Summary List Placement

  • As states continue reopening following shutdowns due the novel coronavirus, many travelers are seeking ways to safely vacation. While some vacationers prefer more remote getaways right now, others are tentatively looking to visit cities again, and some city dwellers are looking for staycation options for a change of pace.
  • Chicago’s architecture, mouth-watering dining scene, and lakefront location have made it a popular choice for tourists for years.
  • From boutique stays to cheap minimal hotels and huge luxury towers, there’s a wide range of accommodations for every taste and budget. Most feature historic architecture and stunning rooftops.
  • We chose top hotels at affordable price points across the city, and have noted updated COVID-19 cleaning policies and procedures for all below.
  • Read more: Is it safe to stay in a hotel right now? An infectious disease doctor, a cleaning expert, and hotel reps all share what you should know before you check-in.

As you might expect from one of the world’s greatest cities, Chicago is home to architectural marvels, an award-winning dining scene, innovative museums, and stunning lakefront scenery. Since I moved here more than 20 years ago, I’m constantly impressed by the rich cultural offerings the city provides, and the deep pride my fellow residents and I have for this city.

With a record-breaking 57.6 million visitors in 2018, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, the largest city in the Midwest has grown to include numerous compelling hotel choices. Of course, the novel coronavirus unexpectedly upended the travel industry in major cities across the US, including Chicago.

However, as states continue to reopen and travelers look to book safe vacations again, many are still eager to visit top locales. If you’re wondering if it’s safe to travel right now, it’s important to consider all the risks associated with travel, and hotels specifically. Without a vaccine, there is no firm guarantee of safety and it’s always important to follow guidelines from organizations such as the CDC and WHO, and wear a mask, wash your hands, and follow proper social distancing protocols.

Hotels are also implementing new cleaning policies to help guests rest easier. We've noted updated policies for each of the hotels on this list below.

However, because the pandemic situation is constantly evolving, you may want to read up on hotel cancellation policies. You should also always check local and state government regulations before booking any travel, and be extra mindful if you are traveling to or from hotspot areas.

With all that said, from intimate boutiques to world-renowned opulence, Chicago offers an enormous selection of accommodations for business travelers, luxury seekers, families, and tourists of all sorts.

Traveling elsewhere? Read our list of the best hotels in other popular cities:

As a self-proclaimed ambassador for Chicago who's always encouraging friends to visit, I'm always asked for recommendations on where to stay. My answers typically depend on the person's style preferences, location requirements, reasons for visiting, and of course, budget. These factors similarly fueled the following list, to highlight the hotels that best tick all those boxes: stylish, centrally located, near business and leisure, and are reasonably priced.

On the latter, hotel prices in Chicago run the gamut. In low season such as winter, some of the best hotels can start around $100 per night (excluding the holidays). Of course, they go up from there. Be prepared for many hotels to jump up a couple hundred dollars in summer.

Our picks are found in prime locations and have special amenities you'll love with elevated design. In Chicago, that routinely means historic architecture and excellent rooftops. Prefer Airbnb? Here are some of our favorites in Chicago.

Mostly, they're worthy of your hard-earned cash - or reward points.

These are the best hotels in Chicago, sorted by price from low to high.

Ace Hotel Chicago

Foto: Source: Lisa Lubin/Business Insider

Book Ace Hotel Chicago starting at $127 per night

Minimal, yet modern and edgy, Ace Hotel Chicago speaks to hip business travelers and locals looking for a West Loop base with cool factor.

The West Loop is one of Chicago's trendiest neighborhoods, and the whole hotel seems to channel that sentiment. Rooms are purposefully utilitarian (a hallmark aesthetic of the Ace brand) yet still very comfortable, and some even come with their own turntable or guitar. The restaurant, lobby bar (with outdoor patio and fire pits), and rooftop bar are all hotspots that attract locals as well. Weeks later, I'm still thinking about the heart-stealing views from my east-facing room and the rooftop.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 14 out of 205 Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Pros: The hotel is dripping in cool factor and it's hard not to feel taken by the immersive vibe. Ace Chicago is also surrounded by some of the best restaurants in the city, from chefs awarded by James Beard and Michelin to winners of the TV program, Top Chef.

