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hotelpalomar-chicago.JPGChicago is known as much for its innovative architecture and art installations (Willis Tower, The Bean, Cows on Parade) as its calorie-bomb food (deep dish pizza, fatty hot dog toppings, greasy jibaritos), which might be why the city’s newest Kimpton property, the Hotel Palomar Chicago, fits in so well – it doesn’t skimp on art or eats.

Located in the River North neighborhood – just west of Lake Michigan and surrounded by art galleries – the 261-room hotel reflects the nabe’s artsy vibe with sleek furniture, bold carpeting, floor-to-ceiling windows, and guestrooms styled by interior designer Orlando Diaz-Azcuy.


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On-site restaurant Sable Kitchen and Bar mixes up its own brand of masterpieces, with a Prohibition era-inspired cocktail menu that literally reads like a novel – an intro, table of contents, and epilogue bookend the 14-page epic, while beverage genres (everything from basic bubbly to classic martinis) round out the inside chapters. For munching, riffs on classic sandwiches and appetizers (deviled eggs with truffle oil, Phyllo-wrapped Ruebens) make up the small plate-dominated food menu.


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Given all that indulgence, one of the hotel’s most thoughtful amenities might be its complimentary jogging sessions. Every Wednesday and Friday morning at 6:15 a.m. (year-round, weather permitting), associate general manager and part-time marathon runner Amanda Parsons meets visiting runners in the lobby, laces up, and leads the group on three- or four-mile routes with views of the city and Lake Michigan. Guests should sign up in the lobby the night before, and starting August 18, the hotel will open the program to Chicago residents.

The hotel comes with all the usual playful Kimpton touches (animal-print robes, complimentary wine reception, morning coffee and tea bar), and we could only find one downside: Swimming pool snobs will wish for less roof and more water on the 17th-floor glass-walled pool and sundeck, which feels somewhat closed in by the low ceiling. Of course, when those sub-zero temps whip through the city in January, we doubt anyone will protest.

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