9 Under-the-Radar, Boutique-Style Chicago Hotels

by Kristine Hansen

9 Under-the-Radar, Boutique-Style Chicago Hotels

by Kristine Hansen

Many of Chicago’s affordable boutique hotels fly under the radar. From cozy Claridge House in Gold Coast to a printing house-turned-b&b in the West Loop, these properties flaunt unique perks and amenities, like an open-air bar overlooking Grant Park or a well-known architect. Here are nine of the best.

Many of Chicago’s affordable boutique hotels fly under the radar. From cozy Claridge House in Gold Coast to a printing house-turned-b&b in the West Loop, these properties flaunt unique perks and amenities, like an open-air bar overlooking Grant Park or a well-known architect. Here are nine of the best.

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Guest room at Fieldhouse Jones, Chicago / Photo courtesy of the property
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Hotel Essex

Fresh off a multimillion dollar renovation — which included the debut of SX Sky Bar, complete with Alice in Wonderland-type furnishings — this hotel, located across from Grant Park, pays homage to its ‘60s motor-lodge past, back when it was known as Essex Inn (think suspended beehive shelving in the lobby and royal-blue shower tiles in the rooms). Grab coffee and macarons at nearby Vanille or lunch at the on-site Grant Park Bistro. Rates from $138 per night. 

Fresh off a multimillion dollar renovation — which included the debut of SX Sky Bar with Alice in Wonderland-type plush furnishings — this hotel, located across from Grant Park, pays homage to its ‘60s motor-lodge past, back when it was known as Essex Inn (think suspended beehive shelving in the lobby and royal-blue shower tiles in the rooms). Grab coffee and macarons at nearby Vanille or lunch at the on-site Grant Park Bistro. Rates from $138 per night. 

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Claridge House

 The original Claridge House was built back in 1923 as a residential hotel for wealthy Chicagoans, but was then bought by Hotel Indigo. Now, following a $9 million renovation, the property has its old name back. Each of the 165 guest rooms is complete with framed art. In the lobby, you'll find stylish Old Hollywood-type black-and-white décor, and, at Juniper Spirits and Oysters, guests can feast on anything from fresh seafood (think oysters and lobster rolls) to breakfast pastries. Rates from $157 per night.

 The original Claridge House was built back in 1923 as a residential hotel for wealthy Chicagoans, but was then bought by Hotel Indigo. Now, following a $9 million renovation, the property has its old name back. Each of the 165 guest rooms is complete with framed art. In the lobby, you'll find stylish Old Hollywood-type black-and-white décor, and, at Juniper Spirits and Oysters, the on-site restaurant, guests can feast on anything from fresh seafood (think oysters and lobster rolls) to breakfast pastries. Rates from $157 per night.

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FieldHouse Jones

A successful 2017 opening of this 52-room River North hotel spawned another in Nashville. The hotel, which was previously a Borden Dairy Depot warehouse, is decorated with vintage sporting accents like rackets and scoreboards. Janitor’s Closet is the speakeasy, which allures locals and travelers alike. Head to the all-day Dropshot Coffee and Snack Bar for amazing empanadas (a must-try). Rates from $120 per night.

A successful 2017 opening of this 52-room River North hotel spawned another in Nashville. The hotel, which was previously a Borden Dairy Depot warehouse, is decorated with vintage-sports accents like rackets and scoreboards. Janitor’s Closet is the speakeasy, which allures locals and travelers alike. Head to the all-day Dropshot Coffee and Snack Bar for amazing empanadas (a must-try). Rates from $120 per night.

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The Godfrey Hotel Chicago

The Godfrey Hotel opened in 2014 and is complete with a spa, fitness center, and the 10,000-square-foot I | O Godfrey (an indoor-outdoor rooftop lounge). Its Cubist-influenced exterior, sleek accommodations, and high-style decor make this dynamic property a must-visit when in town. All 221 rooms feature plush robes, a wet bar, and L’Occitane toiletries. Rates from $159 per night.

