At the newly redesigned W Lakeshore, which opened in June, two influences are immediately apparent: Chicago’s unique architectural heritage (the Home Insurance Building, dating from 1884, is considered the world’s first skyscraper) and the lake itself.
New York based design firm Meyer Davis handled the $38 million refresh, and the overall aesthetic balances smooth geometric lines with intricate, psychedelic patterns. In the guest rooms, the windows have been replaced with wide, uninterrupted glass panes, creating an IMAX-like experience as guests gaze out over the Navy Pier and the iconic Ferris Wheel. And instead of traditional headboards, newly installed mirrored walls reflect the Chicago skyline in rippling, kinetic shapes.
When looking for historic elements to inform the new design, Meyer Davis seized on the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, which saw common household objects like the zipper, the aerosol can, and, yes, Juicy Fruit gum make their international debut. Hence, the notion of innovation became a mantra for the design team, who strove to tell the story of modernity through the hotel’s spaces.
As far as innovation goes, one wonders if W Lakeshore hints at what hotels of the future might look like or at least how W envisions its own evolution. Inside W Lakeshore’s new "living room" (the W’s term for lobby), glossy walkways connect a trio of circular pod-seating areas, each topped with a shimmering blue-lit disc. Nearby, a DJ booth anchors the nonstop party, while the expanded bar—which Starwood’s VP of global design Ted Jacobs calls "fundamental" to the new design—serves Amaro cocktails under a copper-paneled ceiling.
From $259/night; wchicago-lakeshore.com