With Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport having just overtaken Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as No. 1 in the nation for flight traffic -- 903,747 flights took off from and landed at O’Hare in 2018, compared to 895,502 in Atlanta, according to the Federal Aviation Administration -- it’s no surprise that hotels in and around the Windy City facility are opening or investing in extensive renovations to better service the increased influx of visitors.
The latest among them is the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, which has just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation in Rosemont, Ill. -- just a few minutes from O’Hare. Inspired by the concept of “a walk in the park,” the project took cues from Chicago’s green spaces and their iconic structures, including Millennium Park’s famous Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate and Crown Fountains. One highlight is the revamped lobby, where there’s a new floor-to-ceiling green-moss wall and a faint image of architect Daniel Burnham’s historic 1909 Plan of Chicago. The hotel’s 556 guest rooms were redesigned with warm wood tones and shades of green and gray, a reference to the lawns and gardens that punctuate the concrete cityscape.
Elsewhere, there are hallways adorned with new artwork and 53,000 square feet of refreshed meeting space, not to mention several longstanding amenities that have raised the bar on airport-hotel offerings. Among them: an on-site art gallery, a fully equipped fitness center, a live music and comedy venue, and The Ashburn, a well-rated local restaurant inspired by Chicago's first airport, Ashburn Flying Field.
According to general manager Hans Ritten, "We are excited to be able to offer an even more elevated experience near O’Hare International Airport."
Four More Airport Hotels Soaring in Chicago
With Chicago Midway International Airport also drawing reams of passengers, other area hotels are investing in upping their appeal factor. Here are four:
• Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport. Although it’s one of the oldest airport properties in the country, the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport also is one of the most convenient. That’s because the hotel, which opened in 1973, is located on the airport’s campus and connected directly to its terminals via underground walkway. That makes it an especially popular destination for “fly-in, fly-out” meetings. Along with 860 guest rooms -- including soundproof “day use” rooms that are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for jet-lagged travelers – features include 37,000 square feet of meeting space, two restaurants, an indoor swimming pool and an 8,000-square-foot fitness center. Although Hilton continues to manage the property, the city of Chicago assumed ownership in January and has promised a significant renovation to modernize the facility.
• Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago O’Hare Rosemont. Having completed an $11 million renovation in spring 2017, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago O’Hare Rosemont sports refreshed guest rooms, meeting space, public spaces and landscaping. Less than 2 miles from O’Hare, the hotel has a total of 294 guest rooms and over 11,000 square feet of meeting and event space for groups of up to 360 people. Amenities include a bar and restaurant, a fitness center and an indoor pool.
• The Rose Hotel Chicago O’Hare, Tapestry Collection by Hilton. The City of Rosemont -- where O’Hare is located -- welcomed its first boutique hotel in November 2018. Part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection, The Rose Hotel Chicago O’Hare stands apart from other airport properties because of its custom, contemporary design. Case in point: The lobby sports a 44-foot-by-11-foot “Zebra wall” as well as two abstract wall coverings featuring the Chicago skyline. The same art-and-design ethos continues throughout the hotel, which has 165 guest rooms, a bar and restaurant, a fitness center and 6,000 square feet of function space encompassing eight meeting spaces, each of which is named after a rose.
• Chicago Marriott Midway. Hotel options at Midway Airport are decidedly fewer than those at O’Hare. For small to mid-sized meetings, however, a solid choice is the Chicago Marriott Midway. Renovated most recently in 2012, the property -- just two blocks from the airport -- is one of Midway’s largest, with 200 guest rooms and 5,700 square feet of meeting space for groups of up to 360 people. There’s also an indoor pool, a Starbucks, a restaurant and a bar.