Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A fun boutique located in an old hat factory near the Chicago River
The Hotel Monaco is part of the Kimpton boutique hotel chain, and it's got the typical Kimpton offerings that make for a fun, intimate boutique experience: a free nightly wine and beer hour, free coffee and tea in the mornings, an open-arms attitude toward kids and pets, and most significantly, quirky, stylish decor. The hotel is located in an old hat factory, and its design does have an element of Mad Hatter-esque, Alice in Wonderland whimsy to it. But it also incorporates some Art Deco details: in the elegant lobby, the light fixtures and the detailing on the ceiling and walls; in the rooms, carved geometric wooden headboard with mirrors.
Every Kimpton hotel has a theme, and at the Monaco it's "Great Taste" in honor of Chicago's rich culinary tradition. Most guests probably won't notice that there is a theme, but it is manifested in a number of details, some subtle (customized turndown treats; apples and candy at the front desk) and some not so subtle (the American restaurant South Water Kitchen; the evening wine and beer hour).
The lobby, bar area of South Water Kitchen, and event space received soft renovations in 2013.
In the northern part of the Loop, next to the river and a couple of blocks from Millennium Park
The Hotel Monaco is set in the northern part of the Loop, with a great location close to hundreds of dining and shopping options, and steps from the Theatre District. Many tourist attractions, like the Millennium Park and the world-class Art Institute of Chicago, are only a couple of blocks away. For longer distances, all subway lines are within three blocks.
The Hotel Monaco has 192 bright, quirky rooms (think: green striped wallpaper), with comfy beds, 42-inch flat-screen TVs, and window seats. Bathrooms have shower/tub combos, but at least they're equipped with high-end toiletries.
American comfort food at South Water Kitchen
South Water Kitchen serves American comfort food, like ribs or mac and cheese; open for breakfast, Sunday brunch, lunch, and dinner. Tavern menu available also available throughout the day.
The 192-room Kimpton is located inside a former hat factory in the Loop, and its stylish decor is a mix of Art Deco elegance and bright, quirky boutique flair. Solid freebies, including evening wine and beer hour with entertainment plus morning coffee and tea, help to create an intimate experience. All in all, it's one of the city's best boutiques, even with expensive valet parking and unexceptional bathrooms.