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Waldorf Astoria Chicago Renovations Complete

Famed Gold Coast hotel reopens with updated guest rooms, suites, lobby, and spa, and several new and refurbished restaurants and bars.

By Todd R. Berger

Waldorf Astoria Chicago Renovations Complete
Redesigned cocktail lounge Bernard’s at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Waldorf Astoria Chicago renovations have been finalized, with upgrades across the breadth of the opulent hotel. The refurbishment includes fully updated guest rooms, suites, lobby, and spa, as well as  a redesigned Presidential Suite and a new, spacious Astoria Suite. New food and beverage experiences include the lobby-level Peacock Lounge, the newly opened Brass Tack, and the reintroduced Bernard’s cocktail lounge.

KTGY Simeone Deary Design Group carried out the renovations of the guest rooms, suites, lobby, Peacock Lounge, Bernard’s, and spa. KTGY was responsible for the genesis of the hotel’s original concept and design in 2009. The team drew inspiration from French design masters, whose style and grace can be seen across the updated social spaces and accommodations, to bring a reimagined and refreshed modern approach that embraces a vision of timeless, refined luxury with a bit of a contemporary twist.

Refreshed Accommodations and Grand Suites

The design approach to the guest rooms and suites serves to elevate the luxurious experience found within. A warm white palette modernizes the rooms. The vernacular of the fashion pinstripe can be found throughout the furniture detailing in the rooms and highlights the form of the monumental headboards with integral art.

As part of the renovation, Waldorf Astoria Chicago introduces a new 1,800-square-foot Astoria Suite and redesigned 2,400-square-foot Presidential Suite, which both evoke the charm of a Parisian pied-à-terre, designed in beautiful modernity with polished wood flooring, gorgeous curves, and bright metals. The Presidential Suite dazzles with custom pinstriped drapery and dark, moody upholstered headboards with leather side panels, as well as architectural stone and crystal side tables, and a custom sofa upholstered in light semi plan chenille with a subtle sheen. The suite offers two bedrooms, each with private bath and dressing areas; a sleek living room and dining room; two terraces; a fireplace; and an exclusive fitness room with a Peloton bike, Echelon Mirror, hydro rower, treadmill, and free weights. The Presidential Suite can expand into a larger 3,000-square-foot three-bedroom suite.

A New Lobby Experience

The lobby, which draws guests in with its beautiful chandelier, received a refresh, adding comfortable new seating options with side tables that invite a seamless flow of guests checking-in and Chicagoans looking to enjoy a quiet respite. The space flows into a new lobby parlor and Peacock Lounge, which pays tribute to the original Peacock Alley at the brand flagship, Waldorf Astoria New York. A subtle nod to its illustrious history can be found in the feather wall panels lining the back walls of the bookcases. Lounge seating upholstered in sumptuous velvets and woven fabrics weave into the space to allow for intimate conversation and beautiful viewing vistas. Further inspiration was drawn from Chicago businesswoman and socialite Bertha Palmer, with the design team studying her home and parlor to bring that essence into the setting.

Here, guests can lounge, meet others, and enjoy a quiet moment, accompanied by all-day menus of light nibbles and beverages including coffees, pressed juices, and wines.

Introducing Brass Tack

Now open, Brass Tack showcases an American Brasserie with a Chicago twist. Helmed by Executive Chef Nicholas Marino, the restaurant features approachable elements of Midwest-sourced American cuisine, highlighting the best of regional cookery and ingredients. From lively dinners and power lunches to weekend brunch with bottomless rose wine, Brass Tack serves as a dining destination for guests and locals alike who can feast on signature dishes including a breakfast Lobster Toast, butter-poached lobster with truffle scramble on ciabatta with hollandaise; Chicken Confit with shaved vegetable slaw in a beet gastrique for lunch; and dinner standouts of Porterhouse Steak for two with marrow butter and Whole Roasted Walleye with pea tendrils, sea salt, and lemon oil, all straight out of the wood-fired oven.

Complementing the cuisine is a robust cocktail program developed by cocktail and couture manager Miguel Sanchez Borrego, with a menu dedicated to signature martinis and classic cocktails with a sophisticated twist. Brass Tack also serves as an idyllic setting for group dining and shared plates with its well-appointed dining room, spacious bar, and new private dining spaces.

Reintroducing Bernard’s

A highlight of the renovation is the return of the beloved neighborhood cocktail lounge, Bernard’s. The sophisticated establishment was lovingly restored in its former space, re-emerging as an intimate craft cocktail and champagne bar. KTGY Simeone Deary Design Group drew inspiration from various design luminaries to create a setting reflecting rich, dark colors; classic forms; tweeds from the Scottish Highlands; and equestrian influences. The interior showcases elements including millwork paneling with custom inserts, cozy banquettes with leather detailing and plaid accents, a central tête-à-tête, and a dazzling step-up bar that overlooks the hotel’s front courtyard drive. Located on the second floor, Bernard’s also features new rippled smoked-glass windows overlooking the updated lobby.

The timeless, yet modern design extends into the thoughtfully curated cocktail and beverage menu, which strikes a balance between revered classics that pay tribute to the past and innovations that provide a moment in the present. Guests may peruse time-honored favorites like the Sazerac alongside signature twists such as The Southernmost, mixed with Belvedere, lime juice, condensed milk, and brulée foam. The beverage menu is rounded out with fine spirits, Champagnes, and wines, which guests can accompany with decadent snacks including Caviar Service with traditional accoutrements and house-chips, Duck Confit Croquettes, and other tasty nibbles.

An Enhanced Spa Experience

Alongside the renovation, the hotel unveils updates to its award-winning Waldorf Astoria Spa & Health Club, introducing an additional couple’s treatment room to further showcase the spa’s romantic design aesthetics. The spa is also delighted to debut a new partnership with renowned international brand Biologique Recherche with the dedicated spa therapists being meticulously trained in providing The Custom BR Uplift Facial as part of the spa’s menu of treatments. Chicagoans can also take advantage of enhanced membership programs, offering exclusive benefits and insider perks across the hotel.

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