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10.24.2013
Open> Aloft Chicago City Center
HOK brings new energy to a hotel in a neighborhood known for its night life.
John Bellenis Photography

Aloft Chicago City Center
515 North Clarke Street
Chicago
Tel: 312.661.1000
Architect: HOK

River North’s converted lofts and basement clubs have helped build a 24/7 atmosphere downtown, but those looking for shuteye now have more options, too.

Aloft, a Starwood Hotels member, is one of three hotel brands to call a new block of hotels home. They share the complex known as Clark and Grand Hotels with two other brands—Hyatt Place and Fairfield Inn and Suites—in the area bounded by Clark, Dearborn, Grand, and Illinois avenues. In all, the hotels total 621 rooms across three buildings. White Lodging, which manages all three properties, and developer Friedman Properties aimed to offer tourists reasonable rates in a district known for its nightlife.

The Aloft building’s glazed facade seems more in line with the neighborhood’s new energy than some of its brick-clad neighbors. Its blue glass surface is accented by a repeating pattern of dark, Tertris-like S-shapes. With HOK’s flair, the brand’s “different by design” maxim becomes apparent. Visitors enter beneath a kinked metal awning bearing rainbow stripes. A blue neon marquee advertises Aloft to the North and South with a tiled zigzag profile that calls to mind a midcentury advertisement.

 
 

The rooms themselves continue that vocabulary; bands of bright color on couches and cylindrical throw pillows pop out against a subdued palette that is more common among contemporary hotels. Floor-to-ceiling windows open portions of the rooms to expansive views.

Chris Bentley