You’ve seen renovated historic hotels before. But too often they come at the price of guest rooms that feel more like the size of a bathroom. You won’t face that kind of compromise at the 16-story The Talbott Hotel in Chicago, which wrapped up a $15 million renovation in 2010. Stunning window boxes and an alfresco dining area make a positive first impression that carries throughout. Valets and bellmen welcome guests, while sophisticated clerks and concierge stand ready to serve inside. A polished-mahogany lobby with coffered ceilings and Oriental rugs exudes class, and the 149 spacious, traditionally styled guest rooms and suites offer comfort, including baths with glass-walled showers and heated marble floors.
Because of its Gold Coast location and room rates starting around $175, the Talbott caters to a well-heeled crowd. But it doesn’t put on airs. We visited with a lively 6-year-old in tow, and each employee felt as comfortable talking with him about his Angry Birds T-shirt as they did offering dinner recommendations. 20 E. Delaware Place, Chicago (800) 825-2688; talbotthotel.com