art + design

What’s Hanging in Your Hotel Room?

The CAA guest rooms feature original artwork


When you visit any city and you’re looking for a hotel, you no doubt look at the amenities you’ll find in your room: plush down comforters and high-thread-count sheets; a well-stocked mini bar with local snacks and drinks; maybe even free Wi-Fi. But how often do you think about what’s on the walls?

Long gone are the days of the cheap oil paintings you’d find adhered to the walls at a place like an inexpensive roadside motel. These days, hotels have stepped up their game as they understand guests want a fully immersive experience and that includes seeing beautiful art when they wake up in the morning and look around their room.

The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel commissioned two artists — Roman and Williams designer Stephen Alesch and Alicia LaChance — to add engaging, exciting and somewhat whimsical flourishes to the guestroom artwork (the suites have different works – we’ll discuss those at a later date).

Alesch, the co-founder of New York design firm Roman and Williams that designed the hotel, took works of art that were part of the property’s original collection and updated them by adding modern flourishes. For example, he took an image of the Lincoln Monument in Washington and added a cityscape and also imposed a dancing black cat to a forest scene in another painting.

LaChance, on the other hand, enhanced old photographs of former CAA members with colored images and shapes. So photos of people playing billiards, throwing shot put or hanging out by the now-closed pool got fun additions.

Next time you check into a room, be sure to pay attention to the art. There’s more there than meets the eye.

From The Vault

Chicago's August Street Festivals Look Around the Pre-Hotel Chicago Athletic Association Chicago's Music Scene in the '90s Live Storyteller Series Around Town Zoolights at Lincoln Park Zoo Chicago's New Contemporary Art Collection Gear up for Camp Northerly! Guide Yourself to Detox Through Juice