Family Vacation Critic Favorite

The James Chicago

55 East Ontario, Chicago, 60611, IL

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1 Room / 2 Adults

1 rooms,
2 adults
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Editor's Rating


The James is ideally situated in the heart of downtown, on the corner of Orlando and Rush Street, steps away from the shopping on Michigan Avenue and within easy walking distance to Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, and many other popular sites. That is, if you can tear your kids away from the comfy confines of your room. The hotel features 26 lofts, where families can watch movies on the wall of a so-called media room. Then there’s the collaboration with designer Paul Frank, who provides young guests with pajamas, along with milk and cookies at turn down. And Paul Frank-designed bikes are at your disposal to pedal along the nearby Lake Michigan waterfront. There are even Paul Frank-designed car seats for families who rent cars.

Additional amenities for children include a well-stocked children’s book and DVD collection and a children’s menu served at the hotel’s restaurant, David Burke’s Primehouse. Mom and dad will appreciate the state-of-the-art fitness equipment and three treatment rooms of the gym and spa located in the lower level of the hotel. The James Chicago really does cater to all.

Our Editor Loves

  • Easy walking distance to Millennium
  • Room lofts featuring movies projected onto the walls
  • Bikes and car seats for kids

Family Interests

  • Bicycling
  • Museum/Cultural

Family Amenities

  • Babysitting
  • Cribs
  • DVD
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Kids' Theme Meals
  • Laundry
  • Onsite Dining

Room Information

Find the Best Price for Your Stay

There are many room configurations, with choices from a standard room with two double beds to the exclusive penthouse loft suite with formal living room.

Loft Suites
The 550-square-foot Loft King Suite is perfect for a family of four. The intriguing layout includes a queen-sized bed that sits behind a steel mesh screen for privacy. The kids can sleep in a platform bed in the "media room," where DVDs can be projected onto a large wall to create your own private movie screen. Between the two beds there's a sitting area with a dining room table and an iPod dock with speakers.

Other amenities include a flat-screen television, coffeemaker with Starbucks coffee, complimentary Wi-Fi and daily newspaper delivery. The spacious bathroom features two sinks, a shower and separate tub.

Family Activities

Bike Trail
Grab one of those Paul Frank bikes and venture over to the lake where a bike trail hugs the enormous body of water. Head north and you'll reach the soft sand of Oak Street Beach. Head south to ride the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier and visit the Shedd Aquarium to go eyeball-to-eyeball with dozens of sharks atop a coral reef that's teeming with 500 colorful species of fish.

Board Games, DVDs and Books
Kids will love the wide selection of books and classic board games as well as kid-friendly movies that can be watched on the projector in the private media room.

Family Dining

Grab one of the red leather booths at the hotel's restaurant, Primehouse, and sink your teeth into the juicy rib eye or filet mignon. A children's menu lets kids savor a mini burger, grilled cheese sandwich, or penne, all washed down with a creamy milkshake. Primehouse is open for breakfast, dinner and Saturday and Sunday brunch.

In-Room Dining
There's also 24-hour room service if you're having too much fun watching movies in the media room.

Planning & Tips

All About the Extras
Take time to look at some of the photographs, prints, and paintings on the walls of The James. The hotel takes pride in acquiring cutting-edge contemporary art.

Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.

Pet Friendly
Pets are welcome to stay here.

The James is happy to arrange a babysitter so you want to dine in peace at Primehouse.

The Art of Smart Timing
Try to avoid heading to Chicago in mid-winter, when the Windy City greets you with a blast of Arctic chill. The price of a room might be slightly reduced at this time, but is it worth it to endure the freezing cold? Come in the summer, when the city comes out to celebrate in the warm weather and the lakeshore pulsates with activity.

Getting There
O'Hare International Airport is about an hour away from this hotel and Chicago Midway International Airport is about 30 minutes away.

Getting Around
Ideally situated in downtown Chicago, many attractions and restaurants are within walking (or biking) distance.

For Mom and Dad
Snag a treatment room in the spa for a massage that always ends with an aromatherapy footbath guaranteed to have you ready to hit the pavement again the next day.