Radisson Blu Just Opened Its First North American Hotel In Chicago—And It's Dark But Gorgeous

radisson blu aqua hotel

Photo: Meredith Galante/Business Insider

Disclosure: Thrillist paid for our travel and expenses to tag along for their Hotel Thrillist party.At 81 floors, the building that houses the new Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in downtown Chicago looks like a wave rising into the sky, with curving balconies that make the hotel seem to ripple.

The hotel lives up to its four-star ranking with clean, modern rooms, friendly concierge service, countless amenities, and spectacular views.

The Radisson Blu is the chain’s first in North America, and opened it doors in November to the public. The first 18 floors are for the hotel (there are 334 rooms), and floors 19-81 are for residential use.

With three weddings being hosted there this past weekend and Thrillist throwing its annual Hotel Thrillist event, the lobby, pool, and restaurants were bustling, but the staff seemed to handle the influx effortlessly.

The rooms are “fashion inspired” and start at about $200 a night. Inside the hotel is very dim, as if trying to impress a very posh crowd.

The hotel has a gym that spans 8,000 square feet and even has a basketball court. Outside, there is 80,000-square-feet of space with a fire pit, outdoor-running track, a pool, and cabanas.

From every balcony at the hotel, there is a 180-degree view.

In the lobby, a huge wall of mirrors is shrouded by a patterned gold metal sheet.

The fireplace in the lobby looks like candles, but gave off a lot of heat.

You check in at three free-standing glowing white desks.

Also on the first floor is an art gallery.

This 3D piece was pretty trippy.

The hallways have black and white sketches of famous Chicago landmarks. It's very modern and intricate.

Finally, we arrived at our room. When you first enter, you're greeted by a shimmering closet, then the mostly blue room.

Each side of the bed has reading lights. The room was poorly lit overall, with no main light.

The rain shower in the bathroom was very relaxing.

Over by the balcony, there's a space to sit and read about Chicago's architecture.

Here's the view from room 916.

The balcony bends out to give guests these views.

Down below, Thrillist was setting up in the courtyard for its party.

On the third floor, there is an indoor and outdoor pool.

The indoor pool is long and narrow, meant for swimming laps. There is a jacuzzi at the other end.

The outdoor pool has a few lanes for swimming. Residents of the Radisson and guests have access to the amenities.

There's not a bad view from the hotel pool either.

At night, guests and residents can huddle around the fire pit.

There's a rock garden down below.

We had the chance to eat at the hotel restaurant Filini, a contemporary Italian restaurant and bar.

Filini spans the first and second level, with the first floor being much more casual.

For brunch, I ordered the frittata with cheese and peppers.

The ciabatta sandwich with turkey was also very good.

The chefs at Filini also made this concoction of mozzarella stuffed with squash.

Take one more look at the very cool structure.

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