St. Jane Chicago

by  Christina Garofalo | Nov 21, 2018
St. Jane Hotel, Standard Room
St. Jane Hotel, Standard Room / Courtesy of the Property

Aparium Hotel Group, which revamps historic buildings into boutique hotels, opened its first Chicago property this fall. The St. Jane is housed in the Art Deco Carbide & Carbon building — most recently occupied by the Hard Rock — and features 364 rooms, including 32 ultra high-end Tower suites and a private lounge called The Nobel.

The property is named after Jane Addams — a prominent Chicago philanthropist and the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Following in her footsteps, the hotel partners with and supports local philanthropic organizations, including Heartland Alliance and Inspiration Kitchens to provide employment opportunities; the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless; and Bright Endeavors, which offers young moms job training.

Located on bustling Michigan Avenue, St. Jane is a short walk from the city’s prime attractions and shopping. 

The Basics

Budget Level: Upscale to Luxe ($150-$300+/night)

Lodging Type: Large Hotel (200+ rooms)

What You Need to Know

The Look

Art Deco meets modern glam. The Chicago landmark building was constructed in 1929 during Prohibition and resembles a Champagne bottle — with black granite, green-and-gold terra cotta, and 24-karat gold leaf on the neck. Over an extensive seven-month renovation, Aparium’s designers sought to make the St. Jane’s interiors as ornate as its exterior.

The lobby features dramatic black wall coverings and faceted modern chandeliers. Original architectural features (c. 1929) — including frosted glass fixtures, Belgian marble, and intricate bronze ceilings in the Michigan Avenue entrance — remain. In the guest rooms, large windows overlook downtown, and white walls contribute to a spacious feel; Deco-inspired accents include high-gloss burgundy nightstands, antique-style armoires, and blush-and-gold light fixtures. Tower rooms have a more dramatic feel with black walls, splashy contemporary art, and plush fabrics — like velvet couches and fur throws.

The Vibe

Elegant and lively. Though the hotel had just opened when we visited, it was already abuzz. Its Free Rein restaurant — which has massive windows lining Michigan Avenue — draws local young professionals for lunch meetings and remote work. A ground-level lounge is fitted with a pool table (which can be converted to a long table for cocktail parties) and power outlets. It is popular among guests and locals having drinks or waiting to dine. The guest rooms are spacious, fairly quiet, and offer prime views over the city’s hustle and bustle — making for a luxe urban retreat. 

Who Will Love It

The St. Jane’s central location appeals to leisure and business travelers alike. Stylish young professionals in particular will appreciate the chic design and buzzy atmosphere at an accessible price point, as will anyone seeking an alternative to the large, impersonal chains that dominate the surrounding area.

Tourists who value easy access to top attractions — especially families with small kids for whom public transit can be hectic — will find the St. Jane to be a convenient home base (particularly in winter, when you won’t want to walk more than a few blocks outside).

History and architectural buffs will pore over the endless ornate details and craftsmanship, which earned the structure official landmark status in 1994.

Who Might Not

Those who need absolute silence when sleeping should note that the walls are thin in connecting rooms. Travelers who prefer a charming neighborhood vibe won’t find that here in the center of the action.

Best Amenity

The location and views. Set on the corner of North Michigan Avenue and East Wacker Place, the St. Jane has the advantage of being in the midst of Chicago’s most popular attractions with few buildings to block the views of them. All guest rooms look out to major sights, including Marina City (also known as the Wilco Towers), the Chicago River, and Lake Michigan. The 32 Tower rooms and guests-only lounge, Nobel — which comprise the “neck” of the Champagne bottle — boast the most dramatic views.

The restaurant, Free Rein, is also a highlight. The contemporary American brasserie is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Aaron Lirette and features creative pastas and seafood and meat dishes with fresh, seasonal vegetables.

What’s Included

In the room, guests will enjoy high-end toiletry produces, a Nespresso machine with a selection of coffees and Rishi teas, and an L.E.D smart TV with streaming capabilities. Additional amenities include wifi, a 24-hour business center kiosk, pet amenities, 24-hour in-room dining service, and 24-hour access to the fitness center.

Money Matters

Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About

The mini bar items are extra and comprise locally sourced goodies, such as ARIZE Imperial Kombucha, Dark Matter Cold Brew Coffee, WBC Chicago Root Beer, and G.H. Cretors Chicago Mix Popcorn (from $5-$20).

How to Get a Deal

Although the $159/night opening rates have expired, St. Jane Chicago will offer competitive promotions, including those for family and winter travel. Check the hotel’s web page for the latest offers. 

Getting There

In the Neighborhood

The hotel is within a few blocks of The Art Institute, the Chicago Theater, the American Writers Museum, and the Chicago River (where you can hop on a boat for an architecture tour that highlights the very building occupied by the hotel); as well as Millennium Park, Lake Michigan, and famous Chicago eateries like Lou Malnati’s deep-dish pizzeria and Portillo’s hot dogs. It’s a short ride from the Shedd Aquarium and a short walk to public transit that can connect you to the rest of the city.

Nearest Airport

Midway Airport is 25 minutes by car or about 30 minutes on the Orange Line train. It is also about 25 minutes by car from O’Hare International Airport, and 45 minutes by train on the Blue Line.

The Bottom Line

A design-focused luxury stay amid Chicago’s most desirable attractions — without breaking the bank.

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