Sep 12, 2023



Travel Inspiration

The 10 Best Hotels in Chicago: Downtown’s Top Choices

Fora Author Fora

The Modern Travel Agency


Icon Share


Visiting the “Windy City” and in need of awesome hotel recs? From elegant high-rises on the Magnificent Mile to trendy boutique options in River North, we’ve got you covered with the 10 best hotels in Chicago.

Ready to travel? Plan and book your trip with Fora to unlock stellar hotel perks and other VIP extras (at no extra cost). Plus, we’ll supply you with personalized travel recommendations and ensure every step of your trip is as smooth as can be. It’s the best way to travel.

From The Langham to Freehand: the 10 best hotels in Chicago

Read on for the 10 best hotels in Chicago’s downtown neighborhoods, particularly those within reach of the Magnificent Mile. 

(Need recommendations beyond hotels? Check out our local’s guide to Chicago.)

1. The Langham, Chicago (River North): an elegant, historic hotel with sweeping views of the Chicago River & skyline

Image courtesy of The Langham, Chicago

Looking for a luxurious weekend in Chicago? From the get-go, The Langham greets guests with class and elegance. This five-star hotel is housed within a historic building overlooking the Chicago River, not far from the Magnificent Mile. 

In fact, the hotel’s location is ideal for travelers looking to be close to the action without all the hustle and bustle. There’s a little bit of separation, which, coupled with gorgeous views of the city and river, makes for an ideal stay.

Need more details? Connect with Fora to plan and book your stay at The Langham, Chicago. 

Fora Perks at The Langham, Chicago:

  • When you book Langham with a Fora Advisor, you will enjoy exclusive Preferred Partner amenities. Reach out to your Fora Advisor to learn more.

2. Chicago Athletic Association - the Unbound Collection by Hyatt (Loop): the best hotel near Chicago’s Millennium Park

A historic landmark, Chicago Athletic Association was only recently converted into a boutique-style hotel. For much of its 130-year history, this Gothic tower served as a premier gymnasium. That said, the renovation preserved much of the tower’s original design and character, allowing guests to catch a glimpse of late 19th / early 20th century Chicago. 

As for the hotel itself, expect exceptional service and amenities as well as awesome access to Millenium Park, just across Michigan Ave. 

Check out our Chicago Athletic Association review for the full low down.

Fora Perks at Chicago Athletic Association:

  • $100 property credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in whenever possible.

3. The Peninsula Chicago (Magnificent Mile): a unique contender among the best hotels in Chicago

Image courtesy of The Peninsula Chicago

While The Peninsula Chicago feels right at home among the gorgeous properties found along the city’s Magnificent Mile shopping district, the five-star hotel forgoes traditional Chicagoan styles in favor of a blend of Western and Eastern influences. The hotel’s theme honors the design of the brand's flagship property in Hong Kong while implementing classic Midwest hospitality. The result makes for a unique (and exceptional) experience among the best hotels in Chicago. 

From state-of-the-art room controls allowing guests to effortlessly adjust lighting and temperature to a full-service spa and other top-tier amenities, you can expect nothing short of an exemplary experience here.

Plan and book your trip with Fora to level up your stay at The Peninsula Chicago.

Fora Perks at The Peninsula Chicago:

  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

4. The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel (River North / Magnificent Mile): an upscale hotel 

Named after the trailblazing sculptor who designed the hotel’s façade, The Gwen leans heavily on a tasteful Art Deco style with elements of classic 1930s Chicago. 

Location-wise, it doesn’t get much better. The Gwen is found at the southern end of the Magnificent Mile, in the heart of Downtown Chicago. And the city’s best shopping, entertainment, nightlife and dining can all be found within a few blocks of the hotel.

5. Four Seasons Hotel Chicago (Gold Coast): one of the best hotels in Chicago for views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline

Image courtesy of Four Seasons

Whether you’re enjoying a family vacation to Chicago or taking a solo sojourn, Four Seasons Hotel Chicago is a great choice. This posh hotel near the northern tip of the Magnificent Mile towers over nearby highlights like the 900 North Michigan Shops (which connects to Four Seasons).

Characteristic of the brand, Four Seasons Hotel Chicago treats guests to unbridled luxury, with spacious and lavishly decorated rooms, along with a plethora of high-end amenities.

Connect with Fora to plan and book your stay at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago (and check out our guide to Chicago for itinerary ideas).

