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The InterContinental Hotel Chicago is Family Friendly Luxury

The InterContinental Hotel Chicago is family friendly luxury right in the heart of downtown. Originally built as a men’s athletic club in 1929, the hotel was purchased by InterContinental Hotels in 1988 who immediately set to renovating while maintaining the building’s historical character. When visitors step into the four story lobby, they are instantly transported to a place of luxury and glamour. With doors that lead directly out to Michigan Avenue, the hotel is accessible to anything you could want in the city. Families desiring an upscale hotel with friendly staff, spacious and luxurious rooms, and a top notch location will not be disappointed by the InterContinental Hotel Chicago. 

InterContinental Chicago Family Friendly Luxury-Kids Are A Trip

InterContinental Hotel Chicago

I recently had the opportunity to visit the InterContinental Hotel Chicago as part of #TNTChicago, an event co-hosted by TravelingMom and Techlicious. Most of you know I work for TravelingMom, but Techlicious is a company we work with on TNT (Technology N Travel) events around the country. We have speakers come in and share information about technology, travel, and usually a few other exciting topics. 

The InterContinental Hotel hosted the event (along with CEA and Hasbro) and showed us their recently renovated rooms in their executive tower. I must say, everyone in the tour group was extremely impressed by how spacious the rooms are. (I loved the fact some overlook Michigan Avenue). There is definitely a lot of space for families to spread out. The hotel also offers many packages geared toward families, including a Family Fun Package and an American Girl Package.

What Works for Families

1 – The location cannot be beat. It is right in the middle of the action. Next door is Dylan’s Candy Bar for the kids, and there’s a Starbucks in the building for mom and dad. Do I need to go on? One block to the Chicago River, four blocks to Millennium Park, four blocks to Navy Pier. I honestly love this location.

2 – There is a free shuttle service between the hotel and Navy Pier. No taxis or public transportation needed.

3 – There are many quality food options nearby. There are sit down and carry out restaurants, diners, cafés, and grocery stores. It makes it easy to find something to fit everyone’s tastes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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4 – There is a swimming pool. Not just any swimming pool, a majestic, historic pool surrounded by marble columns and blue tiles, with stained glass windows and an elevated seating area. The seating area used to be where the women would sit and watch their men swim in the pool. The pool is straight out of a Hollywood movie!

Pool at Intercontinental Chicago-Kids Are A Trip
*Note the elevated seating area to the right where the women would sit to watch the men. Photo credit: Intercontinental Chicago

5 – The staff throughout the property was extremely helpful and friendly. A big shout out to Will the doorman who has worked at the hotel for 22 years! He is the most helpful, friendly, patient, genuine person I have ever met. Put a smile on my face (and many others) when we were there.

6 – There are several room options for families. In the Grand Tower, rooms can easily accommodate up to two adults, and two children. In their Executive Tower, rooms can accommodate larger families with their two beds and rollaway couch options. Any place that can fit my family of five scores big points with me.

What Doesn’t Work for Families

1 – Maybe it’s just me and the fact that I’m used to staying at “family friendly” hotels, but the pool doesn’t scream “kid friendly”. Again, maybe it’s because we visited in the morning and the pool was roped off while there were gentlemen swimming laps. I’m not saying my kids wouldn’t go swimming in the pool, but they might have disturbed the other guests.

2 – Breakfast options. The hotel does have packages where you can include breakfast with your stay, but in this day and age, so many families want breakfast included. Period. There is a restaurant onsite, The Continental, that serves breakfast, but you do have to pay for it if you haven’t purchased it as part of your room package.

3 – Parking. This is more of a warning than anything. It will be expensive. It is expensive anywhere you park in downtown Chicago. It is not an InterContinental problem, it is a city problem. My advice to you is to leave the car at home and take public transportation or walk.

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4 – Wi fi. One of my friends who stayed at the hotel said the wi fi wasn’t reliable. The connection dropped several times which she said was frustrating.

History of the Intercontinental Chicago

The hotel was originally built as the Medinah Athletic Club, a men’s only luxury club for members of the Shriner’s Organization in 1929. The club was financially devastated by the fall of the stock market and forced to close its doors in 1934.

In 1988 it was purchased by InterContinental Hotels, who set about renovating the building. They recently completely a renovation of their Executive Tower, with elegant European style decor featuring oversized baths with Italian marble and larger rooms with varying configurations.

The InterContinental has an ideal Chicago location, situated on the famed “Magnificent Mile”, within walking distance of attractions, shopping, entertainment, and restaurants.

The Rooms at Intercontinental Chicago

There are 792 guest rooms, including 75 suites. The hotel has two towers, the Grand Tower and The Executive Tower. The Grand Tower has rooms with contemporary, classic decor and the newly renovated Executive Tower rooms are more European in style, with clean lines. They are opulent, yet refined.

Rooms have mini bars, coffee makers, and 32″ flat panel televisions. The beds in the Executive Tower feature super comfortable (per my friend that stayed there) Serta Presidential Beds, down-filled duvet, and 350-thread count linens. The rooms are large, but the furniture is plain and simple. The bathrooms in the Executive Tower are very spacious, and nicely decorated.

