Chicago, United States

The James Chicago

Rates from (inc tax)$189.00

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (21USD), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Private art gallery


21st century Magnificent Mile

Fresh from a renovation, the James Chicago hotel – the first of the iconic boutique hotel brand – doesn’t have to try to be its siblings. Gone are the days of Chicago playing second fiddle to New York; the hotel revels in the city’s renowned local art, takes its meat-loving tendencies to a whole new, gourmet level and capitalises on its lakeside location for some seriously romantic views.

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Welcome drinks for two


Photos The James Chicago hotel – Chicago – United States

Need to know


297, including 106 suites.


2pm, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from $189.00, excluding tax at 17.4 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD221.89), via, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates are room only; à la carte breakfast available from US$7.


The hotel is filled with paintings, sculptures and other works by local artists, from Joel Ross’ Room 28 to the floor-to-ceiling lift-side print of trees. Scan the QR code next to each with your smartphone for info on each piece.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout, spa, gym, DVD library. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, minibar or wet-bar, bathrobes, Intelligent Nutrients toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Loft suites not only have plenty of well-appointed entertaining space, but they also include a media room, where a raised lounge bed and a projector let you relax and watch a movie on the big-screen after a day out and about.

Packing tips

Runners needn’t worry about bringing trail maps; the hotel provides run/walk maps for lakeside paths and scenic city routes.


The Spa by Asha offers both in-spa and in-room treatments. Work out solo at the 2,000 sq ft, 24-hour gym, make an appointment with a personal trainer or try out one of the customized fitness programs designed by fitness guru Jim Karas.


Dogs and cats of any size are welcome to stay, for US$75 per booking. All pets receive an organic doggie bed, food and water bowls, a welcome treat bag, 15 per cent off at Tails in the City pet boutique and a special Burke Bark Bites room service menu. See more pet-friendly hotels in Chicago.


Little ones will be stylishly cared for with kid-sized bikes, car seats and colouring books. Children’s menu options are available in both David Burke’s Primehouse and room service.


Little ones will be stylishly cared for with the Lil' James program, which includes a special welcome pack in a James backpack, arts and crafts from Kiwi Crate, kid-sized bikes, kid-friendly movies and more. Children’s menu options are available in both David Burke’s Primehouse and room service.

Best for

All ages

Recommended rooms

Rollaways (US$30) and cribs (free) are available in all rooms except the penthouses and apartments. Two penthouses and six king rooms offer interconnecting rooms. The media room lounge in Lofts can be converted into a full-size bed.


During the warmer months, bicycles for children are available to borrow, so the whole family can ride along the lake. Kiwi Crate provides hands-on arts and crafts and science activities so kids can play creatively at the hotel or on the road. For those who love to colour, the Urban Infant Inner City Artist colouring kit will keep them entertained. Child-friendly movies selections, Nintendo Wiis and games are also available. The nearby Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier offers plenty of hands-on activities for young’uns.


David Burke’s Primehouse – whose menu is used for room service as well – offers a full kids’ menu for children 10 and under. Favourites include Kobe corn dogs, grilled cheese, and chicken noodle soup. The fridge in each room can also be emptied to store food and milk. There's also a special milk and cookies turn-down service for children.


Babysitting can be arranged in advance through the front desk.

No need to pack

Car and booster seats, bike seats, helmets and colouring books are available.


Child-sized bathtubs for those under 24 months are available upon request. The hotel also has a wide selection of children's books and board games.


In addition to locally sourced and organic ingredients used in the restaurant, the James uses eco-friendly cleaning and bath products and provides bicycles and a hybrid car service for guests to get around town.

Food and Drink

Photos The James Chicago hotel – Chicago – United States

Top Table

For an intimate dining experience, book one of the corner booths and settle into the overstuffed red leather banquettes. For a truly memorable experience, book the chef's table in the private dining room.

Dress Code

Relaxed and unpretentious. Chuck Taylors and skinny jeans work just as well as a well-pressed button-up and peep-toe heels. If you want to get into the restaurant’s mood, throw on some cowboy boots in a nod toward David Burke, who owns his own bull.

