Built at the site of the former 1920s-era Cedar Hotel, the Viceroy Chicago has a distinctive architectural twist: it melds the reconstructed brick and terra cotta facade of the old hotel with a new 18-floor pleated glass high-rise tower. The reimagined hotel, operated by the Viceroy Hotel Group and the company’s first property in the city, has a soaring lobby with marble floors, a sleek two-story restaurant and bar and a rooftop lounge. There are 180 guest rooms, including a 1,675-square-foot penthouse suite complete with views of Lake Michigan.
The hotel, which opened in September of 2017, is in the Gold Coast neighborhood, within the Near North Side community area, one of the toniest parts of the city. Guests are a short walk from the Magnificent Mile, the stretch of North Michigan Avenue known for its designer stores and heavy crowds. There is an abundance of night-life options nearby, especially along Rush Street and Division Street. Next door to the Viceroy, there’s a full-service outpost of the famed Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, which made this deep-dish pizza aficionado very happy.
I arrived at the hotel in September hours before the 3 p.m. check-in time, so I wasn’t expecting that my room would be ready. However, the staff quickly checked me in, stored my luggage and informed me that they would call when my room was available. An hour later, I was in my room, with my suitcase waiting for me. I stayed in a spacious Deluxe Grand King room, which featured well-apportioned retro elements: a cabinet with curvy Art Moderne flourishes and pendant light fixtures. Bold triangular patterns are prominent throughout the room. In lieu of standard electrical switches, guests can select a range of individual light settings by pressing various buttons around the room. Each room contains a minibar, along with Nespresso machines.
The bathroom was spacious, with two sinks, a glass-enclosed shower and a large tub, featuring luxury Natura Bissé body products and hair care from ROIL.
There is free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. The fifth floor contains a well-maintained fitness center, and there is a popular seasonal pool on the 18th floor that offers amazing views of the surrounding cityscape. Pets under 25 pounds are allowed, but there’s a $50 charge for each night and a limit of two pets per room.
The Somerset, the hotel restaurant, offers a range of American fare in a modern setting. Breakfast options range from buttermilk pancakes with whipped ricotta ($12), which I enjoyed, to ham and cheddar omelets ($14); lunch and dinner items include oysters ($19), smoked beet tartare ($16) and the hanger steak, with broccolini and chimichurri ($21 during lunch hours and $31 for dinner). The hotel offers 24-hour room service, with a limited overnight dining menu. On the 18th floor, the Devereaux, a snazzy craft cocktail lounge, exudes the energy of the city in a charming atmosphere. There is a small food menu, and drinks like the Devereaux Daiquiri, with rum and aguardiente ($14), and the Gold Coast Classic Martini, with vodka, dry vermouth and genever ($15), truly shine.
For an upscale experience where you can feel the pulse of the city, the Viceroy Chicago fits the bill. As for personal service, I was pleasantly surprised when a parking valet, usually occupied taking care of the guests’ cars, addressed me by name — especially considering that I had arrived by mass transit.
Viceroy Chicago, 1118 North State Street; 312-586-2000; www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/chicago.
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