Checking In | Royal Sonesta Downtown Chicago

This downtown hotel is a great base for first-timers to the Windy City 

When you’re on a city break in a destination you’ve never been to before, like Chicago, convenience in a hotel is key but you don’t want to sacrifice comfort at the same time – especially if there’s lots of walking and eating on the cards. 

The Royal Sonesta Downtown has convenience nailed. It’s located at the top of the Loop, the main downtown area of the city; it’s right by the Chicago River; it’s minutes away from Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park; and it’s close to several L train stations. Happily, it ticks the comfort boxes too. That almost riverside location means many of the rooms come with amazing views – we had a stunning one of some of the city’s most famous bridges and skyscrapers, including the Wrigley Building and Marina City from our 34th-floor suite. 

Design is a big part of all Royal Sonesta hotels (there are several properties across the USA and three in Chicago, including Royal Sonesta River North and the Allegro Royal Sonesta), each one with its own mascot (this one has a cow, the Countess of Chicago) and a distinctive look. The Royal Sonesta Downtown is the most contemporary of the three with mid-century modern touches in the lobby, like low-slung chairs, curved lines and artfully placed ceramics. Statement lamps, sideboards and swivel chairs continue that vibe in the bedrooms, all of which are generously sized. 

If space is your number one requirement, you get it and then some with the King suites; the one we stayed in was bigger than our London flat, but then everything is bigger in America, including the bed and the televisions, plural. As well as a modern black-and-white bathroom with a walk-in rainhead shower and Further products, there’s a separate living area with a large sofa, a dining table and a kitchenette complete with a mini-fridge, Nespresso machine, and space for storing snacks from the lobby mini market, leftovers from Hoyt’s (the hotel’s American tavern), or takeout deep dish. There’s also a fitness centre if you feel like you need to burn it off.

Not only are the staff super welcoming – and well-armed with the all-important pizza recs – but there’s no trade-off between space and a central location at the Royal Sonesta Downtown, which is exactly what you want in the big city. 

Rates start from £204 with British Airways Holidays

71 E Wacker Drive, Chicago, USA, 60601