Where to Stay in Chicago

As is often the case, serendipity leads you back to the place from which you started. And so, though I’d like to say that I’ve found the perfect accommodations after an arduous search, the truth is that the first hotel we stayed in is still our favorite. Okay, it wasn’t the first hotel, but the first in recent times.

hotel indigo
photo credit: Mauolimwolaupei, cropped image

The Hotel Indigo

On a beautiful section of North Dearborn Parkway, north of Goethe (pronounced Ger-ta) on the west side of the street, You will see a bright blue awning. It is so peaceful and quiet in this residential brownstone neighborhood, that you will never guess a hotel is situated here. In fact, a hotel has been here for a very long time. Since being purchased by IHG, it has been renovated and named the Hotel Indigo. It is billed as a boutique hotel in the IHG collection.

What do I love about the Indigo? Well, it does have a slightly passe color scheme, but it is clean and comfortable, with continental flair. The doorman is awesome, the receptionists are responsive to your needs, in fact, every staff member we’ve met has gone out of their way to make us comfortable.

I am a bit of a clean freak. What I noticed about the Indigo that I wish every hotel would copy is that rather than carpet, the rooms have wooden (laminate?) floors. They are warm in the winter and cool in the summer. And, they are clean and you can see it, unlike the generic wall-to-wall in every other hotel I’ve stayed in.

I’ve linked the hotel’s website above, and I always book on line. I have an IHG members number, which gets me a great rate, usually between $100-$150 depending on the season. You can add breakfast for a modest amount. This is not a continental breakfast, it is a full-on sit down and order from the menu breakfast, and it’s really good. By eating a full breakfast, we can later do an afternoon snack and then wait until dinner for our next full meal. That leaves extra time and money for having fun!

There is a parking service next door to the hotel, but I have recently been using the app Spothero. It is often 50% less than the posted prices. You definitely should investigate the potential savings.

There are other hotels I can also highly recommend, especially if you’d like to be a bit closer to the action of Michigan Avenue and the Riverfront.

DoubleTree
DoubleTree Lobby and Bar, photo credit: Wessers

The DoubleTree Chicago Magnificent Mile

Who wouldn’t want a delicious, warm chocolate chip cookie at check in? This is only one way the DoubleTree specially treats its customers. Wait until you try the beds. The DoubleTree’s beds and bedding are renowned for good reason. I haven’t slept this well in my own bed! The mattresses have soft pillow tops, and all of the bedding is crisp and white. You can even buy the entire collection, including mattress, on line.

The hotel is actually a couple blocks east of Michigan Avenue, within easy walk of all Magnificent Mile offerings. As an added convenience, the hotel has on-site parking available for an additional fee. Even when I was late returning to pick up my car, the receptionist kindly extended my parking time for free. That is true hospitality!

With its prime location, you would think this hotel would be ultra expensive. I have booked it for anywhere from $150-$200.00 — not a bad price at all. It isn’t a new hotel, but is clean, convenient, and comfortable.

Swissôtel Chicago
Swissôtel, photo credit: vxla

Swissôtel Chicago

When the DoubleTree was unavailable for a second night, my daughter and I moved across the river to Swissôtel. I had heard of this chain before, but had never actually stayed in one. Let me tell you, I will be a return customer.

The hotel is new, and located on the south side of the river. We stayed on the 14th floor and had a glorious view of Lake Michigan and the river. This location is perfect for exploring the museums and parks, and the Loop area.

The room itself was spacious and modern, as befitted the hotel exterior and lobby. The elevators were a true marvel. Instead of just pushing up or down, you push your floor button before you board the elevator. It makes the queue go much faster, and the elevators run efficiently.

The real knock-your-socks-off feature of our room, though, was the bathroom. Beautiful polished stone surrounded the sinks and shower, and covered the floor. If it wasn’t for the lake view, I might have never left the bathroom!

The hotel has no on-site parking, but there are several lots within a short walking distance, or you can use the valet parking for an additional fee. Use Spothero to find nearby parking.

It is true that we’ve stayed everywhere from the Four Seasons to the Hampton Inn in Chicago. Each hotel has its pluses and minuses. The ones I’ve described here best met our needs and budget. I hope my experience is of help to you. Best sleep on it!

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