A historic landmark building gains new life as a contemporary hotel.
In architecture-rich Chicago, the 1920s-era London Guarantee and Accident Building, one of the “Big Four” skyscrapers that anchor the Michigan Avenue Bridge, is now home to the 452-room London House hotel. Designed by architect Alfred S. Alschuler, the landmark’s original curving facade, made of Indiana limestone, exhibits full-tilt neoclassical flair—Roman-inspired relief sculpture, corinthian columns—while debuting a new 22-story glass addition by local architect Goettsch Partners. The interior layout by Simeone Deary Design Group stays true to the old-meets-new theme, with a gold leaf-roofed entrance that gives way to a mirrored desk and herringbone floors in the reception area. A soaring two-floor portrait of General William Hull is a reference to the Battle of Fort Dearborn, which took place on grounds in 1812. Rooms are given a healthy allotment of dark wood and leather, offset with geometric-patterned carpet and objets d’art. The true showpiece, however, is the multi-level modernist rooftop bar, outfitted with high-backed chairs, an onyx-lined bar, and sputnik chandeliers. Head to the terrace when the weather cooperates, where Aschler’s original beaux arts cupola shapes 360-degree views of the Chicago skyline.