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Elysian, Chicago, Illinois 

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11 E. Walton Street
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 800 500 8511 (toll-free)
Tel: 312 646 1300
view web site ›'s insider take:

The Elysian, a 2009 arrival to Chicago's hotel scene, may be the most elegant boutique hotel to open in the city in years. Located just west of North Michigan Avenue in the middle of a high-end shopping block (Marc Jacobs is next door), the 66-story tower was designed by architect Lucien Lagrange as an homage to the glamour of a Parisian grand hotel circa the 1920s. The building's spires, colonnades, and courtyard clearly channel the muse, as does the hushed marble lobby, which is punctuated by two dramatic busts and staffed by a platoon of very polished, cheerful check-in clerks and greeters. The 188 guest rooms, 150 of them suites, follow form by looking to Coco Chanel and Christian Dior for their low-key style. The result is a platinum and Champagne palette, a very serious art collection (including mixed media pieces by Richard Loving and photographs by Lynn Geesaman), an epic soaking tub in the large marble bathrooms, and some unexpected extras: There's a kitchenette and fireplace in all of the airy guest rooms except for the 19 classic doubles. The hotel has two restaurants: The more formal menu at Ria might include foie gras or guinea hen galantine, while the buzzing Balsan dishes up everything from wood-grilled pizza to charcuterie plates. And the neoclassical Spa & Health Club (try the lava shell massage) doesn't let you forget that for all its traditional references, this is one thoroughly modern hotel.—Raphael Kadushin

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
Greek classicism meets French couture in the elegant 188-room Elysian. Befitting its location in the heart of the tony Gold Coast shopping district (Marc Jacobs occupies a corner retail space in the hotel), the perfectly proportioned new 60-story tower models tailored interiors beginning with the lobby's Christian Dior–inspired kick-pleated drapes and (an homage to Chanel designs) a crystal starburst chandelier, patterned mosaic floors, and curvy wall grillwork. Guest rooms are similarly composed, and both indulgent—high-thread-count Rivolta Carmignani sheets, TVs built into bathroom mirrors—and functional (including Carrara marble wet bars). The sexy second-floor bar, Bernard's, is suggestive of a 1920s salon, with low banquettes, dim lighting, and pre-Prohibition cocktails. Elysian's bright brasserie, Balsan, outshines expectations with foodie fare that underscores the relationship between legendary chef Alice Waters and hotel owner David Pisor, her nephew. A 14,000-square-foot spa and gym play it Greek with column-flanked hot tubs and Hellenic wall mosaics to mark the men's and women's locker rooms. With its no-tipping policy—a gratuity is included on food and beverage orders and at the spa but will be politely declined elsewhere—the Elysian maintains its poise where money matters are concerned, too. In a neighborhood crowded with luxury hotels, it emerges as a sophisticated pied-à-terre with the confidence of understatement.—2010 Hot List

Which room to book: Corner suites offer views to Lake Michigan.

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