Midwest Living Review
When the River Hotel opened in April 2009, it welcomed the public -- not just private club members, as was previously the case -- to enjoy great views of Chicago's river and the cityscape twinkling in the distance. It's also just a hop across Wacker Drive to the lighted riverfront walk where a bronze statue of Mr. Chicago -- Tribune columnist Irv Kupcinek -- welcomes visitors. It's likewise convenient to head north on Michigan Avenue or south to Columbia College and across to Buckingham Fountain. The hotel cultivates a corporate boutique feel with dark walnut desks, vibrant colors and high-tech services, but weekend leisure travelers should also appreciate the sleek contemporary designs and quiet atmosphere. Be sure to request a room with a river view. Use automated check-in/check-out stations, or staff can assist with rooms as well as discounts to architectural and other popular city tours. Standard rooms from $139. There's comfy seating for small gatherings in the open lobby area and at Bella Bacino's, the hotel's bar and restaurant. If the weather's warm, enjoy the pizza and Italian food served at outside tables with views of the river.