Chicago's hospitality industry is roaring back to life this summer, and the city has its first exciting new hotel opening since the pandemic destroyed the city's tourism industry last year. Pendry Chicago reimagines one of Chicago's most iconic Art Deco landmarks in a glamorous new fashion. The Burnham Brothers-designed Carbide & Carbon Building stands out in the city skyline with its Champagne bottle design, layering black granite, green and gold terracotta and bronze trim, topped off with an ornate cap of gleaming 24-karat gold leaf. Here are five reasons to check in now.
Chicago's landmark Carbide & Carbon building was formerly home to the Hard Rock Hotel for many years and more recently, a brief stint as St. Jane Hotel, before Pendry Chicago rebranded the 364-room hotel and opened earlier this summer.
The location on Michigan Avenue just two blocks from Millennium Park and a block south of the Chicago River is among the best addresses in the city for sightseeing, with easy access to transportation around town via Chicago's “L” train. Many of Chicago's most famous attractions, including the Cloud Gate sculpture, Navy Pier, Chicago Theatre, Art Institute of Chicago and shopping along the Magnificent Mile are all within easy walking distance.
Food + Beverage
Executive chef-partner Donald Young received a Michelin star helming the kitchen at Temporis, so you know he has the fine dining chops required for the opulent menu at Venteux, a lively French brasserie with an opulent shellfish, caviar and champagne bar. The menu stays true to French classics with steak tartare, French onion soup, whole dry-aged duck and dover sole meunière. Young's sauces are sublime and he's best known for his duck, glazed with a touch of black walnut syrup.
His desserts are showstoppers too, all with distinctive savory undertones. The Grand Marnier soufflé is textbook, like a cloud imbued with foie gras and speckled with black sesame seeds. It's perhaps the most delicate foie gras dish I've ever tasted. The chocolate and rye dessert lives up to the tableside pomp with a swirl of smoke and fresh poured chocolate magic shell announcing its arrival. Deep smoky aromas permeate every bite, acting as the perfect foil to sweet silky frozen cream and fudgy chocolate.
Brunch is a little more playful with bottomless mimosas and dishes like Toulouse sausage Chicago-style, served with mustard seed and cornichon relish, heirloom tomatoes, charred leek and foie gras mustard on a poppy seed bun.
For the first time ever, the Carbide & Carbon building's rooftop is open to the public, and the intimate garden at Château Carbide 24 stories above Michigan Avenue brings the airy allure of the French Riviera to the heart of Chicago's Loop. This secret open-air oasis has quickly become the hottest rooftop in the city this summer among the au courant after opening at the end of June.
The all-day, rosé-forward bar features rosé and champagne bottle service, hand-rolled sushi, cheese and charcuterie, frosé and panoramic city views. Most seats are indoors, in two adjoining rooms encased in glass windows with plush velvet banquettes for up to 80 guests. A gold-trimmed bar displays bottles of specialty rosé by Chateau d’Esclans alongside an open-view sushi station.
I booked a one-bedroom suite and was pleasantly surprised to find two full bathrooms. A friend once told me that separate bathrooms are the secret to a successful marriage, and Pendry Chicago appears to agree. Both bathrooms are well-stocked with full-size amenities by MiN New York. The Momento scent is decidedly unisex – a woodsy, sweet myrrh mingling with faint floral notes of lavender and jasmine.
Not all one-bedroom suites have two bathrooms, but it's worth requesting if you book this category.
Three corner king rooms on the highest floor even have Tonal digital training equipment for on-demand, in-room fitness, but the fitness center is open 24/7 too. For turndown service, colorful macarons surprise and delight as a final sweet bite before falling into peaceful sleep in the plush king bed.
Style & Design
Alessandro Munge’s Studio Munge led the redesign of the building's public spaces, with bold, masculine style and artwork by Amsterdam based artist, Arnout Meijer. Guest rooms are lighter and brighter with gauzy curtains, cream carpeting and white walls accented with black-and-white photos from Chicago days of yesteryear. Marble tables, leather seating and a dark wood headboard anchor the modern minimalist aesthetic with a bold but simple contrast.
Check out the billiard gallery, a playful oasis for artists and pool players adjacent to the hotel lobby. It's the perfect place to sip your welcome drink and view the rotating collection of artwork.