Want a getaway without going far? Two new hotels are embracing their city roots to make locals feel right at home for a quick summer staycation.
Recline and take in views of downtown at Hotel Essex
Get to know Chicago like never before within the historic walls of the newly renovated midcentury-modern landmark Hotel Essex (formerly Essex Inn). The latest from Oxford Capital Group—the developers behind LondonHouse Chicago and The Godfrey—it boasts 274 redesigned rooms with updated amenities, like Bluetooth-enabled bathroom mirrors. Just steps away from Grant Park, it offers lakefront views and serves as a gateway to cultural exploration.
The fun begins at the hotel’s bilevel restaurant and lounge, SX Sky Bar. Indulge in California-influenced Asian bites like tuna tataki. With a flaming cocktail in hand, enjoy views of Buckingham Fountain from the vibrant VIP lounges. Or pull out all the stops and order the Dominatrix, a $669 large-format cocktail featuring a bottle of Dom Pérignon Brut served in a crystal vase—you are on staycation, after all. When the sun goes down, head to SX Sky Bar’s nightclub for a light-projection show and dancing. Ladies, don’t forget to hit the bathroom for complimentary hair and makeup touch-ups including fake lashes, contouring or a full-face makeover.
Come morning, freshly baked quiche—ordered through room service from Grant Park Bistro on the hotel’s ground floor—is the perfect wake-up call. Just resist the temptation to take home that exclusively made Italian Frette robe from your room—it’ll be there waiting for you next time. 800 S. Michigan Ave. –Chelsea Vaccaro
The Dominatrix ($669) combines Clase Azul Reposado and orange liqueur with a full bottle of Dom Pérignon Brut at SX Sky Bar
A cozy bed at The Hoxton
There’s a new neighborhood joint in Fulton Market. Actually, it’s the latest outpost of The Hoxton, a boutique hotel chain with an international following, but it feels like a neighborhood joint. That’s because Ennismore, the U.K.-based parent company behind the nine Hoxton properties, does its research before setting up shop. So while visitors will be plenty comfortable, locals will feel right at home too.
“From the moment we start designing our hotels, it’s all about how we make sure we’re an authentic reflection of where we are,” says Sharan Pasricha, CEO of Ennismore.
Touches of the city are everywhere, from keycards featuring artful illustrations of Malört to bedding designed by Cody Hudson of Chicago’s Struggle Inc. On the bedside tables in each of the 182 dog-friendly rooms boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, you’ll also find a selection of books curated by local creatives dubbed Hox Friends.
When you get peckish, head down to the lobby, where Ennismore tapped Boka Restaurant Group to develop Mediterranean-inspired Cira, or up to the roof, where Stephanie Izard’s Cabra is sitting pretty.
Whatever you do, the Hoxton team hopes you come back soon. “Our hotels all have an open-house philosophy,” Pasricha says. “That’s always been what we’ve been about: being somewhere you feel at home.” 200 N. Green St. –Jaclyn Jermyn
The Hoxton's lobby houses the Mediterranean restaurant Cira.
Photography by: hotel essex photos by nicholas james photography and kailley lindman/courtesy of hotel essex | the hoxton photos courtesy of the hoxton