Snapshot: The Chicago Athletic Association may have been established 125 years ago, but it’s more than just history. Design duo Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, founders of Roman and Williams, teamed up with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture to bring the monument back to life in the form of an energetic and true to its roots boutique hotel that has all the gusto of Chicago’s original sports club.
Established in the 1890s, the Chicago Athletic Association was an iconic monument designed by Henry Ives Cobb, complete with a Venetian Gothic façade and large stained glass windows. Now, thanks to New York design specialists Roman and Williams (who are known for their ability to reinvigorate vintage styles into something new and lively) and Chicago’s own Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, it’s been transformed from a private men’s club into a premier boutique hotel for everyone to enjoy. Aptly named the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, entering its doors will throw you back to a different era of Chicago’s history.
Focusing on keeping what made the monument beautiful in the past, much of what once was has been restored and brought back to its former glory while melding it with the invigorating energy of today, sculpting something totally new and unique from the past. Realizing the beauty in vintage artifacts, like stalagmite-like light fixtures in one of the main lobbies and the gigantic fireplace, Roman and Williams set out to find all of the once thought extinct pieces of that which made the ACC unique and especially beautiful and recreate them, making the redesign a revision true to the original spirit of the club.
Light pours in from the giant windows to brighten the natural colors and heavy hand carved wooden furniture and designs found throughout the hotel. Even the rooms still have original relics and interior designs that hold stories and just what can be described as the All-American feel of the place alive. Keeping the vintage spirit alive, there’s a game room where you can cool off from the summer heat and partake in a game of billiards while surrounded by the dark original woodwork designs and extra comfy furniture.
Right in the center of Chicago, the ACC Hotel also has the luxury of offering a stellar view of the city. The rooftop restaurant, Cindy’s, has what can only be described as a glorious view over Millennium Park, stretching from the bean to the seemingly endless Lake Michigan and of course including a peripheral of the monolithic skyscrapers that tower over the city. You can absorb pretty much all of Chicago, past and present, while enjoying one of their awesome specialty cocktails while perched atop one of Chicago’s iconic buildings –just try to top that.
Photography by Nicholas James