Hotel restaurant

As the chef of record for two of the three James hotels, acclaimed restaurateur David Burke has created one of Chicago’s most iconic and popular steakhouses in David Burke’s Primehouse. Considering the Himalayan salt-tiled aging room on the premises – ask for a tour when you make your reservation – the range of steaks and the award-winning burger are must-trys, but you’d be remiss to skimp on whimsical starters like the Kobe beef corn dogs and pretzel-crusted crab cakes. In the warmer months, chef Rick Gresh often uses a special al fresco menu to highlight the local fruits and vegetables that are often overshadowed by the meat. Breakfast offers something for everyone, from fresh juices to fluffy omelettes to a short rib breakfast sandwich on a bagel. In addition to the Primehouse, Burke's Bacon Bar offers sandwiches, salads and desserts for less formal, all-day dining.

Hotel bar

An extension of Primehouse that spills out into the relaxed lobby, the Primehouse Bar serves up a curated list of well-mixed cocktails, international wines and connoisseur-pleasing beers to a lively crowd of locals and visitors. A separate menu of creative caviars and cheeses paired with local spirits is available exclusively in the bar, though you can also order from the Primehouse menu. Head through an unmarked door in Burke's Bacon Bar to make your way to Jimmy, a trendy, speakeasy-style artisanal cocktail bar.

Last orders

The restaurant serves breakfast from 7am daily, lunch or brunch from 11am to 3pm and dinner from 5:30pm until 10pm. The Primehouse Bar serves cocktails, wine and beer until approximately midnight on weeknights, 2am Fridays and Saturdays.

Room service

The full Primehouse menu is available in room during restaurant hours. A late night snacks menu is available from 10pm to 7am.


Photos The James Chicago hotel – Chicago – United States
The James Chicago
55 East Ontario
United States


Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway Airport are both 30–40 minutes away by car and have regular flights to most major US and international cities. O’Hare is also a hub for United Airlines (


Amtrak trains run in and out of Chicago Union Station on Midwestern routes. The closest L (the city’s above-ground metro) stations are the Chicago and Grand stops on the red line, which offer direct connection to the Loop and other neighbourhoods around the city.


You can easily hire a car at the airport, but it’s not necessary if you plan on staying local. Taxis are plentiful and many attractions and restaurants are within sauntering or L-ing distance. Valet parking is available the hotel for US$52 per night with in-and-out privileges, while self-parking is available for $60 per 24 hours without in-and-out privileges.

Worth getting out of bed for

Thanks to its prime Magnificent Mile location, the James puts you within walking and biking distance of some of the city’s top sights and best shopping. Simply walk out the front door and onto Michigan Ave to be surrounded by designer shops and department stores, like Nordstrom, whose shoe department many tout as the best in the country. Walk or bike across the river to Millennium Park, especially famous for Anish Kapoor’s shiny, bean-shaped Cloud Gate sculpture. From the park, take the walkway across the street to the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano. En route to the beachy shores of Lake Michigan – we particularly recommend picnicking and soaking up the sun on Oak Street Beach – stop off at the Museum of Contemporary Art to expand your knowledge of the region’s recent art history.


Local restaurants

You’ll be spoiled at Primehouse, but it’s just a jumping-off point for sampling one of the country’s most exciting food and drink scenes. Exceptional restaurants surround the James, starting around the Magnificent Mile and stretching out to River North and up to the Gold Coast. French Laundry alumnus Ryan Poli’s Little Market (+1 312 640 8141) – a self-proclaimed ‘American brasserie’ – offers envelope-pushing cuisine and cocktails in a refined environment. Sample Rick Bayless’ renowned nouveau Mexican cuisine at his flagship restaurant, Frontera Grill (+1 312 661 1434). Table Fifty-Two (+1 312 573 4000) – owned by Oprah’s former personal chef, Art Smith – serves up haute Southern cuisine among warm and welcoming service. When it comes to classic Chicago, Gibsons Bar and Steakhouse (+1 312 266 8999) is the perfect spot to relax over a steak and bottle of red wine. For a more stylish, updated take on the iconic steakhouse, make your way to River North’s acclaimed Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf (+1 312 624 8154), where farm-to-table ingredients, inventive recipes and plush leather banquettes are the name of the game.


Local bars

Downtown Chicago is more a restaurant scene than a bar one, but you’ll find a few gems if you know where to look. Sip well-mixed cocktails amid mahogany and leather in the Coq d’Or bar (+1 312 932 4623) at the iconic Drake Hotel. Head up to the Signature Lounge at the 95th (+1 312 787 9596), the bar at the top of the Hancock Building, for the romantic lake views rather than for the drinks.



