The final sprint: Top 5 hotels for the Chicago Marathon

Runners conquer Mile 12 of the Chicago Marathon on Franklin Street. Credit: jordanfischer.

By Nina Kokotas Hahn

On Oct. 9, I’ll be running the 2011 Chicago Marathon — that’s just four weeks away, but whose counting? I’ve trained, woke up bleary-eyed to run in the dark, iced ‘till my skin was numb and stretched, even while reading to my kids. I’m a native Chicagoan who has run and volunteered for this race before, so I know the 29-neighborhood course like the back of my hand. I am ready. Heck, I’ve even done the one thing I seem to forget year after year: made a hotel reservation.

Every year, Chicago hotels book up wickedly fast in the months leading up to the Chicago Marathon. If you haven’t yet scored a room, consider reserving one of these top five Chicago hotels today. Each was selected based on location (within .8 miles or less of the race start at Columbus and Balbo), star rating, on-site convenience and availability (available for a two-night stay from Friday to Sunday at the time this blog was published).

Top 5 last-minute hotels for the 2011 Chicago Marathon

  1. Renaissance Blackstone Chicago, $329/night (base rate): Located .2 miles West of the race start with lake views and Beaux-Arts beauty, comfy beds and a posh restaurant.
  2. Best Western Grant Park, $330/night (base rate): Located .4 miles Southwest of the race start with a prime location and awesome dining at Mei’s Kitchen, all at a bargain (usually priced at $471/night).
  3. Hilton Chicago, $379/night (base rate): Located .2 miles West from the race start and the official headquarters hotel for the Chicago Marathon (enjoy the pre-race pasta buffet on Saturday night).
  4. Wyndham Blake Chicago, $254/night (base rate): Located .5 miles West of the race start with modern style, the award-winning Custom House Tavern and in-room spa treatments.
  5. W Chicago – City Center, $269/night (base rate): Located .8 miles from the race start with luxe rooms and Bliss Spa products, the modern IPO restaurant and Living Room Bar, plus a bargain rate (down from $299/night).

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Nina Kokotas Hahn is a contributing travel writer and editor. Globetrotting since infancy, she’s the daughter of a travel agent and knows a thing or two about finding great travel deals.

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