Nobu Hotel – Chicago

In May 2016, I surprised Sonia with a trip to Chicago to see Alton Brown’s live show. While on this trip, we ventured into the West Loop to try a couple of restaurants, and I was wowed by the area’s eats – Cemitas Puebla (which has since closed), Publican Quality Meats, and Little Goat Diner (which has since moved). When trying to figure out where to stay for our recent trip to Chicago, the West Loop immediately came to mind. It’s grown since 2016, so there were now even more places I wanted to check out this time.

A check of the area returned multiple hotel options, but all were pricier than hotels in other areas of Chicago. In the end, we opted for convenience despite the higher prices since most of our plans were in the West Loop, and it was just easier for our drive. There were some great hotels to choose from, but in the end, we chose the Nobu Hotel for best price and convenience in the area.

The hotel is located at the corner of N. Peoria and W. Randolph, which makes it within walking distance to almost everything that the West Loop has to offer. It’s also close to the Morgan stop on the Pink and Green lines, so traveling to other areas of Chicago is quick and easy. The one drawback would be that the hotel can have a lot of traffic around it in the evening which makes it a little difficult to get to the hotel entrance when the evening crowd is out. We weren’t sure about our parking options either, so we opted to valet our car during our stay.

From the moment you enter the hotel, there is a feel of luxury and zen. The staff was very attentive and courteous as soon as we came through the door and greeted us with a hot towel while they checked us in. Check in was quick, and we were off to our room within minutes.

The Room

We booked a Deluxe City View King room, and this room did not disappoint. While it can feel dark in the evening, the room has a large window that lets in plenty of sunlight during the day. There is a snack/bar area when you first enter the room, and the desk area is essentially a long table attached to the wall facing the bed. The headboard has nightstands built in on both sides which provides plenty of access to plugs for any devices you may need to charge. Additional outlets and USB ports are found in the desk area in case the ones in the nightstands are not enough. The room also has decent seating with a chair by the window and a chair at the desk.

The bathroom has a good-sized shower and ample counter space. It would have been nice to have had dual sinks, but not having a second sink is the compromise you make to have that amount of counter space. With the hotel having a Japanese feel and design, it was surprising to not have a Japanese toilet though.

Overall, the room is quite spacious and well-thought out.

For our second and third nights, we were upgraded to a Zen suite, which is a corner room. While the room is larger than the deluxe, the bedroom was setup similarly, but there was now a second chair in the seating area by the window. The primary difference between the deluxe room and the suite is the bathroom. In the suite, there are double sinks and a bathtub. There’s also a large floor to ceiling window in the bathroom which was nice.

The Restaurant

Based on the name of the hotel, it should be clear that the restaurant in the hotel is Nobu. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to eat dinner in the restaurant, but we were able to eat breakfast each morning. One benefit with staying at this hotel is the chance to get the opportunity to have Nobu for breakfast. There are some general breakfast options, but for most items, there is a Nobu influence.

Three items we recommend are:

  • Breakfast Burrito – While there is no surprise as to the filling in this burrito, the best thing for me was the burrito wrap. The “tortilla” is a crepe and not your traditional flour tortilla. If you’re looking for a traditional wrap, then you may not enjoy this lighter, flakier crepe. For me the lightness was nice and not only let the filling be the star in the meal but also didn’t leave me feeling overstuffed from eating it all in one sitting.
  • Nobu Honey Toast – If you’re not familiar with Japanese honey toast, it is a hollowed out piece of bread or slices of bread that is/are filled with a sweet element like fruit or ice cream and then covered with a butter and honey mixture. Nobu takes this Japanese dessert and offers it in a breakfast form by treating it as a french toast and filling it with a lemon curd and mixed berries. This was my favorite breakfast item as every element of the dish worked together and resulted in an amazing bite in both taste and texture.
  • Bagel & Lox – This is Nobu’s take on a classic. Instead of your typical bagel, the base for this dish is crispy sushi rice, for which Nobu is famous. The creativity in this dish is appreciated and probably represents Nobu the best. While Sonia was very satisfied with this, I came away with thoughts on how I could use this same crispy rice in breakfast dishes back home.

From the service to the room to the food, Nobu is a top hotel for Chicago. If you do decide to stay here, don’t miss out on the evening turndown service. The chocolates you get as part of this are from Torn Ranch, which I had never heard of until this stay. Probably the best hotel chocolates I’ve had in a long time. Until next time, happy travels and happy eating!


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