In some ways the Talbott Hotel, on Chicago’s Gold Coast, is a throwback to another era — in this case the 1920s, a time before multinational hotel chains, superstar designers, indeed decades before the very invention of the concept of the boutique hotel. On the other hand, it’s fresh off a massive renovation at the hands of local designer Kara Mann and Joie de Vivre, the West Coast boutique-hotel experts whose empire now spans the continent — which means it’s just about as contemporary as can be.
The Talbott’s classic, slightly retro opulence is a big part of what we love about Chicago, recalling the era when this was the capital of the West. It’s looking fresher than ever, but fortunately none of its character has been sacrificed: it’s a hybrid of old-time Chicago charm and crisp, clean, modernist-inspired design. And while some historic hotels struggle with cramped floor plans, at the Talbott even the standard doubles are downright spacious — to say nothing of the massive, apartment-style one- and two-bedroom suites.
Here you’re just off the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue, which means easy access to the best of Chicago shopping, and no shortage of first-class restaurants. Not that you’ll need them, necessarily — 20 East, the Talbot’s all-day restaurant, is a neighborhood favorite in its own right, serving creative American fare to hotel guests and locals alike.