You enter Chicago Sofitel, designed by Jean-Paul Viguier, proceed to the bar of Café des Architectes, and… shed your American identity. Now, voyager, you are a French film heroine on a date with a mysterious stranger (so what if you two have been married for ages). A glass of Bordeaux and a board of briede meaux, longres, and crottin maitre seguin will round up the impression of being transported elsewhere while feeling completely at home. Such is the power of this crystalline polished space with flickering lights, reflective surfaces, and winter décor for the nobly restrained holiday season. “Some say, Sofitel is like a white bride to John Hancock Center in black, and they are kissing in the air,” said Lisa Adelman, a PR and Marketing Manager of Sofitel Chicago Water Tower. Built “around an invisible cone” by Adelman’s description, a 32-story Sofitel extends 52 feet over the street level, creating a fashion-forward look with its simple clean lines. Ample atrium with a grand staircase and a grand ballroom on the third floor provide plenty of room for events big and small. An interior decorator comes in every week to update the tasteful look of the lobby. No wonder bridal parties, weddings, and glamorous holiday outings are crowding the event schedule at the hotel, named after the only historical landmark that survived the great Chicago fire, and built in 2002 on a patch of prime downtown land next to its namesake. “We took chances with colors,” said Adelman. “They are muted, but red, purple, and black—no beige. The presidential suite is in royal blue, black, and cream, with a rotating entertainment center, bathtub with a view, and a suitcase space big enough for Louis Vuitton luggage… Hallways are designed the way that rooms are not straight across from each other,” so if you open your door to pick up a morning paper, there is no danger of giving your neighbor an unintended eyeful. In other words, attention to detail and sincere appreciation for life’s little luxuries makes Sofitel a place to stay with plaisir. Located at 20 East Chestnut Street, Chicago, IL 60611. Call 312-324-4000 or visit www.sofitel.com. Photography by Yuri Krasov.