Cons: If you prefer a super plush and luxurious vibe, the Ace's pared-down utilitarian feel may not cut it.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is currently open. All Ace hotels have implemented new policies that include:

  • All staff and guests must wear face coverings in public areas and masks are available for guests.
  • Implementing deep cleaning and sanitation of public spaces on an hourly schedule.
  • Guest rooms are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized and then sealed for your safety for a minimum of 24 hours prior to the next guest arrival to allow for proper deep cleaning.
  • Limiting the number of reservations and safely distancing occupied rooms.

Read Business Insider's full hotel review for Ace Hotel Chicago

LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton

Foto: Source: Lisa Lubin/Business Insider

Book LondonHouse Chicago starting at $129 per night

I recently stayed at the LondonHouse Chicago and now consider it one of my favorite hotels in the city. The hotel is located only steps from the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive in a Chicago landmark building, the former London Guarantee and Accident Building.

Many of the plush rooms in this Hilton Curio Collection property overlook the Chicago River and I highly recommend my Vista Suite for the prime river views and comfortable accommodations. Though, the real scene-stealer is the rooftop bar, arguably the best in the city with 360 panoramic views and three levels, at the top of which is a columned cupola - expect to witness daily marriage proposals in the summer.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 7 out of 205 Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Pros: You can get a pretty posh stay for around $100 a night in the low season. You can't beat the location, amenities like a fitness center and full spa, and the majorly impressive views from the rooftop bar.

Cons: Because of its popularity with locals, the rooftop can get absurdly busy in the summer with long waits. If you're booking solely for this feature, be patient with access.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is open and currently accepting reservations. As a Hilton property, the hotel is following the brand's 'CleanStay' initiative that includes:

  • 'CleanStay' room seal will add an extra measure of assurance by placing a room seal on doors to indicate to guests that their room has not been accessed since being thoroughly cleaned.
  • 10 High-Touch, Deep Clean Areas will include extra disinfection of the most frequently touched guest room areas including light switches, door handles, TV remotes, and thermostats.
  • Improved guidelines for disinfecting fitness centers and limiting the number of guests allowed in at one time.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning public areas and provide stations at primary entrances and key high traffic areas, for instance, a station to allow guests to wipe the elevator button before pressing.
  • Contactless check-in using digital key technology for guests who desire to have a contactless arrival experience. Guests can check-in, choose their room, access their room with a digital room key, and check-out using their mobile devices through the Hilton Honors mobile app at participating hotels.
  • Hilton will continue to expand its Digital Key capabilities to common doors and access points throughout the hotels.
  • Hilton is exploring the addition of new technologies like electrostatic sprayers, which use an electrostatically charged disinfecting mist, and ultraviolet light to sanitize surfaces and objects.

Read Business Insider's full hotel review for LondonHouse Chicago

Thompson Chicago

Foto: Source: Thompson Chicago

Book the Thompson Chicago starting at $152 per night

Dark and sophisticated, The Thompson Chicago (a World of Hyatt luxury property) immediately makes you feel cool with a stylish, loft-like urban edge that attracts cosmopolitan couples and savvy business travelers.

Reviewers love the luxury linens, Gold Coast location, and modern, state of the art bathrooms and city views. Nico Osteria on the ground floor is well known in the neighborhood for its raw bar, house-made pasta, and tasty seafood.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 13 out of 205 Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Pros: Design-forward rooms and common spaces in an equally chic neighborhood.

