The Hoxton, Chicago
11 June, 2019
With curated artwork, a rooftop restaurant, and rooms offering staggering city views, Chicago's Hoxton Hotel is perfectly placed for trips to the Fulton Market District, Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Built in a former meatpacking warehouse in the go-getting Fulton Market District (Google has offices here), The Hoxton lies at the heart of Chicago's cultural buzz. A hive of round-the-clock activity, it sweeps up guests with its excitable undercurrent. The building itself is a beauty, all high ceilings and huge windows accented with statement light hangings, cosy velvet sofas and fireplaces because - lest we forget - it gets very cold here in winter. That said, there is an excellent pool on the roof, a first for any Hoxton hotel.
Overall The Hoxton speaks with a quiet cosmopolitanism, one that acts as a magnet for the city's creatives and which is sure to exert a similar pull on the rest of the world - especially with so much of Chicago waiting to be explored on its doorstep.
Rooms are divided into three categories: Snug, Cosy and Roomy, but in truth all you really need to know is if yours is located on one of the upper floors, because the city views from here are staggering. Decor nods to the area's industrial past with unfinished concrete ceilings and a mish-mash of mid-century furniture. Leather headboards and brass bed lamps add some shiny pizzazz, while artwork curated by local gallerists brings kudos to the two-tone, white-and-rose walls. Rain showers offer much-needed revival after a day pounding the streets, as does the pleasingly large, squishy bed.
What's for breakfast?
A daily breakfast bag delivered to the room includes orange juice, a piece of fruit and delicious overnight oats. Alternatively head to Cira restaurant on the ground floor, where the breakfast menu encompasses French toast, shakshuka and smoked sablefish. Come weekend brunch there's also avocado toast, cheeseburgers and fluffy pancakes on offer. This is the States, after all.
How about lunch and dinner?
Both Cira and Cabra Cevicheria, which is located on the rooftop, are part of the esteemed Chicago restaurant group, Boka. At Cira it's all about a broad spectrum of Mediterranean sharing plates such as brown butter hummus with chorizo verde and pumpkin seeds, mouth-watering cacio e pepe, and crispy castelvetrano olives with basmati rice crema and lavender honey - which will likely be one of the greatest things you'll ever put in your mouth. Cabra meanwhile, is headed up by one of Chicago's most famous chefs Stephanie Izard, which has made it the hottest ticket in town. The menu is Peruvian inspired so ceviche, tiraditos and doughy empanadas all feature. Make sure you book ahead to grab a table.
Is there a bar?
You betcha. Lazy Bird is located downstairs from the main lobby and evokes all the illicit playfulness of the city's prohibition era. Intimately lit and scattered with vintage furniture, the menu consists of 52 classic cocktails guaranteed to send you out on the town - or to bed - with wobbly legs. Late night music performances on selected nights add to the speakeasy vibes.
There's a wellness studio that runs a series of drop-in classes such as yoga and pilates for both guests and locals. This will be the first Hoxton site to launch an official co-working space with desks, meeting places and facilities for freelancers.
Things you should know
The sweet scent of chocolate that floats on the wind isn't a fake marketing ploy - there's a genuine, working chocolate factory just down the road from the hotel. And some useful information: the hotel has bikes for hire, which is a great way of seeing more of the city. Hop on and head for Wicker Park where the hipster kids hangout.
Within a short walk you'll find
Plenty of places for sourcing a good feed. Try Little Goat Diner for an all-American style brunch, and The Publican for beer and seafood. Locals rave about La Colombe coffee. For a culture fix, Anish Kapoor's mesmerising Cloud Gate is about a 30-minute walk from the hotel. After, wander through Millennium Park and tick off the Art Institute of Chicago while you're there. There are subway stations two minutes from the hotel providing easy connections to the rest of the city.