Tech-Savvy Boutique Hotel in Downtown Chicago
Chicago’s River North neighborhood is one of the city’s trendiest, lined with art galleries, dance clubs, and Top Chef–run restaurants. It’s a fitting locale for the ACME Hotel Company, a boutique hotel that emphasizes style just as much as substance. ACME opened in May 2012, following an extensive renovation that outfitted the building with the latest technology, including ultrafast 100-MB-bandwidth WiFi. Its decor is just as cutting edge—low-sitting, bold-colored furniture and canvas wall art create a modern, minimalist aesthetic. Other design touches reinforce the hotel’s hipness: wood beams frame the domed entry; bright-red LED lips decorate the bathroom mirrors; and a fence, rather than a wall, demarcates the onsite fitness center.
The rooms feature space-saving layouts with tucked-away ottomans and open closets, as well as Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin wireless audio systems. Alternatively, suites are twice the size and include two TVs and separate seating areas with views of the Chicago skyline. ACME is the first hotel in the country to make Google Glasses available as a complimentary amenity, available for check out for up to two hours at a time on a first come first serve basis; inquire after checking in. A credit card is required to check out Google Glasses.
Downstairs, the old-meets-new Berkshire Room, named after the original hotel the ACME occupies, serves craft and traditional cocktails from a menu created by Beverage Director Benjamin Schiller and snacks from a menu created by Executive Chef Chris Davies. Additionally, West Town Bakery serves Chicago-based Dark Matter Coffee Roasters’ drip coffee and espresso. Pastries and breakfast sandwiches are available in the mornings, followed by an all-day menu of sandwiches and to-go desserts.
Chicago’s River North: World-Class Art Galleries, Restaurants, and Nightlife near Downtown
Bordering the Loop on the northern side of the Chicago River, the River North neighborhood is where the skyscrapers of downtown give way to the award-winning restaurants and trendy nightspots of the North Side. Once an industrial area, River North is today home to architectural gems—the Jenga-like Contemporaine residential building on Wells Street is a good example—as well as eateries to suit every appetite and budget.
Dining options range from inventive Peruvian cuisine at Tanta Restaurant to Chicago classics such as Portillo’s. At Eataly, you could spend a full week working your way through the Italian offerings at 23 separate restaurants and food stalls.
In addition to its formidable culinary presence, River North boasts the country’s largest concentration of art galleries outside of Manhattan. Born around the same time that Jim Nutt and other Chicago Imagists rose to prominence, the River North Gallery District runs along Chicago, Superior and Huron Streets, occupying century-old, red brick warehouses that have been converted into lofts and exhibition spaces.
Amid River North’s restaurants, condos, nightclubs, and galleries, you’ll also find the leaders of Chicago’s rapidly growing tech sector. Among the companies that have offices here: Google, a gaggle of digital startups at the 1871 co-working space, and, yes, Groupon (we’re in the old Montgomery Ward building, where the mail-order catalog was born).