Cons: If you must be in the heart of downtown, this might not be as convenient, as it's a bit removed.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is currently open. As part of the Hyatt collection, this hotel has implemented the hotel brand's new 'Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment,' which includes:

  • Certification, trainings and recertification processes for hygiene and cleanliness.
  • Increased frequency of cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants on all high-touch surfaces, guestrooms and shared spaces.
  • Implementation of enhanced food safety and hygiene protocols for restaurants, room service, and group meetings and events.
  • Prominently placed hand sanitizer stations throughout hotel public and employee areas and entrances.
  • Social distancing guidance in public areas across hotel properties.
  • Maks are required in all common areas.

The Gwen, A Luxury Collection Hotel

Foto: Source: The Gwen

Book The Gwen starting at $165 per night

Located right on iconic Michigan Avenue, The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel from Marriott Bonvoy, is set in a 1920s Art Deco landmark building (yes, it's a common theme in Chicago).

Bright and modern rooms come with ultra-luxe Frette linens and a plush bed. Amenities excellent on-site restaurants from one of Chicago's most celebrated chefs and the sleek rooftop terrace has fire pits and a unique "curling" rink in winter.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 9 out of 205 Rating: 9.4 out of 10

Pros: The trendy rooftop terrace is a highlight of staying here, as is the perfect location right on Michigan Avenue. You can even head right into the adjacent mall without stepping foot outside.

Cons: Being right on busy Michigan Avenue can also mean its not the quietest spot. Some guests complain of blaring horns and street noise.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is currently open. Part of The Luxury Collection under Marriott, The Gwen is following updated procedures consistent with all Marriotts, including:

  • New cleaning technologies that include electrostatic sprayers that allow for touchless disinfecting capabilities and cleaning processes, along with and new regimen changes.
  • In public spaces, the company has required that surfaces are treated with hospital-grade disinfectants and that this cleaning is done with increased frequency.
  • In guest rooms, Marriott has added detailed cleaning practices, requiring all surfaces be thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. The company will also be placing disinfecting wipes in each room for guests' personal use.
  • Signage in lobbies will remind guests to maintain social distancing protocols.
  • Marriott will remove or re-arrange furniture to allow more space for distancing.
  • Face masks are required in all common areas.

Read Business Insider's full hotel review of The Gwen

Virgin Hotels Chicago

Foto: Source: Virgin Hotels Chicago

Book Virgin Hotels Chicago starting at $170 per night

Created by Sir Richard Branson, the very first of the Virgin Hotels opened in Chicago in 2015 inside the Old Dearborn Bank Building. Steps away from Michigan Avenue in Chicago's Loop, the downtown boutique hotel offers a refreshed approach to modern luxury and comfort, catering to younger business types and tech-savvy travelers. An app is utilized for check-in, room service requests (which is actually handled through delivery services like Door Dash), and it also serves as your TV remote control.

Each room (they call them chambers) in the 26-story hotel is separated in two areas, with a large dressing area, closet space, and shower separated by a set of sliding privacy doors from the sleeping area. The vibe is cool and no-nonsense. I love the fact that Virgin has no hidden fees and they offer "street-level" pricing on minibar items and videos on demand, without the typical upcharge found at similarly elevated hotels.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 15 out of 205 Rating: 9.3 out of 10

Pros: The on-site Commons Club is a cool hybrid bar, lounge, and co-working space that feels nothing like a hotel. The rooftop lounge offers panoramic views of the skyline, which feel like an added perk.

Cons: The hotel can be noisy. As it's right in the Loop next to the El tracks, you can hear trains going by, and thumping music from the rooftop bar tends to filter down to rooms on high floors.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is currently open and taking reservations. Like all Virgin Hotels, it is following new policies that include:

  • Housekeeping disinfecting highly touched areas.
  • Placing travel-size hand sanitizers in all the Chambers for hotel guests.
  • Housekeeping spraying and disinfecting with Clorox Total 360 System
  • Hotel staff are completing COVID-19 awareness training.
  • Housekeeping service is available upon request only.
  • Hand sanitizers are located throughout the hotel for all visitors.
  • The Fitness center will be cleaned 3 times per day and checked hourly to disinfect equipment and high touch point areas.

