New Boutique Hotel Steps from Michigan Avenue
Located one block east of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, Ivy Boutique Hotel opens in May 2012 as the newest work from Arthur Minor, who designed The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas. With swanky amenities including mirror televisions and theater surround sound in all guest rooms, the hotel seems poised to become one of the city’s most exclusive hotels. Although the Ivy rises up 15 stories, there are only five guest rooms per floor, providing guests with a mixture of intimacy and comfort that makes it “the only true boutique luxury hotel in the city,” according to HotelChatter.
After guests check in via iPad, hotel staff members personally escort them to 675-square-foot king suites. A paragon of modern design, the suites contain platform beds with white leather headboards and floor-to-ceiling windows that open. Eco-friendly bamboo flooring, along with organic towels and rugs made from thistle, help to reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint. Guests can watch the flat-screen TV set in the vanity mirror while getting ready in the morning or practice Tarzan-style affirmation chants in the rainforest shower.
The Ivy is also in the process of opening an intimate 30- to 40-person restaurant and bar on the first floor. "We will try to use as much organic produce as possible," manager James Cazares says of his upcoming, reservations-only hot spot. A rooftop lounge opening in June will offer picture-perfect views of the city.
Gold Coast, Chicago: Ritzy Residential Neighborhood with Historical Mansions and Hip Restaurants
Located north of downtown, Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood hugs the shore of Lake Michigan, occupying some of the city's most desirable real estate. Its reputation as an upscale residential spot dates back to 1882, when wealthy businessmen began building castle-like mansions along the waterfront. For a glimpse at these historical estates, head to the Seven Houses on Lake Shore Drive District, where you'll find a French-chateau-inspired mansion that now serves as the International Museum of Surgical Science. A walk down Astor Street reveals some of the city's most unique architecture, including the Charnley-Persky House built by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright in 1892.
Those looking for a hip nightlife will find trendy restaurants and nightclubs—many of which are open until 5 a.m.—catering to a well-dressed crowd. For people watching and the occasional celebrity sighting, head to Rush and Division, a see-and-be-seen spot dotted with upscale shops, classic Chicago bars, and diamond-encrusted parking meters.