Chicago Athletic Association Reopens as Luxury Boutique Hotel
Photo courtesy of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel Facebook page
The Chicago Athletic Association was reintroduced as a 241-room luxury lifestyle hotel on Wednesday, marking a new chapter for the historic Chicago landmark.
The Venetian Gothic 250-foot tower, which was originally designed in 1893 to attract visitors of Chicago World’s Fair, reopened as the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel on Wednesday after a two-year restoration, complete with giant fireplaces, 19th-century stained glass windows, marble staircases, bas-relief oak carvings, old-school filament light bulbs, plaster stalactite light fixtures and more.
The boutique hotel, courtesy of Commune Hotels & Resorts (which features the famous Joie de Vivre Hotels in its portfolio), aims to honor the CAA’s social club atmosphere and sports-centered heritage, a heritage that includes names such as Wrigley, Comiskey and Spalding (little known fact: William Wrigley Jr. was a member of the Chicago Athletic Association and eventually adopted the Association’s logo for the Chicago Cubs).
"As a fourth generation Chicagoan, a devotee of architecture and a student of all things Chicago history, I’m honored and humbled to be part of the Herculean efforts of the builders and craftsmen who came before us to create a building for the ages,” said John Pritzker, chairman of Commune Hotels & Resorts and founding partner of Geolo Capital, via a release. “We look forward to achieving our vision of breathing new life into the building and reintroducing the powerful spirit of the Chicago Athletic Association to the next generation of Chicagoans and travelers alike.”
Located on fashionable Michigan Avenue across from the iconic Millennium Park in Chicago’s famed Loop District, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel features luxurious guestrooms and suites, an interactive game room, 17,000 square feet of event space and multiple culinary experiences, including a rooftop bar with sweeping views of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park (complete with an original Andy Warhol painting); restaurant concepts by Chicago-based Land & Sea Dept.; and a Shake Shack by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality.
The game room is designed to resemble Chicago’s men’s clubs of the past, featuring billiards, a regulation bocce ball court and shuffleboard. The old speakeasy-style alley leading to the game room is still an entry point.
The hotel is the result of a partnership between Commune Hotels & Resorts, AJ Capital Partners, Geolo Capital, Agman Partners, Chicago-based Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture and the award-winning design firm, Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors.
“During this process, we have been devoted to preserving the character and details in this historic building while creating a new language in our designs for the Chicago Athletic Association. This approach is to activate the building for a new generation, so that the spirit and energy that it had in the last century continues through into the next century,” Roman and Williams Principals Stephen Alesch and Robin Standefer said.
The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is currently accepting reservations for stays starting June 5. For more information, visit chicagoathletichotel.com or call 312-940-3552.
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