usa | chicago | public hotel
While in Chicago for an April weekend in 2012, I had the chance to stay at PUBLIC. The hotel had opened the previous September, in the city’s Gold Coast district, with an m.o. to offer luxe at an affordable price. A superlative experience that is available for everyone. Indeed, I noticed a variety of guests in the Living Room (their term for lobby) … Some enjoying a sexy weekend with their partner; a few days with the fam; girls on a getaway; many on business. Spied SNL‘s Rachel Dratch checking in with her hubby and kiddy. On a tour of the property, I learned this place is definitely no stranger to celebs. As the reinvented Ambassador East Hotel (that used to be two buildings connected by an underground tunnel) Ian Schrager’s PUBLIC continues to be a social place where boldfaced names come to stay and/or dine at the famed Pump Room. There’s plenty of photographic evidence to prove the likes of Liz Taylor and Lucille Ball were there. Adding to the drama of the property’s former life, is the rumour that Marilyn Monroe and JFK used to canoodle in that underground tunnel.
And since food is at the forefront, when the invitation was extended to lunch at the Pump Room it was happily accepted. After all, who could say no to a menu created by James Beard award winning chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten? Starting with whole wheat flatbread topped with black truffle and fontina cheese, we sampled crab toast, yellow fin tuna tartare, herb french fries, a market veg Greek salad, and the grilled chicken chopped salad. The verdict? The restaurant is a must whether you are staying at the hotel or not. And if you’re not, it would be worth popping by to see how designers Yabu Pushelberg retained the original architecture, as well as the gorgeous chandelier at the entrance. Locals love this place. The Library and Back Room host the stylish set almost every night of the week. The latter then flips to screen cartoons for the kids on weekend mornings (complimentary cereal included).
As far as the rooms go, I was curious about their ‘no colour’ colour palette description. Checked into my loft suite and, in a word, genius. So serene and perfect for a cozy weekend in the Windy City.