The Vibe: Like staying in a modern art gallery.
The Area: Fittingly located between the commerce of the Magnificent Mile and the galleries of River North to the west.
The DNA: Entering the 21c Museum Hotel Chicago, it’s clear that the front desk plays second fiddle to the life-size sculpture of a bison and other works that extend through the expanded common areas of the building, open to the public as a museum. The company-owned art collection is contemporary, international (the bison came from a French artist) and vast. Chicago is the biggest city that the nine-property brand, founded in Louisville by art collectors Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown, has entered so far. They have since sold the majority of their interests in the art-championing collection to the massive French company Accor, but the art remains undiluted and is the top reason to check in.
Suite-Me-Up: The rooms are more pared down than the common areas with their gray-toned color scheme anchored by cloud-like beds. But even the most modest room, facing an interior lightwall, have a sitting area with a couch and table that lends residential ease. You’re not missing much by booking the cheapest room – the action is in the public areas – but if you feel like splurging the corner suites frame the cityscape from two angles.
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 297 rooms & suites (35-92m2) (377-990 sq ft) • hotel opened: February 2020 (previously The James Hotel) • architecture: GREC Architects • interior design: Deborah Berke Partners • bathroom amenities: Malin + Goetz • parking possible on-site (charged) • pets allowed • 24-hour front desk • wheelchair accessible