InterContinental Hotel Chicago Rooms-Kids Are A Trip
Photo credit: InterContinental Chicago


The hotel has three main restaurants:

Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse – fine dining, lunch and dinner.

Michael Jordan Steak House InterContinental Chicago-Kids Are A Trip
Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse Photo credit: InterContinental Chicago

The Continental – contemporary dining, this is their breakfast restaurant.

Eno – wine bar looking out onto Michigan Avenue.

There is also a Starbucks and room service.

As I mentioned, I was an outsider looking in, and didn’t get to stay in the hotel, but I would recommend this to my friends without reservation. The InterContinental Chicago has so many positives, families won’t be disappointed if they choose this hotel as their home base.

*Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I did receive free services including lunch and parking as part of the #TNTChicago event. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.


  1. What a pool! I do see what you’re saying about worrying if kids would disturb anyone- anyone who stays at the Intercontinental is definitely wanting peace.

  2. This looks gorgeous! Will have to check out if we are ever in Chicago!

  3. Things brings back so many memories of my time in Chicago. Thanks for the great review. I will keep the Intercontinental in mind the next time I am back in the Windy City.

  4. I remember seeing this hotel when we went to Chicago last summer! I would love to stay here! It looks so nice and luxurious!

  5. How gorgeous do those restaurants look and I am so impressed by the quality of accommodation and other facilities. Personally I thought that the swimming pool looked amazing but it can be difficult when you have children and don’t want to disturb the other guests.

  6. Beautiful. I’m from WI and looooove Chicago so so much. I would love o stay here.

  7. Both the WiFi and the pool would be deal breakers for me, especially with a toddler. I do love the look of the pool but I’d choose something more kid-friendly. And Wifi is a huge deal.

  8. That is one fancy hotel and it would be an amazing adventure to stay there. And that pool, wow, even though we are having cooler weather here, it’s still making me want to dive in it. *shivers and goosebumps*

  9. As long as the wi-fi is free I’d be OK. Thankfully we still have friend in Chicago, so I’d probably park at their house and just use the El train. I miss that metro system! I love the history of the pool too. And lanes or not, my kids would jump in without reservation 😉

  10. never thought of Chitown as a family friendly destination. Excellent review!

  11. Debra Schweizer says:

    You’re review was very informative. I felt like it was so descriptive, I want to book a room tomorrow.

  12. That pool is absolutely gorgeous! We will have to check this out!

  13. I have always wanted to take my family to Chicago – I have been there myself on a biz trip but always wanted to take them as I loved it there. Good to know about this place!

  14. Yes Dia, my kids are pretty much the opposite of peaceful!

  15. Definitely do! The location can’t be beat!

  16. Did you live in Chicago?

  17. Logan, it is pretty stunning!

  18. Ana, it does look spectacular doesn’t it? Maybe I can go one day with my hubby or girlfriends. Then I can really enjoy the luxury!

  19. Come visit!

  20. You can not beat the location! I passed it many times, but never thought of checking it out. Next time we are walking by, I will try to explore it and maybe even grab a meal at the gorgeous steak house.

  21. It just got cold here too Teri, but I would dive in that pool any day!

  22. The wi fi is free if you are a member of their free rewards program. I thought the history of the pool was fascinating too.

  23. Roxanne, I think so many people don’t realize how family-friendly Chicago is! I could entertain my kids all summer with a different activity every day if I wanted to. Come visit it is so much fun here!

  24. Thanks! I hope you’ll come visit and get a chance to enjoy this gorgeous hotel!

  25. That’s a gorgeous hotel! Kind of a bummer about the wifi, but most hotels I’ve stayed at don’t have a great connection.

  26. Debra come see it. You will not be disappointed!

  27. Thanks Laura! Our kids love Chicago and I’m sure yours would too!

  28. Eva, it is so true you cannot beat the location. Definitely check it out the next time you’re in the area.

  29. Shelly, that is so funny! I never heard those rumors. The place looks amazing and the food is supposed to be fantastic. Maybe next time?

  30. You’re right Becca. I have stayed at a lot of hotels that have Wi-Fi issues. Hopefully they’ll figure it out sooner than later.

  31. We just returned from a fun weekend in Chicago! This time we stayed in an apartment we found through AirBnB – but next time I will check out this hotel! Thanks – I love the city of Chicago!

  32. I’ve stayed at the InterContinental in Miami in the past and really enjoyed it. I love that they kept the historical charm of the Chicago location!

  33. looks amazing and that pool is so inviting!

  34. Definitely check out the hotel next time Stacey! So many great things about it!

  35. Jenn, I love historical hotels too. I almost prefer to stay at this type of property.

  36. Right Nicole?

  37. Yes, perfect for a swim!

  38. What a great looking hotel. I’ve never been to Chicago but hopefully will one day.

  39. Karissa, I hope you have a chance to visit. It is a wonderful city!

  40. Gorgeous hotel. Loved how you clearly listed how it’s both family friendly and unfriendly.

    I wish hotels would include free breakfast for kids. They don’t eat much and it would encourage more families to book luxury hotels.

  41. Debbie, I agree. Free breakfast would seal the deal every time.

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