"Radisson Blu is like an expatriate who is moving back to his homeland," explains Pierre-Louis Giacotto, general manager of the recently opened Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago. "It was developed in Europe, but it's part of an American company." And that company, aka Radisson, describes its new Blu brand as a "new chapter in the global reinvention of Radisson." Translation: a new look with an eye to high design — as evidenced by the fact that one of the brand's first properties was opened in the Arne Jacobsen–designed Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark, and this, their latest, in Chicago’s awe-inspiring 81-story Aqua Tower.
The hotel has 334 rooms spanning 18 floors in the tower, which also includes rental apartments and condominiums and is centrally located downtown, near Millennium Park and Michigan Avenue shopping. The amenities are a tad over-the-top — an 80,000-square-foot green roof/recreation deck with fire pits, two outdoor pools, a hot tub with cabanas and a nearly quarter-mile running trail — but appropriate for a hotel in such a look-at-me building. There's also an 8,000-square-foot gym with a lap pool and a basketball court, both indoors. Rooms from $160, (312) 565-5258, www.radissonblu.com/aquahotel-chicago