Saturday, February 18, 2012

Where to Stay: PUBLIC Chicago

Photo courtesy of PUBLIC Chicago
Last fall, Ian Schrager opened PUBLIC Chicago. It's the first hotel in a collection that's supposed to be the answer for travelers who want style and sophistication without the ridiculous price tag.

A departure from what some might say is Schrager's typical MO, service is as much a priority as aesthetic at PUBLIC Chicago. In fact, it's this shift toward practical service, instead of useless extravagance, that Schrager says allows the brand to keep prices at reasonable levels. Room rates at PUBLIC Chicago start at $135 per night.

Photo courtesy of PUBLIC Chicago
So you'll find the hotel services Schrager says travelers actually use, like a concierge staff made up of trained travel professionals. There's also free wi-fi (in your room and around the hotel), business and fitness center, in-room spa treatments, and free bikes to explore downtown Chicago.

A program unique to the hotel brand is PUBLIC Express, a new take on room service. There's no delivery charge and you won't have to wait the typical 30 to 45 minutes to nosh on specialty goods and healthy meals created by none other than Jean-Georges Vongerichten. You can get the meals on-the-go, too, for nourishment at the airport or for a nice picnic on the beach.

Photo courtesy of PUBLIC Chicago
PUBLIC Chicago is a complete transformation of the famed Ambassador East Hotel. Schrager kept and revamped the historic Pump Room restaurant (also from Vongerichten) and added things like the Screening Room, which serves as a unique event space and also plays Saturday morning cartoons for kids on the weekend.

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