When I travel, one of my top priorities is to find a hotel with a photogenic view. Anytime I can get a room on an upper floor with a great cityscape, I’m a happy traveler. So when Curio – A Collection by Hilton contacted me about a complimentary staycation at their newest property, LondonHouse Chicago, I turned into a happy staycationer. Truth be told, this is technically a sponsored post since Curio hooked me up with a 2-night stay in exchange for sharing some of the photos I took. Either way, I would have shared these photos even if I had to pay the full-room rate, ha.
I had visited LondonHouse a few month prior, right before it opened, and only had a short time to explore and shoot from their 22nd floor rooftop bar (here are some interior and rooftop shots from that visit). I knew I wanted to come back, so when this opportunity arose, getting rooftop access with a tripod was my only major request – of course, the Curio and LondonHouse teams were happy to help.
First, a little background. The LondonHouse Hotel opened in late May, but the building – the London Guarantee Building – has a rich history at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. This building was opened in 1923 and named after its main occupant, The London Guarantee & Accident Company – a leading insurance firm at the time. This beaux-arts style building tops out at 318 feet and rests at the former site of Fort Dearborn.
One of the most recognizable features of the building, aside from the cupola and colonnade, is the curved facade. Not only does the indentation create a nice open space on the sidewalk below, the big wall of windows creates sweeping views of the timeless architecture that surrounds the Chicago River as it flows beneath Michigan Avenue.
But the London Guarantee Building wasn’t big enough for LondonHouse’s needs. In order to fit more guest rooms and house the spacious, modern amenities, a new addition to the existing structure was required. So Oxford Capital Group, the building’s owners, engaged Goettsch Parters to design a brand new 22-story addition. Now, the hotel boasts 452 rooms and 25,000 square feet of new meeting and events space.
Room with a view:
Once we checked into our 18th floor room, I immediatley started setting up my gear for some shots. Of course, the room was top-notch. It was spacious, clean, bright – everything you could ask for in a hotel in the heart of Chicago. But those views! We were staring straight West down the river. The feature photo in this blog post is a composite I created by blending a blue hour image with a morning image taken from this very spot.
The weekend’s weather was chaotic to say the least. The temperatures soared, and high humidity generated some thunderous storms on Saturday night. Unfortunately, and for good reason, I couldn’t get up to the rooftop to shoot the storm, but I did shoot it from my room – water beads off the windows quite nicely, by the way. I didn’t catch any lightning, but did manage an atmospheric shot of rain pouring down into the Chicago River. To cheer up the scene I blended it with the sunset from the night before.
And for more fun, here’s a mirror image of the Chicago River
Without question, the rooftop bar, LH on 22, is the most coveted spot at LondonHouse. The rooftop bar boasts some of the best, unobstructed, rooftop views of the city and has a great mix of inventive cocktails, drinks, and small plates. I should note that there’s no specific policy against using a tripods on the rooftop (if you’re so inclined), but at the same time LondonHouse doesn’t outright allow them. So if it’s crowded or busy on the roof deck, don’t be upset if management won’t let you bring yours up top or asks you to take it down. Anyway, a picture is worth a thousand words, so enjoy some of the rooftop views and the bigger gallery at the end of the post:
The western views down the river are spectacular…especially if you have a seat along the glass railing.
And the view of the Michigan-Wacker Historic District can’t be beat.
And you can even rent out the 23rd floor cupola for special occasions.
© Nick Ulivieri Photography in Chicago, IL