Aloft Chicago City Center

515 N. Clark St., 312-661-1000,
Best new: Opened in June at Clark Street and Grand Avenue, this is one of the city’s first hotels positioned to capitalize on a neighborhood of great dining. Part of a new complex that includes two other new hotels (Hyatt Place and Fairfield Inn and Suites), Aloft handily beats the rest, in part because of its 272 cozy, mod rooms stocked with Bliss Spa bath amenities. But the hotel’s real draw is that its lobby manages to feel like a cool hangout—an industrial open space that seamlessly merges Aloft’s pool-table-enhanced lounge with the Melman family’s latest restaurant, Beatrix.

Trump International Hotel & Tower

410 N. Wabash Ave., 312-588-8000,
Best overall: Excellent service, plush rooms, a sprawling spa with breathtaking views, cocktails at Terrace on the 16th floor, and culinary wizardry at Thomas Lents’s Sixteen: This hotel has it all.