The exceptional type of independent hotel we love to stumble upon.
Housed in a classic brick building built in 1926, Hotel Felix is a chic, discreet hotel located in River North. The building is historic as it was Hotel Wacker from its inception until 2007, when OBG (Oxford Bricton Group) bought the property. The group wanted to incorporate the existing structure and elements to turn it into the first Silver LEED property in Chicago.
Hotel Felix prides itself on being one of the first eco-conscious, sustainable luxury hotels of its kind. It’s the only hotel in the city with a Silver LEED—Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design— certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The hotel focuses on reducing waste, using less water and energy, recycling and reducing greenhouse emissions. Hotel Felix hopes to be a leading example of sustainable, environmentally-friendly hospitality that luxury hotels follow in the future.
The wonderful Business Travel Manager, Jose Arauz, explains what it takes to be a Silver LEED certified hotel.
There’s definitely a lot of recycling involved. You can’t use bleached products for the linen. There are eco-friendly products that we have to use. In the main lobby area you’ll have one recycling bin and one for trash. If you notice in the guest rooms, we don’t have coffee machines because we try to keep away a lot of the waste, so that’s why we serve coffee service in the main lobby area. We do have local coffee through Metropolis so we have coffee that comes from the city of Chicago…We try to keep everything very eco-friendly. It’s a very nice property to have that. It really does help out the environment.
By staying in a Silver LEED certified property, guests actively participate in reducing waste and endorsing a sustainable hospitality industry.
When walking up to the hotel’s façade, one is greeted by colorful sculptures made from recycled materials by Allen Christian. These artworks were created for the hotel on Earth Day each year from 2010-2012 and include Loren the Doorman, Madeline and her dog, Scrappy.
In the lobby there are stylish art installations on the ceiling and metallic hues of gray and white. All four natural elements of water, fire, earth and air are present in the lobby’s décor, representing the hotel’s connection to the environment.
The rooms are cozy and comfortable while maintaining minimalist décor and sustainability. In the rooms facing the street, guests can enjoy exciting views of River North’s iconic architecture and city life.
The location couldn’t be more ideal. The hotel is located just a couple of blocks from the Magnificent Mile and 15 minutes from the River Walk. But fortunately it’s not caught right in the middle of all the hectic hustle and bustle. It’s no wonder that the hotel is popular among business travelers and millennials. This part of River North is nice and calm with plenty of chic cafes, bars and restaurants all around.
One of the best parts of the hotel is Troquet, the delectable French bistro located next to the lobby. Troquet is laidback and hip with dark wooden furnishing and high ceilings, along with adorable outdoor seating on the street. It’s the perfect place to have a lovely meal or simply grab drinks with friends after work and relax. The menu is affordable and consists of sophisticated French comfort food like poutine, croques and steak frites. The chicken salad sandwich with truffle frites is to die for. There’s a great selection of tap wines and beers and different happy hour specials on the daily. Troquet also has brunch on the weekends when one can get bottomless mimosas and an entrée for $25. It’s the “Neighborhood French Bar” that’s awesome to hang out in for visitors and locals alike.
On the 2nd floor there’s Spa Boutique Felix, where guests can relax and rejuvenate with facials, massages, manicures and more. Keeping in line with sustainable luxury, the spa exclusively uses eco-friendly products made from purely natural ingredients.
The service at the hotel is friendly and approachable, just as local Chicagoans are known to be. The staff genuinely wants guests to enjoy their time in Chicago and get to know the city they love.
We’re very face-to-face when we deal with clients coming to us and they ask questions for where to go and suggestions. We definitely want to keep that vibe versus the ‘You can go and see concierge’ because concierge has a tendency to be pretty busy, working on appointments and stuff. But we definitely want to make sure that we keep that face-to-face relationship with our guests.
For environmentally-conscious jetsetters, Hotel Felix is the perfect property that’s low-key, comfortable and close to all the action. Being eco-friendly doesn’t mean foregoing comfort and quality, and Hotel Felix is paving the way for the future of sustainable luxury.
Photos: Nadia Cho
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