A year after the Essex Inn was shuttered, Hotel Essex
took its place in the South Loop after a $250 million restoration that included the Essex on the Park luxury apartment building next door. The project, which debuted in April, was led by Oxford Capital Group (developers behind LondonHouse, the Godfrey, and Hotel Julian). Offering impressive views of Grant Park, the 274-room hotel includes a ground-floor restaurant dubbed Grant Park Bistro from LM Restaurant Group that seats 40 in the dining room and 26 at the bar, along with a seasonal 40-seat patio. The bi-level 1,600-square-foot SX Sky Bar is located on the fifth and sixth floors of the hotel and features a tech-inspired dance floor.
The bar features champagne and craft cocktails, including the $669 Dominatrix, which is served in a crystal vase made with a bottle of Dom Perignon Brut. The menu offers Californian and Asian flavors with sushi and small shareable plates that include pork belly lettuce wraps, Kentucky-fried cauliflower, and blistered shishito peppers. The sixth floor holds 540 guests for reception-style events or seats about 300. The Parlor, a private dining space, holds about 60 guests seated or standing. The fifth floor seats 69 guests or holds 154 for receptions. For business meetings, a 1,239-square-foot conference room features a large projection screen, audiovisual equipment, and high-speed internet access for presentations. The space seats 66 guests theater style, 32 in a classroom-style setup, or holds 107 for reception-style events.