21c Museum Hotel Chicago
That rare hotel that has it all… well designed rooms, tons of art, central location and a bit of history all at a fabulous price! The first 21c Museum hotel was opening in 2006 by philanthropist, contemporary art collectors Laura Lee Brown & Steve Wilson in Louisville, Kentucky. They had a mission… to bring contemporary art to the public through innovative exhibitions. They also wanted to help revitalize the downtown core. A series of 19th century warehouses were carefully rehabilitated and turned into a hotel, museum and award winning restaurant. A new hotel concept was born. Chicago is the 9th, newest & largest 21c location. This building began life as the Croydon hotel; renowned in its heyday as the home of vaudeville stars, where pianist Oscar Pederson would chill between gigs by playing the lobby piano and where big band leader Henry James is rumored to have proposed to the ultimate pin-up star, Betty Grable as she sat on a bar stool. More recently it was the James hotel until the current owners bought the building in 2018, closing it for a two year renovation. The soft opening was in February 2020 just in time to shut down for Covid. Heartbreaking for the hotel, good for the current guest as the slow start worked out any bugs there may have been. The service is friendly and flawless. The Lure Fishbar has yet to open, but if it is anywhere as good as their New York branch, Chicago is in for a treat. Make sure to try the raw bar. I stayed in a Corner Suite with the most wonderful bed, huge living area and powerful shower. The mid-century modern décor is stylish & well designed. You actually want to sit on the chairs. The hotel is too big to be called boutique yet it has that intimate vibe. There is a tiny little shop behind the check in desk that is the perfect place to pick up a unique gift. Guests get a 10% discount.
Number of Rooms: 297 (1/3 are suites)
Sweet Suite: The 21c suites, there are two, located on the 16th and 17th floor… yes they are big, yes the furniture is cool, yes there is great natural light and yes the bed is beyond comfortable. But for me, the views and the big soaker tub give theses suites that special WOW factor!
Favorite Thing: The over 10,000 square foot museum that occupies the first two floors of the hotel. It free, its open 365 days a year and the art is thought provoking and well explained! Over my two day stay I went back over and over, occasionally, for just a quick scan, more often to stare at a particular work that caught my eye. Having time to spend with art is the ultimate luxury.
Near By: Magnificent Mile, Richard Driehaus Museum, Wrigley Building, United Centre, Chicago River Walk, MOCA, Lake Michigan.
Amenities: Malin & Goetz bath amenities, spa, Lure Fishbar (scheduled to open in June) fitness center, business center, free WiFi, pet friendly, non-smoking, gift shop.