Chicago’s 34-acre Navy Pier, which celebrated 100 years in 2016, has never hosted a hotel—until now.
On March 18, the 223-room Sable at Navy Pier Chicago, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, will open its doors. This also marks Curio Collection’s 100th opening. Whether relaxing in your guest room, dining at Lirica or soaking up the view with a cocktail at the country's largest rooftop bar (Offshore), this hotel is designed to feel like you’re on a cruise ship—the pier itself juts out into Lake Michigan, and the hotel is on the far eastern end.
Floor-to-ceiling windows in each guest room and suite celebrate an unobstructed view of Lake Michigan. “You are on top of the lake," said general manager Laurent Boisdron. "It’s like entering an interior cabin. There’s a lot of blues and greens [in the interiors] to match the lake.”
Also flaunting a nautical vibe is the hotel name: Sable is a reference to the World War II training vessel that once trained 60,000 military employees in Lake Michigan’s waters.
To that end, a sea of blue hues throughout, plus ship-wood tile in each guestroom bath, were intentional design choices by Chicago-based Koo, whose architecture and interior-design projects include Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection, and ROOF on theWit. (Both are in Chicago.) In a press release, KOO principal Jackie Koo said, “There are three civic spaces in Chicago that are recognized around the world: Navy Pier, Millennium Park and the Chicago Riverwalk. KOO is excited to have produced a structure that is respectful of Navy Pier’s linear profile and Festival Hall’s low-slung height while introducing a glass facade that references Chicago’s famous skyscrapers in a horizontal form.” Creating the hotel as a new-build concept took two years, preceded by three years of planning.
The hotel restaurant is Lirica, which serves Latin-inspired cuisine, and the outdoor seating provides lake views unlike any other restaurant or bar in the Loop or downtown. Cuisine and cocktails served at the 36,000-square-foot rooftop bar Offshore complement the waterfront setting (oyster shooters, Maine lobster deviled eggs and spicy tuna rolls are three specialties); though you'll also find turf options, such as fried Amish chicken sandwich on a Hawaiian roll or smoked pork spare ribs, with meatless options, too. Culinary Director Michael Shrader oversees the menus at both. Also located in the hotel is a fitness center stocked with treadmills and Peloton bikes.
“We already have a lot of reservations,” said Boisdron a few days before opening. “I think [guests] just want that peacefulness, to relax on the lake.”
Coinciding with the opening, the hotel launched a “Space to Spread Out” promotion. Guest benefits include free self-parking, two cocktails upon arrival, and daily breakfast for two. While normally you’d elbow your way through the crowds at Navy Pier, which attracts nine million visitors annually, the pier remains temporarily closed due to COVID-19. But once the pier reopens, “when you stay with us, you have access to all of the restaurants, shops, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and Chicago Children’s Museum,” said Boisdron.
Rates start at $165. To book, visit the website.