As an architect, the Reliance Building has been on my radar since architecture history class back in.. well, a while ago.. Known as being one of the first skyscrapers, it's an architectural gem that was turned into a chic boutique hotel by the fine Kimpton folks about a dozen years ago. I can't imagine better, more-friendly service than I've received at this hotel, before, during, and after my stay there. A week before I even checked in I got an e-mail asking if I had any special needs or requests. What?! I've never heard of such a thing. Other hotel flags need to heed that message / warning: customer service begins before the guest arrives. Kimpton nailed it.
The lobby is cozy and cool, tastefully restored and designed, and is thee place to be between 5:00 and 6:00 pm in the evenings. The wine party / event was a nice touch every evening. It was fun to chat with friends and strangers while enjoying a nice glass (or, two?) of wine. I, unfortunately, didn't have an opportunity to eat at the hotel restaurant, Atwood Cafe, because of my schedule in town, but from the things I heard from my colleagues about the food and service there, it sounded outstanding. That's not too surprising. There are two elevators in a slim, two-story, restored-to-perfection elevator lobby and also stairs if a person wanted to get some exercise (as if walking around Chicago wasn't enough exercise). I was on the 10th floor and I took the stairs more often than not. They're a fun set that winds around the structure, and although they're "working stairs" (i.e., cleaning folks use them and things are stored along the way, and they're not fancy, but are industrial metal), they were perfect for me. I didn't need the third floor exercise room but I checked it out and it had a few nice, high-end machines in there.
My room was a regular queen room and it overlooked Madison and State Streets on the north side; it was a great view. It was cool to have an actual key for the door, that added to the historical feeling of staying in someone's former office. The bathroom was on the small side, but it was great for me since I was by myself. It wouldn't be a problem at all for two people staying in the room. The high-end products, super nice towels, animal print bathrobes (cool!) were great. The tv wasn't super loaded with channels and since I end up working in my room a lot, that was a bummer. I kept it on HGTV or the news the whole time. The bed had a bit of a sag in it, that was really my only semi-issue with the room. I'm guessing it may have been an original mattress from the complete renovation in 1999.
There were so many restaurant and food choices in the neighborhood that it almost made my head spin. Not to menton the shopping! Theaters? Wow, everything is right here. I absolutely love the Loop area of Chicago; right in the heart of the historic city and where the action is. This hotel was only one block from my photo assignment so it was perfect, I could just walk down the block and did that many, many times; back and forth. I had zero problems or concerns on any of the streets that I walked on, even with thousands of dollars worth of photography equipment with me. Not one person gave me any reason to even start to worry one bit. It's a great, clean area of town. Do not miss the sweet new Target store down the block in the former Carson Pirie Scott store and the famous "Macy's" (formerly the famous Marshall Field's) right across the street.
I drove my Prius and Kimpton gave me half-price valet parking! What a great company. I can't say enough about this great, classic, modern hotel and I highly recommend it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Chosen by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the best hotels in the world, the Hotel Burnham is an intimate boutique hotel like no other. Housed in the landmark Reliance Building, now beautifully restored, the Hotel Burnham provides an authentic, luxurious and historic taste of the Windy City. In the heart of the Chicago Loop, across from Millennium Park, and adjacent to Atwood Café, the hotel is near Chicago's top destinations and attractions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Burnham Kimpton
- Hotel Burnham Chicago