The Hotel Indigo in downtown Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood will be renamed Claridge House following a $9 million renovation that’s set to be completed this spring. Locally based hotel design and branding firm, The Gettys Group, will lead the revamp of the hotel’s 165 guest rooms, lobby, meeting spaces and fitness center.
Designed in 1923 by native Chicago architect Walter Ahlschlager, Claridge House was originally built as a residential hotel. Throughout its nearly 90-year history, the property has undergone several repositionings, including housing an ice skating rink on its rooftop for guests, residents and community members. Until 2005, the property was known as the Claridge Hotel. Local investment, development and management firm Oxford Hotels & Resorts is recalling that past name with Claridge House, as the initials “CH” and the word “Claridge” remain inscribed on the hotel’s exterior.
Throughout the property, the designers plan to incorporate elements inspired by the idea of Claridge House coming “full circle,” completing a cycle and returning to its original namesake and roots as a hotel for locals and travelers alike. The circle motif will be seen in design details such as a custom chandelier comprised of silk-wrapped, circular rings hanging over a large, communal table in the residential-style lobby. This seating will sit in front of a statement marble fireplace. Circle components will also appear in pendant lights suspended over the bar, as well as in brass accent rings and round sconces hanging in the lobby.
“We wanted the lobby to be an extension of the guest room,” says Ali Bacon, project designer at The Gettys Group. “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’s transformation includes the addition of an on-site restaurant and bar, Juniper Spirits & Oysters. The neighborhood spot will seat 48 in the dining room, 45 in the lobby lounge and bar area, and 24 on a Dearborn Street-adjacent patio, welcoming guests with the Ernest-Hemingway-inspired mantra, “Be Happy, Make Plans.”
“Claridge House has been an integral part of the Gold Coast community for almost a century, providing a ‘home away from home’ for residents and travelers alike,” says John Rutledge, founder, president and ceo of Oxford Hotels & Resorts, and its parent company, Oxford Capital Group. “We’re excited to reimagine and expand upon the hotel’s role in the city, and welcome guests to a fresh but familiar place to stay, eat, drink and immerse themselves in one of Chicago’s most historic neighborhoods.”