New Hotel: The Radisson Blu Aqua

—marcia frost | December 8, 2011 | Homepage Latest The Latest

Carlson Hotels chose Chicago, specifically the Aqua Tower, as the first location in North American to place a Radisson Blu Hotel. The building at North Columbus Drive stands 81 stories high, with the first 18 floors dedicated to over 300 guest rooms and 15 suites. (The higher floors are to be used both as commercial properties and residences.)

Jean Gang of Studio Gang Architects designed the building, which was named "Skyscraper of the Year" by real estate evaluation website Emporis.com. Inside, British interior designer Jim Hamilton focused on modern luxuries and local touches, such as brick wall between the lobby and bar that mimics the Chicago skyline with entryways in varying heights and strategically-placed illuminated bricks.

Guests of the Radisson Blu Aqua will have a distinct neighborhood experience during their stay. Lakeshore Drive, Grant Park, Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park are all just a short walk away, as are the theatre and business districts.

Dining options in Lakeshore East uphold Chicago’s reputation as a foodie city with recently opened spots like Mariano’s Fresh Market and Three Forks Steakhouse. (More restaurants are set to open in the neighborhood at the start of 2012.) The Radisson Blu itself has a noteworthy modern Italian restaurant and martini bar, Fillini, under the direction of chef Christian Fantoni, who previously worked at BiCE.

To help you work off all of those martinis, the hotel has an 8,000 square-foot fitness facility that includes the latest cardiovascular, Pilates and weight equipment; a steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and indoor pool; relaxing massage and spa treatment areas; and an indoor basketball court. Outdoors, the hotel maintains a 70,000 square-foot contemporary lifestyle garden with a 1/5 mile running track, sundeck, fire pits, cabanas, hot tub and 25-meter lap pool.

And to give back to all of the gorgeous nature that surrounds the hotel, Radisson Blu Aqua is pursuing LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. They may call themselves “blu,” but they most certainly have a green heart. 221 North Columbus Dr., 312-565-5258

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