The Wit

The Wit hotel, designed by Chicago-based Koo and Associates, brings hipsters to a Doubletree property in the city’s central Loop.

Located on a 9,500-square-foot corner site in Chicago’s central Loop, the Wit hotel is most easily identified by the chartreuse lightning bolt worked into its 27-story glass façade. Lured by the possibilities of the hip theater-district location—so much so that the developers, ECD Co., commissioned a robotic helicopter to take photographs of the site even before the design began to take shape—the hotel’s parent company, Doubletree Hotels, decided to take a design approach akin to that of a boutique hotelier.

The hotel’s double-height lobby at the corner of State and Lake streets features floor-to-ceiling glazing, which encourages people on the adjacent elevated trains to look inside, making this an ideal location to see and be seen. Interiors by Beverly Hills, Calif.–based Cheryl Rowley Design depart from the hotel chain’s business-casual norm.

The interior of the rooftop lounge draws a trendy crowd with its open floor plan and high industrial metal ceiling with exposed duct work. Floor-to-ceiling glazing offers an expansive view of the Loop. The lounge’s mod vibe fits in with the hotel’s other boutique attributes, which were a departure for its normally staid parent chain, Doubletree.

A small, private outdoor terrace off the roof-level restaurant is perched on the building’s southeast corner. To complete the line of the building when viewed from below, a concrete frame brackets the space.

When the weather is warmer, patrons—hotel guests and locals alike—spill out onto the rooftop terrace, which features inverted umbrellas shielding bar-height countertops and perimeter tables and banquettes. Glass panels extend up to what would be ceiling height to help mitigate the high winds that can come off nearby Lake Michigan, without obstructing the view.

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