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James Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 

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55 E. Ontario Street
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 877 526 3755 (toll-free)
Tel: 312 337 1000
view web site ›'s insider take:

Partners Danny Errico (owner of the Equinox fitness club chain) and Brad Wilson (co-founder of the W hotel chain), along with restaurateur Stephen Hanson and architect Deborah Berke, pulled off a nifty trick when they opened this property in April 2006. Together, they've created a downtown hotel that is both stylishly luxurious and a showcase for eclectic artwork. The airy lobby and guest rooms double as galleries for local up-and-coming modern artists, and even the enclosed courtyard has been turned into a video-projection exhibit space. The 297 rooms are decorated in earth tones and modernist furniture, with 42-inch plasma TVs and iPod docking stations. Some have nooks with king-sized daybeds; others have projection DVD players and surround sound. The hotel is home to David Burke's Primehouse, an outpost of the nouveau steak house in New York City, as well as a small spa, a gleaming gym, and the adjacent J Bar, which has quickly become one of the trendiest bars—hotel or otherwise—in town.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

Two blocks from Michigan Avenue, this slick 297-room hotel, formerly the Lenox Suites, mixes mod cons (42-inch plasma TVs and iPod docking stations) with tongue-in-cheek fun (MileHigh kits, complete with condoms, lubricant, and a vibrator). The minimalist interior showcases dark-wood furniture, slate-and-marble bathrooms, and eye-catching Gen Art installations by Chicago artists. The property's cool factor sometimes comes at the expense of practicality, though: Standard rooms don't have full-length mirrors, and the only closet space is located, inexplicably, inside the bathroom. But an attentive staff, a 24-hour concierge desk, and twice daily maid service more than compensate. Its restaurant David Burke's Primehouse has an on-site salt cave for dry-aging.

—2007 Hot List

When to go: Late spring and early fall, to avoid blustery winters and sweltering summers.

Which room to book: The love shack–like 550-square-foot lofts have private media rooms with king-size daybeds and projection DVD-players.

Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Bar/lounge, Gym, Spa

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