the site of a bank, but besides the architecture, which was preserved during the renovation, you’ll find only tongue-in-cheek nods to the property’s stuffy past. From the oversized oval bar, to the playful midcentury decor and the second-level “shag room,” the entire Virgin experience is designed to be pure fun.