We joined voco for its Grand Opening in downtown Chicago, marking its first location in the Midwest and the fourth in the country. Following the Grand Opening event, we were invited to a staycation to experience the new hotel firsthand.
The voco Chicago is a reimagined hotel with contemporary rooms and upscale amenities set in the heart of Downtown Chicago with a focus on comfort and style. Operated by IHG Hotels & Resorts, this renovation is the hotel chain’s first dual-branded voco and Holiday Inn property, adding to voco’s 41 properties worldwide. With the temperature dropping and winter approaching, we were looking forward to experience voco’s first hotel in Chicago and a warm retreat in the Windy City.
The voco hotel lives just across from the Merchandise Mart and train station, making it a convenient stop from all corners of Chicagoland. We took the Purple Line from my home in Lincoln Park and made it door-to-door in around half an hour.
The Grand Opening event was held on the 15th floor “living room” of the voco Hotel and drew in a crowd of hospitality professionals, press, along with friends of the hotel. The modern décor and seating served as an inviting space for guests to enjoy Chicago inspired bites, live music, a dessert bar, and a festive photobooth. This floor is the heart of the hotel, encompassing the lobby, event space, and dining, while boasting a soaring atrium and open space making it a perfect venue for events like the Grand Opening. Television screens throughout the hotel welcomed guests with a curated selection of things to do in Chicago like a hot chocolate race in Millennium Park where runners can enjoy a jog through the city with street treats, and an immersive experience at the Field Museum’s “Wild Color” exhibit where visitors explore how plants and animals use color to ward off predators. For food and drinks, the Waterview Kitchen and Bar offer a comfortable invitation to enjoy a signature cocktail alone, or gathered with friends and colleagues. A favorite was the “Owl” cocktail, an elevated Old Fashioned made with Four Roses Bourbon, Regan’s bitters, and orange bitters.
Check our on-the-scene highlights from the evening here.
Steps away from Millennium Park, Merchandise Mart, Fulton Market, the Loop, and more. Whether dining out at Chicago’s most acclaimed restaurants or jogging through the Chicago Riverwalk, guests can experience all of what downtown has to offer at their fingertips.
The voco Experience
Having never stayed at an IHG hotel, we were excited to spend a night following the grand opening event. We were welcomed with an eco-friendly “Birds of a Feather” package which included a pair of sustainably made All Birds Tree Runners, hotel signature tote bag, craft soda, and welcome note — a charming treat to begin the stay.
“Birds of a Feather” is one of the new limited-edition packages available at the voco Chicago that feature exclusive amenities and experiences, built on the brand’s unique and inviting ethos focusing on sustainability. The machine-washable tree runners are made with sustainable materials like eucalyptus tree fiber and the shoelaces are made from recycled plastic bottles. The package also includes a QR code to access local guides and explore Chicago, which was the perfect opportunity to discover the vibrant nightlife at my own leisure. Other limited-edition offers in international voco locations include a “Very Important Peddlers” package that giving guests access to a fleet of bicycles, and a “Sip & Paint” package with complimentary Pinot while creating your own masterpiece.
The guest room offered everything you might find in a premium hotel like thoughtfully curated furnishings, power outlets, storage and closet room, and a plush King bed. Where voco sets itself apart is the ambience and small touches that make the guests feel like they’re home away from home.
With this being during work week, I needed to be productive and relaxed, and the room delivered on both of those needs. The room was equipped with a comfortable and ergonomic desk, Nespresso pods, and beautiful artwork that not only made for a productive day of early meetings but also a calm and comfortable environment to relax.
Although the hotel did not offer room service during the time of our stay, we had the chance to grab breakfast from the Riverbend Market (which is also open 24 hours) for a hearty Chicago-inspired plate of Chicken and Waffles, made with Belgium waffles and spiced maple syrup. We also loved the reusable water bottles with refill stations on every floor, eliminating the need to go out and buy bottles of water.
Starting at a rate from $120 per night, this a great value for a newly renovated IHG property. Even if you’re not staying here, we would recommend paying a visit to the Waterview Kitchen and Bar for a casual, inviting ambience. Overall, we had a wonderful stay at the voco Chicago and will be sure to keep a look out for other voco hotels in the future.