Kimpton Gray Hotel

Foto: Source: Lisa Lubin/Business Insider

Book Kimpton Gray Hotel starting at $178 per night

Packed in amidst the Loop's skyscrapers, the Kimpton Gray Hotel is ideal for downtown business travelers but it's a far cry from the bland cookie-cutter business hotels you might expect. Formally known as the New York Life Insurance building, the landmark edifice dates back to 1894. The hotel takes its name from the preserved Georgia Gray marble, which is found throughout much of the restored interiors.

The IHG property deftly combines such historic features with contemporary-styled guest rooms with crisp furnishings. Upgrade to the King Spa room for a walk-in shower and separate soaking tub, which is pretty nice after a long workday. We love the social vibe of the complimentary evening wine hour in the lobby, an IHG hallmark. Head upstairs to the lively Argentinian rooftop lounge with an enormous retractable roof. It's a great after-work spot for entertaining clients.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 10 out of 205 Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Pros: The location is perfect for business travelers especially those needing to be in the heart of the Loop and financial district. Fitness buffs will like that all rooms come with a yoga mat, biks are free to use, and the on-site fitness center is tricked out with all the latest equipment including a Peloton bike.

Cons: If you extend a stay through the weekend, it can feel a bit deserted in the Loop's financial district, which caters to the workweek crowd. Many restaurants nearby will be closed.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is currently open and taking reservations. As a Kimpton, it falls under IHG and will be following new guidelines consistent with the brand that include:

  • Reduced contact at check-in, touchless transactions, front-desk screens, sanitizer stations, sanitized key cards, paperless checkout.
  • Visible verification of sanitized items in guest rooms such as glassware or remote control, reduction of in-room furnishings/high-touch items, new laundry protocols, and use of new technology.
  • Additional deep cleaning of high-touch surfaces, social distancing, "last cleaned" charts, best practices for pools, fitness centers, and lounges.
  • New standards and service approach to food and beverage including buffets, banquets, room service, and catering.

Read Business Insider's full hotel review for Kimpton Gray Hotel

Loews Chicago Hotel

Foto: Source: Loews Chicago

Book the Loews Chicago Hotel starting at $179 per night

The Loews Chicago Hotel is housed within a gleaming 52-story glass and steel tower and favored by business travelers who eschew stuffy or traditional hotels for one such as this that favors a clean, sleek approach. Unlike many of Chicago's hotels set in rehabbed historical buildings, I love the newness of Loews. The spacious public spaces feel contemporary, and the rooms, while decently sized, still seem airy.

I'm also enamored by the enormous rooftop terrace (one of the largest in the city) and the 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center and large indoor lap pool. Located one block from the Chicago River, the hotel is about a five-minute walk to Michigan Avenue.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 12 out of 205 Rating: 9.4 out of 10

Pros: Everything is brand new and looks and feels it with rooms and public spaces that are clean, modern, and spacious. The hotel is only steps from the Chicago Riverwalk for an early morning jog.

Cons: If you like to walk right out the door and find many restaurants and shops, the hotel may feel a tad off the beaten path as it's a couple-blocks walk to Michigan Avenue.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is currently open. Consistent with all Loews properties, the hotel has new policies in place including:

  • Temperature checks will be required for team members and vendors prior to entering the hotel.
  • Hand sanitation stations have been added to front desks, spas, fitness centers, and other high traffic areas.
  • Contactless experiences via a hotel app that can be downloaded on your smartphone will be used to access in-room TV, order room service, or communicate with the concierge or front desk.

Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection

Foto: Source: Hotel EMC2

Book the Hotel EMC2 starting at $193 per night

Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection (part of Marriott Bonvoy's collection of hotels) is a truly one-of-a-kind boutique hotel in Chicago's downtown Streeterville neighborhood. True to its name, it impressed me with a refreshingly different design concept mixing art with science. It's far more interesting and immersive than it might initially sound.

