Perched alongside Chicago’s most famous parks (at South Michigan Ave and Balbo Street), the Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel has a long, rich history and a desirable set of assets and amenities that make it a worthy choice for gay travelers.
It’s steps from Millennium and Grant Parks, home to art museums, fountains, lush lawns, outdoor performance spaces and, of course, the famous reflective “Cloud Gate” sculpture, informally known as the Bean. It’s near the financial and theater district, the Loop (and the “El,” what we know of as the subway in New York). Downtown is where most major hotels are located in Chicago. Boystown is a good $20 cab ride away but you can hop on the Red Line which goes right to the heart of Boystown in about 20 minutes for a lot less. (Take the El at Harrison and get off at Belmont.) There’s shopping and a Starbucks on the Concourse level below the lobby.
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The hotel has friendly, responsive service and an incredibly good gym for a hotel. The cardio machines all have views of the park. There are weight machines, cables, and free weights and even space for stretching and that all important abs work.
Opened in 1910 (then shuttered in 1999 and reopened in 2008 following a $123 million top-to-bottom renovation) the hotel boasts a proud history (lots of presidents stayed here) and architectural heritage as an importan Beaux-Arts landmark. It has 332 rooms and suites, among them the famous Presidential Suite with the original “smoke filled” room where the presidential nomination of Warren G. Harding during the 1920 convention was brokered.
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