The Godfrey Hotel opened in 2014 and is complete with a spa, fitness center, and the 10,000-square-foot I | O Godfrey (an indoor-outdoor rooftop lounge). Its Cubist-influenced exterior, sleek accommodations, and high-style decor make this dynamic property a must-visit when in town. Its 221 rooms feature plush robes, a wet bar, and L’Occitane toiletries. Rates from $159 per night.

ACME Hotel Company
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ACME Hotel Company

The ACME Hotel Company — which celebrates its seventh anniversary in River North this summer — is home to The Berkshire Room (a dynamic cocktail lounge), Bodega (the lobby bar), and West Town Bakery. But, perhaps the most unique bar on-site is the Bunny Slope, which is ski-themed, complete with its own hot tub, and located in the basement. All guest rooms are complete with hardwood floors and rain showers, along with a DIY cocktail kit and free coffee delivery in the mornings. Rates from $165 per night.

The ACME Hotel Company — which celebrates its seventh anniversary in River North this summer — is home to The Berkshire Room (a dynamic cocktail lounge), Bodega (the lobby bar), and West Town Bakery. But, perhaps the most unique bar on-site is the Bunny Slope, a ski-themed bar located in the basement that's complete with a hot tub.  All guest rooms are complete with hardwood floors and rain showers, along with a DIY cocktail-kit and free coffee delivery in the mornings. Rates from $165 per night.

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Hotel Julian

This 218-room hotel opened last fall in the Atlantic Bank Building, which was designed by Marshall & Fox — the same architects who designed The Drake Hotel back in 1920. A recent $75 million renovation added About Last Knife, a modern steakhouse. Despite the major revamp, the property still features century-old bricks. Hotel Julian is conveniently located across from Millennium Park. Rates from $130 per night.

This 218-room hotel opened last fall in the Atlantic Bank Building, which was designed by Marshall & Fox — the same architects who designed The Drake Hotel back in 1920. A recent $75 million renovation added About Last Knife, a modern steakhouse. Despite the major revamp, the property still features century-old bricks. Hotel Julian is conveniently located across from Millennium Park. Rates from $130 per night.

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The Talbott Hotel

This 178-room property, located in the historic Gold Coast neighborhood, is housed in a 1927-era building and reopened in May 2017 following a $20 million refurbishment. The property is home to a fitness center and 20 East, an all-day restaurant. Each room is complete with Jonathan Adler bath amenities, waterfall showers, and marble-accented bathrooms. Rates from $160 per night. 

This 178-room property, located in the historic Gold Coast neighborhood, is located in a 1927-era building and reopened in May 2017 following a $20 million refurbishment. The property is home to a fitness center and 20 East, an all-day restaurant. Each room is complete with Jonathan Adler bath amenities, waterfall showers, and marble-accented bathrooms. Rates from $160 per night. 

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The Publishing House

The Publishing House, a bed-and-breakfast located in the former Free Methodist Publishing House (hence its name), popped up in the West Loop in 2017. Each of the 11 rooms in this 1909-era building feature high ceilings, tons of natural light, vintage furnishings, and a home-away-from-home ambiance. Rates from $159 per night. 

The Publishing House, a bed-and-breakfast located in the former Free Methodist Publishing House (hence its name), popped up in the West Loop in 2017. Each of the 11 rooms in this 1909-era building feature high ceilings, tons of natural light, vintage furnishings, and a home-away-from-home ambiance. Rates from $159 per night. 

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The Sono Chicago

The Sono Chicago, located in the city's Old Town neighborhood, has just seven rooms. This modern-hotel-meets-b&b property is complete with a rooftop terrace (which is complete with a fire pit), a communal kitchen, and a spacious seating area. Each of the guest rooms are complete with an en-suite bathroom and walk-in shower; some also have balconies.  Rates from $169 per night; includes breakfast.

The Sono Chicago, located in the city's Old Town neighborhood has just seven rooms. This modern-hotel-meets b&b property is complete with a rooftop terrace (which is complete with a fire pit), a communal kitchen, and spacious seating area. Each of the guest rooms are complete with an en-suite bathroom and walk-in shower; some also have balconies.  Rates from $169 per night; includes breakfast.

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