Photos The James Chicago hotel – Chicago – United States

Anonymous review

When summertime hits, my compass for travel tends to point towards coastal regions and turquoise waters – not the Midwest. To me, that region has meant a halfway point between my home base in New York City and the West Coast. But when I was asked to attend a friend’s post-wedding celebration at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, I was determined to maximize this summer invitation. With that, my best friend (my Ms Smith for the trip) and I made our way to the Windy City.

Two years ago, my bestie and I attended another friend’s wedding in California’s idyllic Sonoma Valley. We made a five-day road trip of the occasion which would be hard to top, regardless of destination, but who were we to deny another chance for adventure?

With my plans to stay at The James Chicago in the tony River North district, and hers at another hotel nearby, it was already clear that we’ve both come a long way in our years as travel companions. Adios shared double beds, and hello to a suite of one’s own…

I arrived Friday afternoon to gloriously warm weather, a pleasant welcome as I took in the downtown bustle. Inside the James’ sunlight-flooded lobby, the minimalist, sleek-lined furniture lent an undeniable West Coast feeling to the space – surprisingly modern and breezy without trying too hard.

Upstairs in my King Deluxe Suite, the stripped-down decor and elemental details, like a glass milk-bottle terrarium in the bathroom, definitely spoke to my minimalist side. But there were two features that especially charmed me: a standing mini-bar station with a pull-out counter – a contemporary riff on vintage steamer trunks – and a corner nook with a built-in desk and a globe pendant lamp that swung out from the wall. It was a plum work spot for this writer.

After some time spent happily typing away in the nook, I set out to meet Ms Smith at The Aviary, a much-hailed cocktail bar that’s redefining the cocktail as we know it (read: complicated and painstakingly-made concoctions you could never reproduce at home, but oh-so-good). We toasted to our Chicago visit over a flight of extraordinary libations before heading to dinner at Nico Osteria, a buzzy Italian restaurant (housed in the Thompson Chicago hotel) that came highly recommended from colleagues in the food biz.

Sated after several shared dishes and two glasses of verdicchio, we deemed the night a triumphant start to the weekend. A feeling that only doubled as I retired to my king-sized bed, where I drifted off to sleep feeling very regal indeed.

Having wandered downstairs in search of caffeine the next morning, I settled in for a bite at the hotel’s restaurant, David Burke’s Primehouse. Besides my bottomless carafe of coffee, an order of yogurt and fruit salad, and a freshly-pressed juice seemed like an appropriate breakfast… until an oversized bowl teeming with pineapple, melon, and berries arrived. As Ms Smith and I had observed over a mountain of asparagus at dinner the night before: whatever Chicago lacks in comparison to cities like New York and Los Angeles, it certainly makes up for with its friendliness and portion sizes. And that’s not a bad thing.

More gut-busting meals were ahead, so I made a point to hit the hotel’s gym. I found a number of treadmills and machines and an extensive rack of free weights in a remarkably empty space (take that, NYC gyms).

Meeting up at Eataly, the gourmet Italian market's second US outpost, we kicked things off with a nutella-filled brioche and more coffee, before eating our way along Randolph Street. We had to pop by Do-Rite donuts, followed by a hamburger and pile of fries at the meat-lover’s haven Au Cheval, and then some samplings from the French Market’s various vendors. Thankfully, another perfect summer day made it possible to walk our multiple meals off.

The sunshine, however, didn’t last. Moments before party time that evening, a torrential storm came a-thundering, forcing us to scrap our plans to walk there. I remembered the hotel’s complimentary car service, a swanky Audi sedan that dropped guests off within two miles of the hotel. Good news, it was available and ready to take us that instant. The rest of the night went by in a blur, as all good parties often do, though I can’t say I wasn’t excited for a second night’s sleep in that big cushy bed.

Having indulged in quite a few too many glasses of bubbly and several hunks of wedding cake at the party, I awoke the next morning craving a repeat repast of coffee, veggie juice, and a trough of fruit salad.

Checking-out was less than desirable, though. There was still so much to do and see (and yes, eat!). But, as is the case with all my favorite cities, there’s always reason to come back. I can say the West Coast has a very friendly rival now… and one that requires half the travel time.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The James Chicago’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The location is near Magnificent Mile.

Don’t expect

Bright fresh light rooms or corridors.


Stayed on 2 Jun 2015