Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the Public after a harrowing taxi ride from Chicago Midway Airport, glad to be in one piece when one of the Public valets welcomed me. The lobby featured a classic chandelier, gorgeous antique mirrors and a front desk reminiscent of the famous “Bean” sculpture (officially Cloud Gate) in Millennium Park. The desk attendant checked me in quickly and informed me I was staying in the Harry Belafonte Suite. Many of the suites are named after famous guests who stayed at the hotel or dined in the Pump Room, a storied restaurant on the first floor.
Guest Quarters: My suite was large and modern. The Public is an Ian Schrager property, and his design elements were obvious throughout. Even the beds are modeled after Ian’s own furnishings in his New York City apartment. The first room was furnished with several couches, a flat-screen TV and a desk large enough to be a conference table. The desk was adorned in a unique way, including a picture of the room’s namesake and an interesting series of pictures of a cow wearing different hats.
While the suite was spacious, the bathroom was slightly more modest in size but in no way cramped. This was apparently a result of the recent remodel being limited by the age of the building and original structure. I was only staying two nights, but the walk-in closets would provide more than enough storage space for an extended stay.
Services/Amenities: The Pump Room, now run by Jean- Georges Vongerichten, has a long history of attracting celebrities and politicians alike. Among the black-and-white photos hung near the entrance I spotted two presidents on a wall adjacent to Don King and Chicago rapper Common. The “Chairman of the Board” still watches over his favorite table inside the restaurant. My colleagues and I sat in the bar area during our first night in town and shared a margherita flatbread along with guacamole and some excellent cocktails. I enjoyed a perfect Vesper martini and an above-the-line Pimm’s Cup. The hotel offers a second lobby bar and a screening room as well. Complimentary bikes provide a unique element for fitness purposes or for an impromptu self-guided tour of the local Gold Coast neighborhood.
The Experience: The location of the Public may be a bit removed, depending on where one’s business lies, but its home in the Gold Coast neighborhood makes the few minutes of extra travel time well worth staying here. The local area is walkable to restaurants and nightlife. My stay at the Public was memorable, and I will surely return, if only in the hope of bumping into someone famous over some great food and drinks!
[item check=yes]Less than 10 minutes for check-in[/item]
[item]Separate tub and shower[/item]
[item check=yes]Large vanity[/item]
[item check=yes]High-quality towels[/item]
[item check=yes]Powerful, unattached hair dryer[/item]
[item check=yes]High-quality bed linens[/item]
[item check=yes]Large, flat-screen television[/item]
[item check=yes]Large desk with convenient outlets[/item]
[item check=yes]Large, complimentary laptop safe[/item]
[item]Complimentary in-room WiFi[/item]
[item check=yes]Complimentary bottled water[/item]
[item check=yes]Stocked minibar[/item]
[item check=yes]Ample lighting[/item]
[item check=yes]Iron and ironing board[/item]
[item check=yes]On-site restaurant[/item]
[item check=yes]24-hour room service[/item]
[item check=yes]24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center[/item]
1301 N. State Parkway
Chicago, IL 60610
tel 312 787 3700
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