Following a $38 million renovation, the 33-story W Chicago Lakeshore (from $259 per night) is staging a comeback. Not that this Chicago hotel ever lost its footing with its prime location on Lake Shore Drive, across from the lake and two blocks from Michigan Avenue. But with stiff competition from the steady surge of new hotels opening across the city, this once-trendy hotel, which opened in 2001, needed an update.
More urban, angular, and bright, the renovated W Lakeshore maintains its focus on Lake Michigan with a new lobby and restaurant and spruced up guestrooms. You’ll sense the airier vibe when you walk into the lobby: Once backed by a pink shimmer wall, the front desk is more intriguing with an all-white spray can installation, a nod to Chicago’s role in developing the aerosol can. Farther in, two circular, black lounge units allow guests to take in lake views through the windows. A few steps down, you’ll encounter the illuminated bar and the hotel’s new restaurant, Current, serving Italian-style dishes (try the polenta fries and panna cotta).
Inside the new rooms, big picture window frame fantastic views of the lake and Oak Street Beach, with Navy Pier just beyond. No longer dark or trimmed with black, the rooms are decked in muted mod couches and bright yellow chairs under playful lights. Grey curtains function as a bathroom wall, but, thankfully, the toilet gets a door.
The hotel’s expanded private event space took over the former Whiskey Sky Bar. Now called Altitude, it will include new outdoor areas, still under construction. The sprawling Bliss spa facilities, gym, and pool are due for a facelift, too, but for now, the rest is still a notable improvement—and a reason to stay.
Tour Michigan’s Public Art Scene with This New App
Last week, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) launched a new MI Amazing Art Tour app to help you home in on public outdoor art throughout the state. Even better, the free app features curator-compiled art tours that range from “Public Art in Jackson” to “Treetown Murals.”
15-Cent Tea Service Is Happening at Langham Chicago
This Friday, follow Langham Chicago on its social media channels (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) for the chance to raise your pinky with 15-cent tea service, complete with pastry bites and Goorin Bros hats (available for purchase). Recently named the No. 6 hotel in the world by Travel+Leisure, the Langham will announce at some point during the day that reservations are being accepted via phone for afternoon seatings on Thursday, July 24, in the hotel’s Pavilion Lounge.
Try Something New on Your Next Family Vacation
“If you can imagine swinging through a canopy of trees in Costa Rica, your youngest child squealing with pleasure right behind you, or seeing your bookish son mesmerized as he wanders the ancient Greek ruins he’d seen only in the pages of his history textbooks,” writes Heidi Mitchell, you should check out these wild trips at Travel+Leisure.