Rooms feature sleek decor, hardwood floors, and dramatic artwork that feels experiential over traditional. My favorite part: the hotel "employs" two-room service robots, Leo and Cleo, who will deliver extra towels and such to your room. That was a first for me.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 23 out of 205 Rating: 9.3 out of 10

Pros: The unexpected decor and fun robots are a treat for kids (and kids at heart). Plus it's walking distance to the famed Magnificent Mile, Theater District, and a bounty of shops and restaurants.

Cons: Some will find the glass-enclosed shower in the middle of the room cool, while others will think it's odd and not family-friendly, despite there being an exterior curtain you can pull around it. It's a strong example of the hotel's unconventional approach to design.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is currently open. Part of Marriott's Autograph Collection, the hotel is following updated procedures consistent with all Marriotts, including:

  • New cleaning technologies that include electrostatic sprayers that allow for touchless disinfecting capabilities and cleaning processes, along with and new regimen changes.
  • In public spaces, the company has required that surfaces are treated with hospital-grade disinfectants and that this cleaning is done with increased frequency.
  • In guest rooms, Marriott has added detailed cleaning practices, requiring all surfaces be thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. The company will also be placing disinfecting wipes in each room for guests' personal use.
  • Signage in lobbies will remind guests to maintain social distancing protocols.
  • Marriott will remove or re-arrange furniture to allow more space for distancing.
  • Face masks are required in all common areas.

Read Business Insider's full hotel review of Hotel EMC2

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Foto: Source: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Book the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel starting at $204 per night

Originally home to an elite men's club, the Chicago Athletic Association hotel building is an architectural gem dating back to 1893. Converted to a boutique hotel in 2015, the lobby always gives me goose bumps with its Harvard meets Hogwarts aesthetic.

Rooms play into the vibe, but it's comfortable rather than kitschy. I often bring out-of-towners up to Cindy's Rooftop, an airy restaurant with a large outdoor terrace offering some of the city's best views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 60 out of 205 Rating: 8.9 out of 10

Pros: The gothic-inspired design is filled with historic charm and character that feels truly unique. The great location across from Millennium Park also means great views of the park and lake.

Cons: Because of its downtown location and setting inside a historic building, rooms can be smaller than expected. Also the popularity of some of the onsite restaurants (especially Cindy's Rooftop) means you'll mingle with local crowds, resulting in wait times that can be unacceptable for most.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is closed through the first quarter of 2021. The hotel is not accepting new reservations and all stays booked prior to July 22, 2020 will be cancelled with no penalty.

Read Business Insider's full hotel review for Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Viceroy Chicago

Foto: Source: Lisa Lubin/Business Insider

Book Viceroy Chicago starting at $245 per night

From the beautifully restored 1930s façade to the 30-foot lobby wall of quotes, the Viceroy is all about looks.

During a recent stay, I was quite impressed by the highly-designed rooms, which felt like a study in midcentury modern decor, and as if I was living in my own pied-à-terre rather than a standard hotel. I also loved that Viceroy is located in the Gold Coast neighborhood with its great shopping and dining. Staying here gives visitors a taste of residential life, but with plenty to do nearby, and prime beach access. The hotel is very close to Lake Michigan.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 16 out of 205 Rating: 9.4 out of 10

Pros: Many rooms have great city views including a sliver of lake in the distance. Don't miss a chance to eat at Somerset, the award-winning on-site restaurant helmed by a Michelin-starred chef.

Cons: While some rooms boast lake views for an added cost, they may not be full-on views. Also, there's no on-site spa, which is surprising for a luxury-leaning hotel of this caliber.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is currently open. All Viceroy hotelshave new procedures in place including:

  • Self-parking options will be available.
  • High-touch surfaces and items such as pens will be disinfected frequently.

  • Hand sanitation stations will be available.
  • Furniture layout in these spaces will promote proper physical distancing.

