Besides the three luxury hotels featured on our cover, downtown Chicago has more than 90 hotels, most of which are big-name chain affiliates in all price ranges.
Since we don't have space to mention them all, what appears below is a representative cross-section of what is available--in terms of prestige, style and budget--in the most desirable tourist areas: North Michigan Avenue, a.k.a. the Magnificent Mile, and the Loop.
The Drake: If Queen Victoria had been reincarnated as an American hotel, this historic Hilton affiliate would be it. On the Magnificent Mile. Rates: $325 and up. Details: traditional furnishings and chocolates at turndown; high-end shopping arcade. Dining: four restaurants, including the Palm Court for afternoon tea and the Cape Cod Room for fish and seafood. Address: 140 E. Walton Place. Reservations: 800-774-1500; or www.hilton.com.
The Palmer House Hilton: Don't miss the ceiling in the decor-rich lobby from a bygone era. In the Loop on historic State Street near the Art Institute of Chicago. Rates: $194 and up. Details: voice mail; two-line speaker phones; hand-held shower; beauty salon and barber shop; fitness center with indoor pool. Dining: three restaurants, including South Seas fare and kitsch at Trader Vic's. Address: 17 E. Monroe St. Reservations: 800-774-1500; www.hilton.com.
Sofitel Chicago Water Tower: Cutting-edge architecture from Paris-based Jean-Paul Viguier and nightclub-like lobby. Two blocks off Magnificent Mile. Rates: $219 and up. Details: interactive Web TV; two-line phones; voice mail; marble bathrooms with separate tub and shower; fitness center. Dining: gourmet-casual, if there is such a thing, in Cafe Des Architectes; street-level bar. Address: 20 E. Chestnut St. Reservations: 877-813-7700; www.sofitel.com.
W Chicago Lakeshore: Zen/hip lobby scene and rooftop bar in the only hotel fronting Lake Michigan. Two blocks to the beach, three to Navy Pier. Rates: $204 and up. Details: TV with Internet access and wireless keyboard; fax machine; signature beds; CD players; fitness center, indoor pool, spa. Dining: Mediterranean influence in Wave Restaurant; lobby bar and Whiskey Sky on the rooftop. Address: 644 N. Lake Shore Drive. Reservations: 888-625-5144; www.whotels.com.
Hotel 71: The shopworn Executive Plaza Hotel is reincarnated in faux suede and leopard print. Fronts the Chicago River, one block off Magnificent Mile. Rates: $170 and up. Details: 300-thread-count sheets; leather ergonomic chair at work desk; in-room broadband Internet; Frette bathrobes and non-allergenic pillows on request. Dining: restaurant slated for a re-do. Address: 71 E. Wacker Drive. Reservations: 866-301-7171; www.hotel71chicago.com.
Hotel Burnham: Kimpton Group designer boutique hotel in landmark building on historic State Street. In the Loop near theaters. Rates: $169 and up. Details: rich fabrics and furnishings, in-room high-speed Internet access, CD players. Dining: contemporary comfort food in Atwood Cafe. Address: 1 W. Washington St. Reservations: 877-294-9712; www.burnhamhotel.com.
The Sutton Place Hotel: Contemporary design in the haute heart of the Gold Coast neighborhood two blocks off Magnificent Mile. At the shopping-and-dining convergence of State, Rush and Oak Streets. Rates: $209 and up. Details: stereo/CD player; separate tub and showers; three two-line telephones; voice mail; modem connections; wet bar; some penthouses with balconies. Dining: Whiskey Bar & Grill. Address: 21 E. Bellevue Place. Reservations: 866-378-8866; www.suttonplace.com.
The Seneca: Homey residence hotel one block off Magnificent Mile. Rates: $209 and up. Details: free local calls; dataports; voice mail; fully equipped kitchens; fitness center; rooftop sundeck. Dining: three options, including a deli, a steakhouse and an Italian restaurant. Address: 200 E. Chestnut St. Reservations: 800-800-6261; www.senecahotel.com.
Fitzpatrick Chicago Hotel: Boutique lodging one block off Magnificent Mile. Rates: $124 and up. Details: canopy beds with pillow-top mattresses; two-line phone with dataport; in-room Internet access; trouser press, iron and ironing board; rooftop pool on 29th floor. Dining: Irish fare in Fitzers Pub; separate breakfast restaurant. Address: 166 E. Superior St. Reservations: 312-787-6000; www.fitzpatrickhotels.com.
Cass Hotel: Budget-conscious independent hotel in vintage building. Safe neighborhood two blocks off Magnificent Mile. Rates: $74 and up. Details: free local calls, voice mail, laundry facility, 1 p.m. check-in. Dining: diner and bar. Address: 640 N. Wabash Ave. Reservations: 800-799-4030; www.casshotel.com.
For more Chicago lodging options, including B&Bs and hostels, contact the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau 877-244-2246; www.choosechicago.com.