New York design firm Roman and Williams made it a priority to preserve the lingering beauty of the circa-1890s Venetian Gothic building.
A circa-1890s Venetian Gothic building, located across the street from Millennium Park, once served as a buzzy Chicago sporting club. Now the Henry Ives Cobb-designed structure is the site of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. New York firm Roman and Williams made it a priority to preserve the lingering beauty of its past life at every turn by highlighting such features as 19th-century fireplaces with oak-bas reliefs. A stash of old artworks was resuscitated with new layers of paint, and a collection of trophies ensures that guests never forget the hotel’s athletic origins. The 241 guestrooms, dark and masculine, meld leather with brass beds and oriental rugs, while crisp, clean bathrooms have porcelain and nickel-accented Carrara marble vanities. There is much to keep travelers occupied beyond their rooms. Cindy’s, a rooftop bar set in a glass and steel atrium, draws in crowds with its ambitious cocktails served at the honey wood bar. Highballs are sipped next to checkers tables in the Game Room, the club’s old billiards lair, and the swank Cherry Circle Room, a restaurant shrouded in wood panels, has a decidedly Mad Men air.