Where should I begin? The building’s impressive architecture and history? The superb staff? The exciting food and drink options? Or the excellent location? Let me start by saying that this post contains a lot of pictures; there’s just no better way to highlight the hotel’s character.
I booked my stay through Tablet Hotels (one of the websites I recommend when planning your trip). The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel building is a fully restored 123-year-old Venetian Gothic beauty. Chicago Athletic Association (CAA) was first established as a men-only private club for the city’s elites. The CAA was the only athletic club to survive the Depression. Suffice it to say, the building has a rich history. In 2012, the restoration of the building began and the hotel, managed by Commune Hotels + Resorts, opened last year.
The hotel has an impressive retro-modern interior design. The lobby is possibly the best of any hotel I’ve ever stayed in. There are just so much character and elaborate details, not to mention, the distinct atmosphere.
In terms of dining, the hotel has five remarkable options to choose from! There’s Shake Shack on the ground floor, Game Room, Milk Room and Cherry Circle Room on the second level and the very popular Cindy’s located on the rooftop. I believe you can also order food in the lobby.
I got to hang out in the Game Room briefly, which has a lively and inviting atmosphere. It has bocce ball, billiards, foosball, shuffleboard, checkers and chess, which are definite hits for the millennial crowd.
There’s a long line to go up to Cindy’s for most of the day and late into the night. It’s definitely the spot to be. Regrettably, I never got to up, even just to take pictures. It’s a shame because I really wanted to see the restaurant’s space, which was recently a finalist for the James Beard Awards for Best Restaurant Design (The Cherry Circle Room was also nominated in the same category and was the winner!). From the pictures I’ve seen, it’s a very stylish restaurant with amazing views of Millennium Park.
Trendy hotels usually don’t put emphasis on service, but that’s not the case with this hotel. I found the staff very friendly and helpful. Lindsay at front desk checked me in and she couldn’t be friendlier. She provided recommendations about things I should check out. She mentioned that they offer a tour of the building (great for architecture buffs!). Since I couldn’t make the tour, she gave me a sheet with a brief history and facts about the building and the CAA.
The room itself contains the same retro-modern style of the public spaces and the details are equally notable. The scent of the room and the toiletries has a masculine touch that’s fitting with the style of the room. I liked the toiletries so much that I asked the front desk if they sold them. Unfortunately, they don’t. But, they gave me a few extra bottles of the toiletries! I told you about the staff here being exceptional!
The hotel is in the Loop and it’s literally across from Millennium Park. I like the Loop because everything is close by, from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Willis Tower and the Chicago Riverwalk. If it’s your first time in Chicago and you’re planning to do a mixture of touristy and cultural attractions, the Loop is the best place to stay in.
- The architecture of the building and interiors of the hotel are very impressive.
- The staff is exceptional and very friendly.
- The hotel gym is amazing! It has top of the line equipment and the design details are distinct.
- The dining options are great and a cool place for young locals and hotel guests hang out especially the Game Room and Cindy’s.
- Location of the hotel is top notch.
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