Adding a bit of nature to a concrete jungle.
The stylish James hotel in New York gets much deserved attention, but it is Chicago where the brand first struck gold (next up: Los Angeles). Located on the Magnificent Mile, amid well-known branded properties, this boutique hotel quickly broke the mold with its strong art program, which now even boasts an artist-in-residence program. All public spaces and 297 guestrooms are graced with the works of both acclaimed and emerging artists. These pieces are just the final touches to the striking 1929 building New York-based Deborah Berke Partners transformed into the hotel. The open lobby seduces new arrivals with its soothing photo wallpaper of trees and eye-catching stack of vintage suitcases that doubles as a sculptural installation. The crisp, white rooms are all modern oases, but springing for one of the Penthouse lofts brings the rewards of rich oiled walnut and carved solid teak, along with an Eames lounge chair. The Windy City teems with solid steakhouses. Luckily one of the best is conveniently found right inside: David Burke’s Primehouse, where meat is aged in a Himalayan-salt-tiled room.