Polar vortex got you down? Here’s the upside to it: amazing deals at Chicago hotels. They come every year during this mid-winter lull—which is between the holidays and the end of the cold season—when hotels reliably drop their rates to the lowest point of the year in an effort to populate empty rooms.
“Obviously winter is when we are all fighting for the business,” said one representative at a major Chicago hotel. And the fight is on: We found rates at nearly 60 percent less than what you’d pay in summer (peak season), plus a lot of perks and packages.
Here are the seven best Chicago hotels deals to snag right now.
1. $89 at ACME Hotel Company
15 E. Ohio St., 312-894-0800
A bargain since it opened in May 2012, the playful 130-room Acme in River North is now offering rooms from $89 a night—that’s 50 percent less than peak season rates, which start at $179. Stay for three nights through the end of March with the “Free is the New F Bomb” deal, and you’ll get the third night free.
Reason to go now: Check out the new menu, dealer’s choice cocktails, and Hollywood glam lights at the Berkshire Room, one of Chicago’s 20 Best New Bars.
2. $99 at The Godfrey
127 W. Huron St., 312-649-2000
Opening this Saturday and among the most anticipated Chicago hotels of 2014, the 221-room Godfrey is getting off to a good start with king rooms from $99. From February 1 through April 14, 2014, pay an extra buck and you have the option to upgrade to a suite as part of the Dollar Suite Upgrade deal.
Reason to go now: This is a prime opportunity to check out the newest hotel on the block. But don’t forget the I|O Urban Roofscape, a 15,000-square-foot hotel-top lounge complete with a plush indoor bar and winter-proof retractable roof.
3. Less than $109 at Hotel Lincoln
1816 N. Clark St., 312-254-4700
Taking Chicago’s ridiculous weather in stride, the 184-room Lincoln Park hotel is offering a discount every Wednesday equivalent to the day’s wind speed, through February 26. So, for example, the 34 m.p.h. winds predicted for today would mean a 34-percent discount off rates starting at $109—that translates to $72 a night, which is 60 percent off peak season rates. Follow Hotel Lincoln on Facebook and book the wind speed deal on Wednesdays.
Reason to go now: Rooftop season never ends at the scenic, glass-enclosed J. Parker.
4. $125 at Public Hotel Chicago
1301 N. State Pkwy., 312-787-3700
Reserve a room 21 days in advance at Ian Schrager’s first hotel, the 285-room Public, and save 15 percent off—for a rate of $125. Doesn’t sound like much, but that rate actually represents more than a 40-percent discount off summer rates, which start from $220.
Reason to go now: Warm up in the ambient lobby and fire-lit library, among the coziest hotel spaces in the city.
5. $139 at Radisson Blu Aqua
221 N. Columbus Dr., 312-565-5258
Winter rates at the 334-room Radisson Blue Aqua currently start at $139, a 30-percent discount off summer rates from $199.
Reason to go now: Behind the concierge desk lie pairs of snowshoes, available to guests at no charge and with no limit on rental period. Strap on a pair and hoof it around nearby Northerly Island for views of winter birds and the frozen tundra.
6. $159 at Dana Hotel and Spa
660 N. State St., 312-202-6000
The deal at this 221-room, River North hotel is more smart than fancy. It starts with rates from $159—30 percent off summer rates of $229—and includes a $10 breakfast voucher for each guest plus the chance to “pick your perk”—complimentary valet parking, a $50 hotel gift card, or a free upgrade.
Reason to go now: The only ice bar in the city—and possibly in winter in Chicago—sits atop the Dana at Vertigo Sky Lounge.
7. $250 at Park Hyatt Chicago
800 N. Michigan Ave., 312-335-1234
In the summer, the lowest rates you’ll find at the elegant, 198-room Park Hyatt start at $595. Go now and you’ll find rooms starting at $250—or almost 60 percent off those peak season rates. Stay for two nights and get 20 percent off that $250 rate; stay for three nights and get 30 percent off.
Reason to go now: On February 3, the hotel will unveil a new piece of contemporary art to replace Gerhard Richter’s Piazza del Duomo Milan, previously the showpiece of the lobby.
It’s Not Too Late to Go to the Super Bowl
The trip won’t be cheap—but there are still ways to get to the Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N. J. Try ticket search engines such as SeatGeek and pick the $50 New Jersey Transit Super Pass for unlimited travel all week, including to and from Newark Liberty International Airport and New York City. Get more tips at the New York Times and find recommended rooms at HotelChatter.
8 Cruise Trends to Watch in 2014
“After two-plus years of bad news dominating headlines, the cruise industry is happily looking forward to a new year with great potential,” says Paul Brady at Condé Nast’s The Daily Traveler. Beyond growing from 20 million passengers to an estimated 22 million, other trends include more technologically modern ships, more extreme excursions, and a southern shift in destinations. “After a surge in sails around the Mediterranean, cruise lines are moving back to the Caribbean, where nearly 40% of worldwide capacity is concentrated.”
Find More Deals at Madison’s Hotel Week
From January 30 through February 9, more than 20 Madison hotels will be participating in Madison’s Hotel Week, the hotel equivalent to restaurant week during which rooms are available at three discounted price points: $75, $100, and $125. We recommend a room for $125 at Hotel RED (1501 Monroe St., 608-819-8228), where rates can climb to $300.