Alex Catarinella

The James

Chicago

by: Alex Catarinella

  • Why

    Work then party trip

  • When

    A weekend in late June.

  • Who

    Flying solo, per usual.

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Highs + Lows

  • Really into the Harmonic products, especially the shampoo and conditioner, which are all gluten free, FYI, if that’s your thing. My scalp felt like a Pop Rocks explosion -- must’ve been eucalyptus or something fun in the ingredients. So good.

  • I could hibernate for every season in that bed. Mattress/pillows/sheets sent down from the slumber gods.

  • The decor, from the lobby to the bedroom, was super minimal and calming. A really good change from the over-the-top hotels with antique baths and complicated light fixtures that take me decades to figure out how to turn on/off.

  • Bathroom wasn’t great. I’m all about diving into hotel baths and it just wasn’t happening in this tiny, ordinary one.

  • My room’s view was a snooze, so I suggest maybe not getting a corner room…

  • Nothing special going on with the mini bar, unless you’re into overpriced peanut M&Ms and Sun Chips. (I was after midnight...)

: 45/50
  • Design

  • Website

  • Life Changing

  • Environmental Consciousness

  • Overall Value

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Stealable Stuff

  • Refer a Friend

Important Bits

  • Type

    Contemporary chill boutique hotel.

  • Vibe

    Chill and relaxing. I think it has a lot to do with the hotel’s earthy contemporary-chic designs.

  • Location

    The location, “Magnificent Mile,” gave me 5th Avenue vibes. There’s Topshop, Zara, Burberry, etc., countless restaurants and bars and a plethora of cabs. There’s also fancy versions of McDonald’s and Chick Fil A with outdoor seating. Not kidding. Also, a Trader Joe’s conveniently just across the street.

  • Rooms

    297

  • Music

    Didn’t really notice music during the day, but I did hear Icona Pop’s “I Love It” when heading to the elevator in the evening.

  • Year Opened

    2007

  • Designed By

    Interior designer Deborah Burke.

  • Pool/Gym

    No pool, yes gym. I was low on coins, otherwise I would’ve been all up in the spa. You can apparently transform your own ROOM into a “spa haven” (according to the site) with a “purifying shower ritual” and lots of Aveda products. So fancy.

  • Restaurant

    David Burke’s Primehouse.

  • Bar

    The lobby bar is cute. I didn’t get to actually drink and chill at the Jimmy (again, I’m broke), but it’s pretty swanky.

  • Minibar

    The usual glutinous selection of peanut M&M's and SunChips.

  • Wifi

    Fast and free.

  • Children

    Unfortunately I saw some. :-/

  • Price

    Typical boutique prices.

In the Area

Very yummy and very filling ramen. Great service. It’s really cute inside, too.

Take a short stroll over to Slurping Turtle

116 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

Very yummy and very filling ramen. Great service. It’s really cute inside, too.

You must stuff your face with donuts that will give your taste buds salivating seizures. There’s also an ice cream donut sandwich…!

Post-Slurping Turtle, walk/run a few blocks over to Fire Cakes

68 West Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

You must stuff your face with donuts that will give your taste buds salivating seizures. There’s also an ice cream donut sandwich…!

Get off at Belmont Avenue and swing by Hollywood Mirror, even just for the insane window display. It will change your eyeballs’ life. It’s sort of like a Halloween store-meets Patricia Fields-meets Spencer’s Gifts with a side of vintage sparkly gowns, Member’s Only jackets, etc. This area is also known as Boy’s Town, so, I suggest also dancing the night away at the many gay bars.

If you want to do some thrift shopping, like I did, the Red Line is a few blocks away from the hotel

812 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657, United States

Get off at Belmont Avenue and swing by Hollywood Mirror, even just for the insane window display. It will change your eyeballs’ life. It’s sort of like a Halloween store-meets Patricia Fields-meets Spencer’s Gifts with a side of vintage sparkly gowns, Member’s Only jackets, etc. This area is also known as Boy’s Town, so, I suggest also dancing the night away at the many gay bars.

AHL_JAMES_feature

The James

55 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611, United States

Must Haves

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