Situated along the Chicago River in the heart of the Magnificent Mile, The Langham Chicago has location in spades; it also has some of the city’s most sublime views. The hotel, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has been a fixture along the river since 2013 – occupying thirteen floors of famed architect Mies van der Rohe’s 1972 IBM building. Whether you’re in Chicago to catch the sights or close the deal, this luxuriously comfortable five star hotel is the best place to stay.
A mix of business and leisure travelers keeps things in balance, it’s not a big party but it isn’t a snooze either. Staff here know how to get things done and make things happen – if they don’t have the answer, they find it and bring it to you. When I couldn’t access the club lounge due to a faulty key card, a maintenance engineer saw my struggle and jumped in to help. Later, I went to the lobby to request a new card, but it was ready and waiting for me because someone made a call and got it done.
Rooms are sleek, modern and elegant with hardwood floors, marble baths and tasteful furnishings that ooze a fresh, natural coziness. Soft interiors, fresh tones of cream and pops of gold are warm and welcoming. Many rooms have direct views of the river and the lake with floor to ceiling windows with remote controlled drapes let the light flood in. A tricked out mini bar with just about anything you can imagine and divinely fragrant Diptyque amenities (the lotion is divine) round out the vibe.
The fitness center is nicely sized, so you aren’t on top of other guests, and the wall of windows makes it feel open and airy – not like a workout dungeon. The indoor pool has a lovely celestial light feature over the water and the spa is popular, but it’s also big-city expensive. The Chuan Spa offers a full menu of services if a pedicure or massage is on your list. Guests can also request a private tour of the hotel’s impressive art collection, led by a graduate of the Art Institute. If cocktails are your preferred creative outlet, you can also arrange a mixology class in the Langham’s Travelle Lounge before it opens to the public.
Guests of any Club category room or suite enjoy complimentary access to The Langham Club, an exclusive lounge/work/dining space on the hotel’s 12th floor, or you can purchase an upgrade with your booking. You’ll get a full breakfast buffet, all-day snacks and beverages, top shelf drinks and wine, and sweeping views up and down the Chicago River and out over Lake Superior; it’s one of the best hotel club views I’ve ever seen (and makes for a really cool remote office). If you opt to make it your remote office for the day, consider ordering from the hotel’s Private Menu and they’ll bring your lunch to you, then grab one of the oversized chocolate chip cookies for dessert and get comfy by the gas fireplace in the center of the room. Happy hour might be a good time to try the lounge’s Janz sparkling from Tasmania – delicious stuff and available all day long (which can be a sore temptation when you are working up there).
The Langham’s main dining room, Travelle, serves a menu of seasonal American dishes and a selection of inspired craft cocktails. Open for breakfast (be sure to order the omelet) and lunch but don’t skip dinner and a chance to taste Chef de Cuisine Justin Gomes’ delicious fare. A fresh salad of summer beans tastes like a trip to the farmer’s market, and the Faroe Island salmon with merguez spice is perfect with a side of truffle fries. The Wagyu short rib with butter beans goes down nicely with their signature Black Silk cocktail (Glenlivet 14, Coffee Infused Rum Zacapa 13, Averna, Tabaco Bitters). The monogrammed ice is a nice touch. Most notable, the service is impeccable and smartly attentive. Throughout the entire hotel the service is generous of spirit; it is clear that the staff here enjoy delivering genuine hospitality – which makes the marvelous views, the luxe ambiance and the dining that much better.