Hyatt Is Turning The Cook County Hospital Into Two Hotels

Hyatt is nearly done turning a former Chicago hospital into a hotel. Well, two hotels actually with a combined 210 rooms.

The Hyatt House Chicago – Medical / University District and Hyatt Place Chicago – Medical / University District open for stays beginning July 25. These two properties are the first Hyatt Place and Hyatt House together in one building. The former is upscale limited service, while the latter is extended stay.

The old Cook County Hospital has been closed for almost 20 years. A $150 million restoration gives the 342,000 square foot 1914 Beaux-Arts building a new use. In addition to guest rooms and meeting facilities there’s also “a food hall, medical offices and a museum paying tribute to the hospital’s legacy.”

Listed as both a Chicago landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places, the interior of the building was completely gutted except for old surgical theaters on the eighth floor. Restoration work has restored and preserved numerous architectural details including terracotta ornamentation, wood-framed windows, interior decorative plaster work, the double height main lobby and 106-year old restored marble stone staircase, elevator cores, as well as the double-loaded corridor and terrazzo flooring of the interior. The team also spent over $18 million to replace all windows and 4,160 terra cotta pieces on the exterior, made of granite, brick and limestone.

There’s nothing new about converting apartments to hotels, department stores to hotels, or for that matter hospitals to hotels. The very nicest ex-hospital hotel is surely Amantaka in Luang Prabang, Laos. The hospital closed in 2005 and re-opened three years later transformed into a luxury hotel with villas, including with their own pools.

Amantaka, credit: Richard Michael Shaw via Wikimedia Commons

This won’t be nearly as luxurious, but the building has a storied history including as the first blood bank in the country.

Cook County Hospital first opened in 1857 and was used as a teaching hospital by Rush Medical School. The hospital, designed by architect Paul Gerhardt, was rebuilt in 1914. It closed after it was replaced by Stroger Hospital of Cook County in 2002.

Is this super cool, a place you’d love to stay, or a bit weird especially with so many people suffering in hospitals during the current pandemic? Either way it’s a challenging time to open two new hotels.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Luang Prabang is a cool offbeat spot for a vacation. Excellent food and drink — didn’t stay at your hotel, but will have to try it if I go back. Plus some interesting airlines at the airport.

  2. My grandfather did his medical residency here in the 1920s, so I am definitely planning a stay!

  3. Actually, there is a Hyatt House and Hyatt Place in the same building in downtown Indianapolis.

  4. There is also a Hyatt Place and Hyatt House in the same building in Denver. They even share a lobby area.

  5. I was a nursing student at County in the late 70s. I loved learning at that Hospital. As students we weren’t allowed to go past the 6th floor, 7th floor was Cook Co. Jail floor.You had to have security clearance to go past that floor. None of us knew there was a old Medical Theater on the 8th floor. I would love to see the Theater since there are few left. Always loved the history of this Hospital & Dr. Fantus Clinic.

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