Hit the second and third floors for a fitness complex that includes indoor and outdoor swimming, a half-basketball court, sauna and steam rooms, locker rooms, cardio rooms and weights. A massive outdoor seating and walking area includes barbecue grills and windproof love nests. I did my morning run on the 1/5-mile cushioned outdoor track, with unmatched views of tall buildings and sun-struck Lake Michigan.
Pocketbook issues: Total bill for one night in a corner room with walkout balcony was $458, which included a lavish, so-worth-it, room-service breakfast priced at $26. For Chicago, this is an expensive option, but it’s a splurge you won’t regret.
Vital stats: 15 E. Ohio St., in River North, two blocks from the Magnificent Mile shopping district on Michigan Avenue; 130 rooms. 312-894-0800; www.acmehotelcompany.com.
Vibe: Funky, arty, with lava lamps in the lobby and logo bathrobes fit for the boxing ring.
Details: This old-building conversion was the least expensive of my three hotels, and it showed in things like an AmericInn-style breakfast and a “workout center” that was a cage in the basement with a vending machine nearby. My room, though small, had a comfy bed and was nicely decked out in the now-common “Ace-like” manner: masculine, industrial fixtures mashed up with retro lamps, midcentury office chair, Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV and non-corporate artwork. Location-wise, however, the Acme puts you in a very desirable and walkable area.
Pocketbook issues: Total bill for one night in a room with a king bed was $221, which included no extras.