The chandeliers in the lobby of the uber trendy Wit hotel set the tone for this hip happening new hotel in Chicago. White feathery wings soar in the two-story glass walled lobby. They are a whimsical take on a traditional chandelier and the “whimsical” part is what The Wit is all about. .
Witty features make guests smile almost constantly. The bird and animal sounds in the elevator lobbies, Al Capone’s voice on your wake up call, funny postcards in the stationary packet, yoyo’s left on your pillow and comic selections broadcasted over the sound systems are all designed to delight and entertain guests who have visited The Wit since it opened May 2009.
Stuffy and pretentious, it is not.
It’s also not predictable. One look at the 27 floor green thunderbolt on the glass exterior that ends in the lime green entry way tells you that in a city of outstanding and well known architecture, this building makes its own statement.
The décor, taking a cue from the gritty urban environment and the glamour of nearby theaters, is a combination of industrial materials contrasted with plush black and gold upholstery. Hallway carpets are tattooed with giant cutout patterns.
The experience architect (The Wit’s name for concierge) told me that the location on State Street just two blocks south of the river was once the site of a “see and be seen” restaurant in the 1930s when the area was the center of Universe of Chicago downtown life.
The Wit is working on reviving that reputation—pretty successfully I might add.
There are two restaurants in the hotel—both worth checking out. On the main floor, State and Lake, is a great spot for breakfast (try the Spare Rib Omelet) as well as an after work hangout with its quilted leather walls and cork floors. On the second floor, a hip, sophisticated Italian eatery with a painted ceiling that is—ta da– guess what? A witty painted ceiling, a humorous play on the Italian masters.
Rooms are trendy and fun as well. Ours had a bright orange lounge chair, turquoise bedding, wading pool sink and the latest in technology—flat screen TV’s, iHome and stuff like that. We could see “The Bean” in Millennium Park from the window.
There’s also a screening room, yoga studio, exercise center and spa in the hotel. On the second floor, there’s a library lounge with faux books with faces looking out at you. Tina Fey smiling besides Emily Dickenson, near Tolstoy and Bill Murray. You might think this is a sly play on the Water Tower sculptures in Millennium Park, where over 1000 faces of Chicagoans are shown behind a watery scrim.
The Wit packs a wallop with its location—close to theaters, the elevated train and subway and walking distance to Millennium Park, the newly expanded Art Institute and Magnificent Mile shopping.
But my absolute favorite part of the hotel was the Roof. I am saving this for another post on Design Destinations so stay tuned. Trust me, if it wasn’t already fun staying in this hotel, the Roof will take you over the top. I loved it all.