Stylish Four-Star Digs near House of Blues and Magnificent Mile
Chicago’s River North neighborhood was once filled with factories and warehouses. Today, it’s studded with art-deco buildings and one of the country’s largest clusters of art galleries—second only to Manhattan. Among the area’s most iconic landmarks is Marina City, a pair of cylindrical high-rises that look like corncobs. They’ve been featured in The Blues Brothers, The Dark Knight, and the album cover of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The stylish Hotel Sax is part of the one-block Marina City complex and sits within walking distance of famous steak houses, live music at the House of Blues, and designer clothing stores on the Magnificent Mile.
The hotel’s lobby is decorated with glossy Italian-marble floors and flickering candelabra. After the sun sets, head down to the onsite Crimson Lounge, which resembles a Victorian parlor with gold-framed portraits, oriental rugs, and button-backed boudoir furniture in shades of burgundy and mauve. Despite the old-fashioned decor, the vibe here is hardly subdued. Well past midnight, DJs spin tunes and bartenders craft cocktails infused with exotic ingredients including fresh cilantro, agave nectar, and hibiscus syrup—two are included with your stay. If you want the royal treatment, head to the VIP lounge, where you can order bottle service and sip Dom Perignon behind velvet curtains.
If you get a chance, stop by Bin 36, the onsite wine store. It hosts tastings and has a menu with more than 50 artisan cheeses. In the guest suites, crushed-velvet throw pillows are piled on pillow-top beds with padded headboards. Rooms are outfitted with 42-inch LCD TVs, and the studio king room has an additional sleeper sofa.
Chicago’s Loop: Historic Commercial Center with World-Class Museums and Parks
Hotel Sax is situated just north of the Loop, Chicago’s historic commercial center and the country’s second-largest business district. Skyscrapers loom large, including the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the Chicago Board of Trade. This part of town is also home to award-winning waterfront parks, a glitzy theater district, and some of the world’s finest art collections.
About a mile from the hotel you can find the Art Institute of Chicago, whose gargantuan collection covers everything from marble busts and sarcophagi to modern masterpieces such as Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and Grant Wood’s American Gothic. The Loop itself boasts a spectacular array of public artwork, including outdoor sculptures from Picasso and Joan Miró and pointillist hopscotch grids.
Grant Park, known affectionately as “Chicago’s front yard,” occupies more than 300 acres along the lake. Modeled after the gardens at Versailles, the park is dotted with several impressive attractions, including Buckingham Fountain, the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium.