2012 Wish List #1: Ian Schrager’s Public Hotel, Chicago is a must-visit for us this year. And rather than visiting this spectacular soaring city during its icy winter months (both of our previous visits to the city have seen us brave sub-zero temperatures in order to patronise its excellent restaurants, boutiques and art galleries), this time we’ll be heading there during its balmy summer, to make the most of the beautiful Gold Coast on the shores of Lake Michigan.
And where better to base ourselves than a Schrager hotel? The legendary hotelier has won over the critics with his masterful reworking of one of Chicago’s classics, the Ambassador East, home of the celebrity hangout The Pump Room. Rather than a collaborative effort and bringing in an über-designer, Schrager’s worked his own magic on the place. But this isn’t decadent, frivolous luxe: this is Schrager’s attempt at no-frills. We think austerity chic would be a better descriptive as the design details are just beautiful. Despite its price point, with rooms from just $130 a night, which in a city of this size is remarkable (there’s even going to be a $1 sale for rooms), the in-room and lobby amenities are excellent, Jean-Georges Vongerichten is at the stove (where he serves his signature dessert of salted caramel ice cream sundae with candied peanuts, caramel popcorn, chocolate sauce and cream for just $7) and Schrager insists the service will be more Four Seasons than budget hotel. Better still, it’s pet-friendly.
PUBLIC Chicago, 1301 North State Parkway, Chicago, IL 60610
Tel: +1 312 787 3700, www.publichotels.com