  • All chemicals, cleaning products, PPE, and equipment used must be hospital-grade and proven to prevent the spread of contamination, and/or disinfect and kill viruses, bacteria, and diseases.
  • When possible, a minimum of 24 hours will pass between new guests staying in guest rooms.
  • Availability of the fitness center, pool, and recreation areas will be determined by local and state governmental authorities and are subject to change at any time.

Read Business Insider's full hotel review for Viceroy Chicago

The Langham Chicago

Foto: Source: Jenny Berg/Business Insider

Book The Langham Chicago starting at $285 per night

The 5-star Langham Chicago is the number one rated hotel in Chicago on Trip Advisor, and for good reason. It's a classic example of luxury, consistently praised for its excellent service and posh appearance. The art-filled hotel resides in the landmark, 52-story IBM building designed by renowned architect Mies van der Rohe. It's perched on the Chicago River, steps from Michigan Avenue, Millennium Park, and Chicago's business district offering one of the best locations.

Large rooms all have floor-to-ceiling windows with stellar city views. Reviewers frequently use words like "amazing" and "exceptional." Splurge on a Club Level room and you'll receive a complimentary breakfast buffet, afternoon tea, cocktails and snacks all day and into the evening, and butler service, which offers tremendous value for the higher price tag. Oh, and don't forget your swimsuit to do laps in one of Chicago's nicest indoor pools.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 3 out of 206 Rating: 9.6 out of 10

Pros: Staying here is an overall experience thanks to the elegant design, award-winning on-site dining at Travelle, plus a 22,000 square foot health club, which includes Langham's signature Chuan Spa for prime pampering.

Cons: For some, the price point may be a bit steep. This isn't a hotel where you'll find cheap deals.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is currently open. All Langham hotels, including this one, have new policies in place that include:

  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures implemented in all public, high-contact areas.

  • Hotel rooms are meticulously cleaned, and all luggage arriving at the hotel is safely and professionally sanitized before being delivered to the rooms.
  • Social distancing is observed in all public areas as required by local regulations; this includes restaurants, bars, banquet spaces, and gyms and spas.

  • Masks and disposable gloves are provided to guests upon request and sanitizers are available in all public areas.

Read Business Insider's full hotel review for Langham Chicago

The Peninsula Chicago

Foto: Source: The Peninsula Chicago

Book the Peninsula Chicago starting at $359 per night

Often named not only the best hotel in Chicago but also one of the best in the US, the five-star Peninsula Chicago earned a spot on our list for its winning combination of service and elegance.

We appreciate all the plush details found within rooms from the Pratesi linens to the TV above the soaking tub in the marble bathroom. It's opulence at its finest. Although it's pricey, we have found rates in the low season for just above $400. Sometimes they have special offers like a third night free.

Insider tip: try to stay over Friday or Saturday night so as not to miss the decadent, chocolate buffet of your dreams in the Lobby restaurant. This is also where the celebrated Peninsula Afternoon Tea takes place. And don't miss the 1930s supper club decor and world-class dining at Shanghai Terrace or the views of Michigan Avenue from the rooftop terrace.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 5 out of 205 Rating: 9.6 out of 10

Pros: There are so many to list, but none surpass the service, sophistication, and attention to detail, which past guests overwhelmingly rave about. The enormous spa and fitness center have a large pool and lesser-known terrace for lounging and soaking in one of the best views of the city skyline.

Cons: The hotel is expensive and it's an indulgence. There are certainly cheaper luxury options. Plus, because of its popularity, the bar and restaurants can be very busy and booked up way in advance.

COVID-19 status and policies: This hotel is currently open with new policies in place that include:

  • Temperature screening of all guests and employees.
  • New in-room amenities including face masks, hand sanitizer, and alcohol wipes.
  • Reduced contact for check-in/out.
  • A private messaging app service for contactless guest requests.
  • 24/7 on-call house doctor.
  • New processes and increased frequency of cleaning of air filters and air handling units.

Read Business Insider's full hotel review for Peninsula Chicago