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W Chicago City Center, Chicago 

172 W. Adams Street
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 888 625 5144 (toll-free)
Tel: 312 332 1200
Fax: 312 917 5771
view web site ›'s insider take:

The cool factor is high at this 235-room Loop head-turner from Starwood's hip W chain. Details from the former 1929 Beaux Arts gentleman's club can be seen in the lobby's vaulted arches and gold-leaf ceiling, although a 2009 renovation added thoroughly modern touches such as a carpet studded with LED lights to mimic the night sky. The stylish-but-small rooms were also redone with the hotel's twenty- and thirty-something clientele in mind—the mostly white design incorporates modular furniture, flat-screen TVs, and a magazine rack that converts to a cocktail bar. At night, a glam crowd fills the lobby, the Whiskey Blue bar (designed by Rande Gerber, Cindy Crawford's hubby), and the Tuscan-inspired Ristorante We. The scene at W's Lake Shore Drive location is even livelier, with a sizzling rooftop lounge (à la Gerber), the stylish Wave Restaurant, and the beach, bike paths, and Navy Pier just outside (644 N. Lake Shore Dr.; 312-943-9200).

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