Pursuitist presents our review of Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, one of the best luxury hotels in Chicago, curated by renown luxury travel expert Christopher Parr. The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago’s newly renovated 185 suites and 160 guest rooms, located on the north end of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, is no longer on our list of the top 5 luxury hotels in Chicago. For over 20 years, this was one of our favorite hotels, but the recent renovations make it feel like a Marriott.
Changes in our Top 5 Best Luxury Hotels in Chicago List: Nobu Chicago is in, and Four Seasons Chicago is out. While Nobu debuted in the city with an amazingly designed and inspiring hotel and restaurant, Four Seasons Chicago, on the other-hand, underwent a renovation that was an enormous step backwards.
Gone is FS’s classic lobby with many architectural nuances, discreet areas and private venues. It has been replaced with a dull and bland elongated open space — like a big, long white futuristic bowling alley that has been furnished and decorated with wanna-be edgy decor and uncomfortable seating.
Having been a luxury traveler to Four Seasons Chicago for over 20 years, and hosted wine events and business conferences at this destination, the redesign of the public space, lobby and restaurant/bar is truly heartbreaking.
I know all hospitality brands are trying to chase and attract that mythical “affluent millennial,” but those young travelers are savvy enough to know better, while the FS brand is turning off their core affluent traveler. Due to this design flop, and trying to be a brand that they’re not, we’ve removed the Four Seasons Chicago property from our top 5 list.
The staff at Four Seasons Chicago continue to amaze, and the services are exceptional, but their recent renovation is a misguided disappointment. Seriously, a DJ in the lobby? This is Chicago, not a Kimpton in Miami.
Pursuitist is not alone on our review of Four Season Chicago’s recent disastrous renovation:
stevenburnsFAIA: “As I headed over to the elevator bank I noticed that the lobby, bar and restaurant had been successfully stripped of their original charm and now look like the lobby of any generic 3-star hotel built over the past decade. I’m an architect and love change. Frankly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the hotels original design. It was trying too hard to be “Classically European.” But at least it didn’t feel like a Marriott. If I was to end my grievance of the redesign in this paragraph, I should advise the hotel that if you’re going to remodel – go deep, don’t emulate your competitors and find your own style.”
bbsmom37:”Been coming to Four Seasons for many, many years. What I loved most about this hotel was its gorgeous and stately lobby. It housed a beautiful oak bar that felt like you were stepping into the set of a Harry Potter movie. It was a warm and inviting place to come have a martini -particularly during the holidays when the decorations illuminated the entire area. I had not been back since they did a gut job on the lobby, and have to say I was extremely disappointed. The bar was gone. In it’s place is a cold square table top bar area in the center of the room with cheap looking white leather furniture and light fixtures straight out of the Jetsons. I could have been at any Marriott or Hyatt lobby in the country. Zero character and zero charm.”
Travelfunandenjoy: “I’ve been coming to this property for over 20 years, both on personal visits & on business. What always made this property the perfect escape from the madness of the hustle of the Chi was it’s laid back pace, it’s dark and secluded bar, and quiet pace of life. All gone with the rehab of the lobby, restaurant & bar. It now has a loud open, busy vibe! Yes, the staff is still tremendous, the guest rooms are beautiful & the lakeside views are tremendous, but the escape I so truly enjoyed over all these years is gone. I’m probably old fashioned, and times are changing, but please, get rid of the DJ in lobby, turn down the lights in the bar area, get acoustic buffering, and mellow out the lobby & bar energy, we all have Miami for that noise!”
Here’s a look back at Pursuitist’s previous Four Seasons Chicago review from Sep 12, 2018:
Pursuitist presents The Top 5 Best Luxury Hotels in Chicago. Four Seasons Hotel Chicago is on our list of Chicago’s Best, and is steps away from luxury shopping, dining and entertainment on Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile. Four Seasons Hotel Chicago features skyline city views, the on-site Allium restaurant and a lavish Romanesque spa. The property is in need of a refresh, but it still has impeccable service and staff..
Also read: Chicago’s Top 5 Best Luxury Hotels. We celebrate each of these Chicago properties for the gems that they are, each location has a distinct personality that will suit different travelers, whether you are visiting on business, with the family or on a romantic getaway.
If you’re going to visit the Windy City, it only makes sense that you would get blown away. And no destination in Chicago will leave you as breathless as the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago.
Discreetly tucked away on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Delaware, just steps from the world-class shopping thoroughfare known as the Magnificent Mile, Four Seasons Hotel Chicago combines impeccable service, stunning décor and the highest standards, all in the ultimate urban location.
Whether you are in town for business or pleasure, the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago offers the quintessential home away from home, surrounded by business and financial centers and all the fabulous sites and attractions Chicago has to offer. Take a stroll to the Museum of Contemporary Art around the corner, window shop on world famous Michigan Avenue, then bop over to Millennium Park to see “The Bean,” as locals call the stunning, enormous sculpture properly known as Cloud Gate.
After a day of running around, head back to your urban oasis so you can pamper yourself in the spa and rejuvenate in the relaxing lounge, and if you need more exercise, work up a sweat at the extensive fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment.
Traveling with your kids? Well, the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago will make them feel right at home with a welcome amenity, bath robes that actually fit, and you can reserve the hotel’s very own Storyteller, who arrives with a selection of books on a silver tray and reads to your enthralled youngsters.
In recent years, Chicago has become known as a premiere gourmet destination, and the Four Seasons adds to that scene with the new Allium. Boasting a chic urban atmosphere and inviting tones, the menu features farm-to-table cuisine and vegetables from the hotels own rooftop garden.
For location, luxury and lush surroundings, next time you are in Chicago make the Four Seasons your mansion in the sky.
What other travelers are saying about Four Seasons Hotel Chicago:
Christopher Parr, is the Editor and Chief Content Creator for Pursuitist, and a contributing writer to USA Today, Business Insider — and the on-air host of Travel Tuesday on Live at 4 CBS. He is an award-winning luxury marketing veteran, writer, a frequent speaker at luxury and interactive marketing conferences and a pioneer in web publishing. Named a "Top 10 Luxury Travel Blogger” by USA Today, Parr has also been selected as the official winner in Luxury Lifestyle Awards’ 2023 list of the “Top 50 Best Luxury Influencers and Bloggers in the World.”