The contemporary hotel has evolved into more than just a place to toss your bags and kick up your feet. It’s a hub that distills the ethos and spirit of the surrounding community, where a drink in the lobby bar speaks just as much to the DNA of the city as the concierge behind the front desk. And while you might have used to search far and wide for that type of vibe, major players are bringing that feel front and center to the city—like The Gwen, the Art Deco-inspired addition to the Mag Mile quarter that’s every bit classic Chicago as it is modern Windy City. Here are five reasons it’s a can’t-miss for your next travel or staycation (or cocktail hour).
Situated just off historic Michigan Avenue between Grand and Illinois, the space is essentially a connector to several neighborhoods—meaning within just a few blocks you can find yourself in the trendy, dining-and-entertainment-driven district of River North, or, conversely, in the sedate, lakeside respite of Streeterville. And going just a hair north or south brings you to the Gold Coast or The Loop, respectively, offering up different cross-sections of Chicago from one convenient central hub.
Recently minted as one of Chicago's top 25 hotels by Condé Nast Traveler, The Gwen’s accommodations take routine hospitality amenities (from concierge, doorman, and front desk service to laundry, WiFi, and dry cleaning) and ups the ante with lux services like shoe shining and 24-hour valet services. Winding down’s never been easier—and with Windy City Massage-provided, in-room spa services, it’s never felt better, either.
Instead of adopting a broad approach to food and beverage, The Gwen’s stayed true to its old-school inspo by serving bites and libations in an environment consistent with its throwback heritage. To wit: the rooftop bar at Upstairs at The Gwen is an Art Deco-infused imbibing alcove, while the indoor restaurant extends the upscale sophistication with American cuisine in an elegant setting complemented by 1930s-inspired sips featuring Prohibition Porter mixology services.
Though the hotel pretty much does everything to encourage you to get out of your room, the reasons to stay beside are tempting: from Frette linens and Molton Brown bath amenities to a Luxury Collection bed and more, the plum perks more than justify that extra hour (or two) or R&R.
Sure, we already mentioned the rooftop—but that's because it more than warrants repeat praise. The surrounding views of downtown are enviable, but the true scene stealer are the cocktails, from the classic Old Fashioned to the de facto sip of the season: the prosecco poptail, a frozen, bubbly-boosted treat that’s as buzzy as it is Instagram-friendly. Fall might be underway, but rooftop season is far from over.