A decade after the last tenant turned off the lights at 68 East Wacker Place, the lights are on once again and the place is open for business. It took $41 million and years of anticipation, but the historic Chicago Motor Club Building has been transformed into a Hampton Inn.
Officially, the hotel goes by the name of the “Hampton Inn Chicago Downtown North Loop Michigan Avenue.” It’s OK if that’s a mouthful, because your jaw will be slack when you see what they’ve done to Holabird & Root’s temple to the automobile.
That 1928 Ford Model A sure looks a lot better today than it did back in April when we were there to see it hoisted onto the balcony. 1928, of course, because that’s the year the building originally opened. And the lobby is also an homage to the Art Deco era with its overstuffed banquettes that look like they’re straight out of a basement speakeasy, and John Warner Norton’s mural celebrating the pre-freeway adventure of exploring America by automobile.
Rooms run about $250/night, but if you book online don’t expect to see too much — the hotel is so new that Hampton Inn hasn’t had a chance to put room photos on its web site yet.