Fora Perks at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago:

  • When you book Four Seasons through Fora, you will enjoy exclusive Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits. Your advisor will be pleased to give you more details.

6. Viceroy Chicago (Gold Coast): a chic & vibrant mid-century modern hotel 

A striking color palette and bold decor allow guests of Viceroy Chicago to enjoy their stay in style. If you love the look of mid-century modern decor, Viceroy will certainly be among your best hotels in Chicago. If not (hey, your preferences are valid), you’ll still love Viceroy’s impeccable service and amenities. 

Pro tip: Viceroy’s gourmet Somerset restaurant occupies the now-defunct Cedar Hotel, a famous Chicago landmark from the 1920s. 

Fora Perks at Viceroy Chicago:

  • $25 hotel credit.

  • Welcome treat in room on arrival.

  • Upgrade & guaranteed late check-out.

7. Thompson Chicago - part of Hyatt (Gold Coast):

Checking into Chicago can be homey, too. Thompson is as luxurious as the best hotels in Chicago come, but it does a fantastic job of blending artful touches with lavish comforts, making this an excellent choice for travelers seeking a trendy, lived-in vibe that many luxe hotels intentionally omit.

Book and plan your stay with Fora for access to sweet perks and VIP status at Thompson Chicago.

(Visiting Mile High City, too? Thompson Denver is one of our favorite boutique hotels in Denver.)

Fora Perks at Thompson Chicago:

  • $75 property credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in whenever possible.

8. Park Hyatt Chicago (Gold Coast): an opulent hotel in Chicago featuring minimalist decor & a stellar location

Park Hyatt Chicago embraces serenity with its calming, minimalist design and decor. If you’re planning a high-energy trip and desire relaxed accommodations to balance things out, Park Hyatt Chicago may be your best bet. 

The design of the hotel appears simple, yet closer examination reveals ornate intricacies and lavish comforts. This is one of the best hotels in Chicago for travelers who want a relaxing oasis amidst the buzzing streets of one of America’s busiest cities.

Fora Perks at Park Hyatt Chicago:

  • $100 property credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in whenever possible.

9. Virgin Hotels Chicago (Loop): one of the best hotels in Chicago for travelers seeking an electric stay

In stark contrast with Park Hyatt Chicago — and boasting Virgin Hotels’ trademark eclectic and thoughtful decor, the Chicago iteration of this up-and-coming hotel brand is an exciting place to stay. Virgin Hotels Chicago caters to the young at heart, as it regularly hosts DJs at its popping rooftop bar-slash-open-air-club, Cerise.

Get the full low down on Virgin Hotels Chicago when you connect with Fora to plan and book your stay.

(Considering a Big Easy trip, instead? Virgin Hotels Chicago’s sister property is among the coolest and most unique places to stay in New Orleans.)

10. Freehand Chicago (River North): a charming boutique hotel in Chicago with a distinctive theme

Freehand Chicago trades the elite amenities of a five-star hotel for a down-to-earth, yet artful vibe. Don’t get us wrong: travelers seeking upscale comforts won’t be disappointed here. But whereas many of Chicago’s elite hotels focus on uncompromising luxuries, Freehand Chicago emphasizes culture and art, much like the galleries, boutiques and restaurants that make River North such a fun neighborhood to explore.

The rooms and communal spaces are much more intimate (though still spacious in a literal sense) than, say, the rooms at Park Hyatt Chicago or Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, which focus more on ensuring individual comforts. Additionally, there are hostel-style rooms, which are ideal for budget-savvy travelers who don't mind a shared space.

Ultimately, Freehand is one of the best hotels in Chicago for explorers and culture junkies. 

Fora Perks at Freehand Chicago:

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Connect with Fora to unlock VIP perks at the top hotels in Downtown Chicago

Ready to stay at one of the best hotels in Chicago — we didn't even scratch the surface of all the options here — with A+ perks, insider travel recs (on things like Chicago must-sees) and more? All you have to do is connect with Fora to plan and book your trip. We’ll handle all the heavy lifting so you can focus on enjoying what matters: having the trip of a lifetime.

Unsure the coolest hotels in Chicago’s downtown neighborhoods are where you want to stay? Maybe awesome hotels in these destinations resonate with you better:

This article has been fact checked by Fora Advisor Alexandra Shea and Fora Advisor Kelsey Toste, experts on travel to Chicago, Illinois.

    Book with Fora

    Tell us more about yourself to get matched with a Fora Advisor and start planning your dream trip today.

    Furnished room behind open barn style doors