Gray Hotel, Chicago
From the street, The Gray is easy to miss because its turn-of-the-century facade blends so effortlessly into the architectural fabric of the Chicago Loop. But after ascending the grand marble staircase (it’s the original gray granite that inspired the hotel’s name) to the lobby, Kimpton’s slick transformation of William Le Baron Jenney’s New York Life Insurance Building is apparent. Public spaces are sophisticated, a melange of landmark charm and modernist details. Rooms are airy, punctuated with texture and a world class art collection, and wrap-around bookshelves brim with old law volumes discovered during renovation. Tip: Have a cocktail in the Vol. 39 bar.