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Classic Chicago Meets Japanese Tradition With Nobu Hotel's Grand Debut

By Elizabeth Harper | October 23, 2020 | Lifestyle

After much anticipation, Nobu Hotel Chicago makes its debut.

SakeDeluxeSuiteBathroom.jpgA teak soaking tub as featured in a Sake deluxe suite

In a marriage of ancient, weathered Japanese aesthetic and the industrial roots of the West Loop, Nobu Hotel Chicago has made its debut. With a potent international presence—Nobu Hotels already counts properties in Warsaw, Barcelona, London and Ibiza, among others, in its roster—the newest concept from the minds of chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and producer Meir Teper is a precise layering of Chicago design and world-renowned hospitality.

Designed in partnership with Studio K and Modif Architecture, Nobu Hotel Chicago is an understated modernist paradise. “The West Loop was the driver for all of our design choices,” says Karen Herold, founder of Studio K. “We stayed away from the use of overly luxurious materials that would fight with this industrial area and focused on strong expressions of natural materials.” The result is a hotel design firmly rooted in the neighborhood’s singular aesthetic yet global in its approach to materials, art, amenities and client services.

“The spirit of Nobu makes everyone a VIP,” says General Manager Michael Chin. Among the property’s 115 rooms and suites, signature restaurant, rooftop bar, spa and tranquil indoor pool—uncommon in the city—find touches of Japanese tradition with a dose of Chicago panache. “The bustling West Loop neighborhood and the calm serenity of our design provide a great juxtaposition,” he notes.

SakeSuiteBedroomView.jpgA Sake suite overlooking the West Loop

In the spirit of yin colliding with yang, Studio K introduced Venetian plaster walls from local artisan Antonio Pinto; a custom gold-embedded leaf sculpture to mimic the colors of fall in Japan; natural materials; heavy textures; dramatic, high ceilings; and a 26-foot-tall kintsugi (the Japanese practice of gluing broken porcelain together with gold) brass sculpture that holds court in the lobby. “We used Japanese design principles to inform our choices in order to create an authentic interior that feels appropriate for our gritty West Loop neighborhood,” Herold says.

In the guest rooms, find a tranquil oasis with warm wood floors; exposed ceilings; low, loungy furniture; sisal and wool rugs; and mango wood millwork. The spaces give off a distinctive “sophisticated, warm and reserved” air, Herold explains, adding: “The luxurious rooms challenge the rules of standard hotel design.” Through two “chicken wire” glass doors, encounter the indigo-hued bathroom with a teak soaking tub for thoroughly Zen environs.

Lobby-0001.jpgNobu Hotel Chicago’s moody lobby

With design cues that nod to inspirations both near and far, the hotel, according to Herold, is a study in calm and contemporary interiors with a welcome touch of opulence and warming comfort. Suites from $500, 155 N. Peoria St.

Photography by: Courtesy of Nobu Hotel Chicago