After enlisting some of the hottest names in fashion, culinary arts and nightclubbing, W Hotels last year landed in Chicago with the opening of the W Chicago City Center and the W Chicago Lakeshore.
Both properties are the recipients of extensive facelifts: The 390-room W Chicago City Center is the former Midland Hotel, a Beaux Arts-style hotel built in the Thirties in the Loop, and the 556-room W Chicago Lakeshore is a former Days Inn built during the Sixties.
The aesthetic integrity of the Midland Hotel remains at the W Chicago City Center, which features in its lobby a gold-leaf ceiling, vaulted arches and marble and mahogany fixtures. At the W Chicago Lakeshore, the hotel’s exterior remains a monument to kitschy Sixties architecture, although the interior — from the lobby to the guest rooms to the dining areas — have been updated to mesh with the boutique hotel chain’s sleek style. The decor’s hip factor is echoed in the W staff’s uniforms, which were designed by Kenneth Cole.
Culinary options at the W Chicago Lakeshore include mediterranean fare at Wave, operated by restaurateur David Zadikoff, who is a principal at Michael Jordan’s 160 Blue restaurant. The W Chicago City Center houses We, a French cafe operated by cb5 Restaurant Group, which also runs Mojo in Los Angeles, Zoe Bistro in New Orleans and Savu in Atlanta.
Nightclub czar Rande Gerber’s Whiskey empire now counts outposts in both hotels. The W Chicago City Center houses Whiskey Blue, while W Chicago is home to Whiskey Sky, located on the hotel’s 32nd floor.
W Chicago City Center, 172 West Adams Street, (312) 332-1200; W Chicago Lakeshore, 644 North Lakeshore Drive, (312) 943-9200, whotels.com. Doubles at both hotels from $169.