Hard to believe it was all the way back in 2012, when the media were gathered together in Tribeca (of course) to be privy to the epochal announcement by Nobu partners Robert De Niro and Nobu Matsuhisa, that they would be launching a namesake hotel company. The first property, in Las Vegas, would open in 2013.
Now with a dozen hotels in the collection (and five on the way, including Riyadh and Sao Paulo), Nobu Hotels has become a formidable competitor to the likes of Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental—with an obvious sort of culinary advantage over many in the category. And a new Chicago property means they will be competing in one of the great food cities of America…but one in which luxury hotels have generally not taken the culinary lead, curiously enough.
Located on Peoria Street on the edge of the West Loop (the Windy’s City’s buzziest restaurant corridor), the once delayed Nobu Hotel Chicago will be officially opening sometime later this spring. But we have the first images, and from what we can tell, designer Karen Herold of Studio K (responsible for the interiors of restaurants like Girl & the Goat and GT Fish & Oyster), has brought a more elegantly somber tone to the brand’s signature understated minimalism. (Dare we call is “zen gothic”?)
There will be just 119 rooms, done up in deep blue and grey tones, refined simplicity more than minimalism—with Asian inspired, almost haunted looking art pieces, luxurious rugs, and absolutely stunningly designed bathrooms.
As is obligatory for hotels at this level, there will be a state-of-the-art fitness center, indoor pool and spa. But, of course, this is Nobu—so the chatter centers mostly on the 10,000 square foot namesake restaurant that will be a feature of the hotel, where one of Matsuhisa’s chosen chefs (as yet unannounced) will carry out some form of culinary nirvana in the master’s name. Expect it to quickly become one of Chicago’s most coveted tables.
Also de rigueur is the stylishly mismatched rooftop indoor/outdoor bar and lounge—and what better way to survey this beautiful city and its storied architecture?