Talbott Hotel The family-owned Talbott is a small, European-style
gem that's a fine choice for families. Constructed in the 1920s as an apartment
building, the Talbott was converted to a hotel in 1989. That's great news for
families, because the hotel has many suites with two bedrooms and two bath-
rooms, plus kitchen facilities. The location just off the Magnificent Mile is
superb and close to family-friendly restaurants such as Johnny Rocket's. The
wood-paneled lobby, decorated with leather sofas and velvety armchairs, two
working fireplaces, tapestries, and numerous French horns used for fox hunts, is
intimate and inviting—all the better in which to enjoy your complimentary
continental breakfast. Kids' amenities are sparser here than at some larger hotels,
but the homey, nonchain hotel atmosphere, large suites, availability of kitchens,
and prime location make this one of my favorites for families.
Rooms aren't quite as distinctive, although they are decorated in a perfectly
comfortable midrange hotel style; they vary in size, so ask when making reser-
vations. Suites and the hotel's “executive king” rooms entice with Jacuzzi tubs;
suites have separate sitting areas with sofa beds and dining tables. The Talbott is
not for families in need of extensive hotel facilities, but the cozy atmosphere and
personal level of service appeals to visitors looking for the feeling of a small inn
rather than a sprawling, corporate hotel.
20 E. Delaware Place (between Rush and State sts.), Chicago, IL 60611. & 800/TALBOTT or 312/944-4970.
Fax 312/944-7241. www.talbotthotel.com. 149 units. $149-$289 double; $319-$449 suite. Kids under 18
stay free in parent's room. Rollaways $20/night; cribs free. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Self-parking $21. Subway/El:
Red Line to Chicago/State. Amenities: Lounge; access to nearby health club; concierge; business services; 24-
hr. room service; laundry service; dry cleaning; executive rooms. In room: A/C; TV, minibar, hair dryer, iron, safe.
Tremont Hotel Slightly more upscale than the Talbott but with the same
small, European-style feel, the Tremont caters mainly to adults. Suites are the
only realistic family option, as most guest rooms tend to be on the small (or shall
we say, “intimate”) side. In fact, all rooms except the suites have only one bed
and accommodate two people. Rooms in the Tremont House—a separate build-
ing next door—have kitchenettes. Suites are designed so one room includes a
king bed with its own television, minibar, and bathroom. The adjoining living
room offers a sofa bed, a television, minibar, and bathroom. The cozy lobby with
a fireplace sets the mood from the start. The furnishings are tasteful without
being somber, and rooms are cheery, with yellow walls and large windows.
The steak-and-chops restaurant off the lobby, the memorabilia-filled Mike
Ditka's Restaurant (p. 117), is co-owned by the legendary former Chicago
Bears football coach.
100 E. Chestnut St. (1 block west of Michigan Ave.), Chicago, IL 60611. & 800/621-8133 or 312/751-1900.
Fax 312/751-8650. www.tremontchicago.com. 130 units. $119-$279 double; $199-$299 suite. Kids under 18
stay free in parent's room. Cribs free; no rollaways (most rooms are too small). AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet
parking $34. Subway/El: Red Line to Chicago/State. Amenities: Restaurant; small exercise room (and access
to nearby health club); concierge; business services; massage; babysitting; laundry service; dry cleaning. In
room: A/C, TV/VCR, minibar, coffeemaker, hair dryer, iron, safe, CD player.
Allerton Crowne Plaza A historic hotel that received a fairly bland
makeover a few years ago, the Allerton was built in 1924 as a “club hotel” pro-
viding permanent residences for single men and women. It's now been converted
into the flagship hotel of the upscale Crowne Plaza chain. The Italian Renais-
sance-inspired exterior has been painstakingly restored to its original dark-red
brickwork and stone carvings and limestone base. Too bad the distinctive exte-
rior style wasn't replicated inside. However, visitors who want to stay in a place