Category Archives: chicago restaurants

Chicago’s Best Eco-Boutique Hotel

We fell in love with Chicago when we went to see Cats at the Shubert Theater as a small kiddie. Deep-dish pizza, jazz, Carmine’s and good old Midwestern values… what’s not to love? So when we hunted around for the best boutique digs in Chi-Town, a little birdie alerted us to a European inspired hotel just a block off of Michigan Avenue. Unique among it’s competitors in that it’s still family-owned, The Talbott Hotel has all the sophisticated charm of a bygone era coupled with the modern conveniences of today.

A cozy wood-lined lobby, roaring fireplace, large rooms, plasma TV’s and superlative service make this property feel like you’re in an upscale English club. The best part? It’s just one of five hotels to receive Green Seal Certification by the City of Chicago in recognition of their commitment to “sustainability without compromise.” Their “greenficient” efforts stretch beyond the basics – it’s 100% carbon neutral. Having just completed a multi-million dollar refurbishment of all the hotel’s 149 rooms and suites, it’s the warm, luxurious base from which you can enjoy all of Chicago’s shopping, restaurants and entertainment.
Owner, Basil Kromelow, inherited the property when he and his dad Jack bought it together as Basil’s first project back in 1965. Apparently, Basil always wanted to own a boutique hotel so he converted the old apartment hotel into a luxury boutique hotel that reflected the boutique hotels he fell in love with across Europe as a kid. As such, many of the antiques inside are purchases from Kromelow’s own shopping trips to Europe. Still visible in the hotel, Basil even greets and interacts with guests, unlike far too many Blackberry-obsessed proprietors these days.

On the corner of Rush street, you’ll find famous restaurants like Gibsons ( and Carmine’s ( where we recommend the Baked Clams, Chicken Marsala, and Eight-Finger Cavatelli. No, we won’t tell you what it that is, you’ll just have to find out for yourself.

Guests also have free access to the 55,000 sq foot Equinox in the 900 North Michigan building just a block away. If that’s not swanky enough, those who participate in the Green program by selecting the “eco-mode” on their thermostats (which automatically adjusts the room temp when guests come and go, in addition to alerting housekeeping not to change sheets everyday), they’ll receive a 1 month carbon credit for their home to continue the Green lifestyle they embraced at the hotel.

If our staff wasn’t galavanting around the globe right at this very moment, we’d stop by again just to give Basil a big old Chicago bear hug.
Rates start at $179 (in low season)