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On March 2, Chicago’s next big hotel, the Loews Chicago Hotel, finally opens its doors. We stopped by for a pre-opening look around what Loews is touting as its new brand standard (a trend lately among Chicago hotels, including the first-ever Virgin Hotels Chicago).

But unlike another Chicago hotel trend that’s seeing new hotels open in restored historic buildings, Loews tackled a top-to-bottom new build that began a little over two years ago. Located at 455 North Park, Loews Chicago sits just off of Illinois—a prime Streeterville location, about a 10-minute walk to Navy Pier and even less to Michigan Avenue.

The hotel’s 400 rooms, including 25 suites, are modern and warm with hues of deep gray, and views to Lake Michigan and Navy Pier. But the best features of this Chicago hotel have nothing to do with the rooms.

Here’s what stands out:

The huge rooftop: On the third floor, a 9,000-square-foot rooftop features an indoor pool, a bar, green spaces, a yoga terrace, and views over the city. When it opens this spring as the Streeterville Social, it will become Chicago’s largest, flexible outdoor rooftop space.

Chicago-influenced art: From a wood-constructed skyline that also depicts the Great Chicago Fire to original Chicago railroad tracks sculpted into a transit map to the Mid-Century architectural influences of Mies van der Rohe, there is thoughtful storytelling and art happening throughout the hotel. The lobby is a big eye-catcher, but wait for the elevator, tattooed with the lines of Carl Sandburg’s poem “Chicago.”

Separate hotel and residential spaces: The hotel occupies the first 14 floors of the 52-story tower, with the remainder of the floors allocated to Loews luxury condominiums. But unlike other hotels that share space with residential units, the two are exclusively their own—meaning all of the hotel’s amenities and unique spaces, including the gym and pool, are available only to hotel guests.

An Argentinian steakhouse: Just off the lobby, chef José Garce’s (Mercat a la Planxa, Iron Chef) is opening his new Argentine steak house, Rural Society. The space goes on and on like a cozy, endless maze, with multiple dining spaces that range from a wood-paneled bar and a communal chef’s table near an open kitchen to a more plush dining room where reclaimed church pews double as wainscoting.

The hotel is currently running a promotion of 30 percent off the best available rate for select stays from March 2 to April 12. With this deal applied, we found rooms for $130 a night. We’re told the savings will diminish as rooms fill, so book early for the best rate.

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