Chicago continues to see major hotels being added. In particular, luxury and first class international brands continue to open in the metropolis. 2021 will translate into eight brand-new properties.

At the end of last year, the tourism authorities of Chicago – the United States’ third largest metropolis, had a large smile. The prestigious Condé Nast Traveler’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards had again named Chicago the Best Big City in the USA for an unprecedented fourth year in a row. A record 715,000 readers and travel lovers from around the country voted for Chicago, which was cited as a “world-class destination known for its impressive architecture, first-rate museums, brilliant chefs, and massive brewing scene.”

But the city could have added its dynamic hotel scene into its assets. According to Choose Chicago, the office of tourism, the CBD (Central Business District) had a total of 135 hotels and 43,881 rooms. Despite the Covid crisis, the metropolis on the shore of Lake Michigan continues effectively to attract prestigious hotel projects of world class caliber.

The city has been slowly emerging from the Covid crisis by reopening most of its attractions, shopping facilities, museums as well as restaurants and dining options. The most symbolic return to a certain normalcy is the reopening of Navy Pier. One of Chicago’s most iconic attractions experienced the grand debut of a brand new hotel, the Sable at Navy Pier. It is one of eight new properties to open before the end of the year.

Managed by Hilton, the Sable Hotel at Navy Pier is located in a minimalist, low-rise building so as not to detract from the historical aspect of the pier. It has 223 rooms, a conference centre and two restaurants. Its Offshore Rooftop and Bar is the largest rooftop terrace in the United States offering 2,000 square metres of space.

The Pendry is located in one of Chicago city’s most iconic art deco structures (Photo: Pendry)

Iconic properties

In June, Pendry Hotels & Resorts opened the Pendry Chicago. This five-star property is located in one of Chicago’s most iconic art deco buildings, the Carbide & Carbon Building. The hotel offers 364 rooms and suites, several restaurants and bars, including a rooftop, 1,300 sq m of conference space and a fitness club.

In August, the Millennium Park, a member of the Chicago Hotel Collection, officially received its first guests. It is an apartment hotel with studios and suites of 2, 3 or 4 rooms. Another property will open in Wicker Park in September 2021.

Two properties are due to start operations in September. Marriott will operate the Spring Hill Suites Chicago Chinatown, the first international hotel located in the midst of Chinatown. It offers 148 suites and a gym.

Also in September, the Canopy by Hilton Central Loop will open. Located near the Chicago Art Institute, the business style midscale property offers 192 rooms and 23 suites and features a bistro-style restaurant, business centre and gym.

Another historically significant building, the LaSalle Hotel, is scheduled to open in Q3. It will be located on the floors above the existing JW Marriott. It is therefore more of an extension by Marriott than an actual new hotel. The LaSalle Hotel will offer 234 rooms

Last but not least, the Midwest metropolis impatiently awaits its future five-star St Regis. Located in the heart of the business district, the hotel is part of a transparent structure designed by star architect Jeanne Gang. The third tallest building of Chicago with 101 stories, the structure seems to undulate in the sky, bordering the Chicago River,

Part of the building will house the 191 rooms and restaurants of the St Regis, while the other floors will be used for 390 residential apartments. Opening is expected before the end of the year.

Chicago’s hotel trade remains optimistic despite falling demand of 73.7% last year, and plunging occupancy rates of almost 65%. With its ever changing hotel scene, Chicago’s hotel industry remains more confident than ever.

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