A historic Chicago hotel is getting new life—and its old name back. Oxford Hotels & Resorts, the Chicago-based hotel management and branding affiliate of Oxford Capital Group, is redeveloping, repositioning and rebranding the former Hotel Indigo Chicago Downtown as part of a $9-million renovation. When the project is completed later this spring, the Gold Coast hotel will celebrate more than 90 years of history as the renamed Claridge House.
“Claridge House has been an integral part of the Gold Coast community for almost a century,” John W. Rutledge, founder, president and CEO of Oxford Hotels & Resorts and Oxford Capital Group, said in a statement. “We’re excited to reimagine and expand upon the hotel’s role in the city and neighborhood.”
Designed in 1923 by native Chicago architect Walter Ahlschlager, Claridge House originally was a residential hotel for wealthy Chicagoans. The new design will evoke the property's history as the Claridge Hotel with the initials “CH” and the word “Claridge” on the hotel’s exterior.
The hotel's new design, led by Chicago-based Gettys Group, preserves the 1923 building’s classical architecture while adding a contemporary vibe to the structure. The project will upgrade all of the hotel's 165 guestrooms, the lobby, the meeting room and the fitness center.
Evoking the hotel's origins as a residential hotel, the lobby has been redesigned for a relaxed and home-like feeling. “We wanted the lobby to be an extension of the guestroom,” said project designer Ali Bacon. “It felt natural for this communal space to be the ‘living room’ of the hotel, and by extension, the entire Gold Coast neighborhood.”
The lobby also is getting a new restaurant and bar. Juniper Spirits & Oysters seats 48 in the dining room, 45 in the lobby lounge and bar, and 24 on a Dearborn Street-adjacent patio.
Throughout the property, guests will notice elements inspired by Claridge House coming “full circle” and returning to its beginnings as a hotel. The full-circle motif will be seen in design items such as a custom chandelier made of silk-wrapped, circular rings hanging over a large communal table in the lobby. This communal seating is placed in front of a marble fireplace—a place to work in the day or gather for drinks at night. Circle components also appear in pendant lights suspended over the bar with brass accent rings and round sconces hanging in the lobby.
The entire property will display original artwork and sculptures, including a large photo gallery wall with travel-related images.
“The guestroom, inspired by a pied-à-terre, ties back to the building previously being a residential hotel,” Bacon said. “As guests leave the living-room-esque lobby, they enter dimmer, moody guestrooms to set the tone for a peaceful, relaxing room stay with a city apartment feel.”
Guestroom artwork draws inspiration from the London roots of the Claridge name, with images of a London street with window-box flowers and two small maps of London and Claridge House’s cross-streets. Many of the guestrooms offer views of Lake Michigan and the Gold Coast.
The hotel’s on-site fitness center has cardio equipment and free weights for guests to use. On the fourth floor, the boutique Gold Coast Spa offers manicures, pedicures and facial treatments.
The property’s meeting space, the DaVinci room, can host up to 60 people for a reception-style event with upgraded audio and visual capabilities.
Oxford’s corporate staff and on-site management team are working closely with investor Interwest Capital to implement the strategic multiphased repositioning of the property, allowing the hotel to remain during the project.