InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile KTGY SDDG

Hospitality Interiors

September 27, 2023

KTGY’s award-winning interior design studio, KTGY Simeone Deary Design Group, recently completed a stunning redesign of the North Tower of InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile. The building, formerly the Medinah Athletic Club, commissioned by the Shriners Organisation and completed in 1929, boasts a vibrant history and ornate architecture, both of which served as a rich source of inspiration for the new design. With a focus on translating old-world opulence into a modern aesthetic, the remodel breathes new life into the InterContinental’s 26-story tower addition that was completed in 1961.

To elevate the hotel’s interior spaces and complement its exterior grandeur — most notably seen in three large relief carvings done in the ancient Assyrian style — KTGY crafted a Mediterranean mélange of design elements. The studio artfully incorporated influences from Moorish, Greek, Turkish, Persian, and Celtic cultures, all while infusing contemporary sensibilities through monochromatic and textural palettes. The result is a visually exciting, harmonious fusion of ancient beauty and modern sophistication.

Each of the 315 guest rooms in the North Tower received a luxurious refresh, complete with textured wall coverings, headboards upholstered in two complementary Moorish patterns, elegant, leather-topped nightstands, and window coverings trimmed in a Greek key motif. Chic lighted vanity areas provide guests with an elevated, effortless experience, while updated amenity stations featuring intricately patterned cabinetry offer modern amenities for a comfortable and convenient stay.

For the project, KTGY curated artwork that pays homage to the building’s rich legacy, while creating a welcoming residential feel. In the king guest rooms, a collection of four animal prints hangs above the headboard. The prints — depicting a lion, fish, eagle, and Assyrian bull — reference scenes featured on the exterior frieze, and each animal sports a fez hat, a charming nod to the famous Arabian-inspired headwear worn by the Shriners. Guests will also find artwork depicting Egyptian-inspired scarabs placed over abstract images, as well as prints of black tassels (another reference to the Shriners’ hats) layered over a Mediterranean-inspired pattern. Each creation was chosen to imbue rooms with a sense of history and culture.

Redesign efforts extend to the guest room corridors, where KTGY beautifully juxtaposed tonal, textured wallpaper with Moorish blue trim around the doors and baseboards. The vivid color references the InterContinental’s junior-Olympic swimming pool — the oldest indoor pool in Chicago, well-known for its size and original 1920s-era Spanish Majolica tiles — and complements the corridor’s Arabesque-patterned carpets. Inspired by the iconic Onion Dome perched atop the hotel’s roof, the bold carpet design further evokes a sense of grandeur and elegance throughout the space.

The North Tower’s meeting rooms, walkways, and public spaces were also infused with Mediterranean influence. Boardrooms now feature intricate wall coverings, reminiscent of the delicate beading often found in Middle Eastern textiles. Arabian carpets with fringed edges add an extra touch of personality to the rooms, creating an atmosphere that is both luxurious and approachable. The twisting corridors that surround the meeting spaces have been thoughtfully updated with warm wood tones, generous planters, and intricate wall tiles, adding unexpected visual interest and texture to the space.

KTGY’s visionary redesign of the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile marks a new era in the hotel’s illustrious history, one that seamlessly blends the building’s past, present, and future to create a space that is unmistakably of the now. With an acute attention to detail, the design team paid homage to the landmark structure’s inception almost 100 years ago, while incorporating design elements that exquisitely modernize the North Tower for a new millennium.