advertisement

This magnificent hotel is a nod to the Chicago of the roaring 20s, when it was built as Medinah Athletic Club, a luxury workout facility for men. You can still see where women were allowed to go: the ceilings in those rooms are painted blue. Hit hard by the Depression, the doors closed in 1934. Today, it’s been restored to its full stately glory as the InterContinental. The marble-covered circular lobby is elegant and welcoming, but it has nothing on the “Historic Wing,” located to the right. Request a room here (they’re significantly larger than in the “Grand” wing, which was built in the '60s). Although they cost a bit more, the location within a maze of history is worth it. Wander around the hallways in front of the elaborate ballrooms, one of which is filled with images and stained glass relating to King Arthur. Visit the three-level fitness center, where that 1920s pool still remains in use, on the 12th floor of the hotel. If you want to learn more about the history, stop by the front desk and ask about the free iPod tour. The property’s large size comes with perks: two restaurants, one of which is Michael Jordan’s steakhouse (you can get steaks from here via room service); a wine bar; and a huge Starbucks, all of which look out on Michigan Avenue. One thing I appreciate about the InterContinental is that it doesn’t just embrace its history; it looks to the future with its eco-friendly approach to hospitality. For example, Hungry Henry is the name of the contraption that turns all food waste to liquid.