Radisson Blu Aqua: Sustainable Luxury at it's finest

When looking for a place to stay one doesn't think of how "green" their lodging options should be.  That used to be the case for me before I started digging deep into how I can adopt a more sustainable lifestyle- even when traveling.  As the search for eco-friendly hotels progressed I came across the Radisson Blu Aqua: Chicago's leading sustainable luxury hotel, and they were kind enough to host me to prove it. 

11:30 AM 

I finally get to my hotel and look up.... wow

  • Internationally acclaimed environmentally-conscious architect Jeanne Gang implemented practical green solutions aimed at achieving high performance in areas such as sustainable site development. 92% of ALL construction waste was recycled while the hotel was being built.  Considering the size of this building, that's extremely impressive. 


Snapped a pic outside the lobby before check-in, where I was given a very warm welcome by the staff.  


Hurried upstairs to find a beautiful park suite all to myself.  I instantly fall in love with the room's sleek & minimalist design and color scheme.  The soft hues of gray, white, and blue set the tone for relaxation. I waste no time and pamper myself for a couple of hours.  I am elated. 

2:00 PM 

I get ready and head downstairs for my private tour of the entire hotel. First stop, lobby: 


From the very moment I walked into the hotel I have to say I was blown away by the interior and overall ambiance of the Radisson Blu Aqua.  The hotel's interior designer, Jim Hamilton, designed the property in a way that served as a tribute to the beautiful city of Chicago:

  • Some of Chicago's reclaimed-steel is incorporated into the flooring design. (pictured above)
  • If you look closely the rug's design in the lobby is actually an aerial view of the city of Chicago
  • The signage throughout the hotel is actually made with recycled Chicago printing press components. 
  • The wall that separate the lobby from the restaurant/bar area is sculpted to look like the Chicago Skyline.  I am saving THAT for the video this week! :) 

The Radisson Blu Aqua's "Art of Blu" app allows guests to experience a curated, self-guided tour through the hotel’s lobby and permanent art gallery (yes, art gallery), which features pieces ranging from Chicago street photography and oil canvas and even sculptures.  This tour is definitely something you don't want to miss out on during your stay at the Radisson Blu.  You'd be surprised at how much history you learn about the city because of it. 

Sustainability & Giving Back

The Radisson Blu Aqua is LEED certified, which is the foremost program for design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.  To date it is Chicago's only LEED-CI full service hotel in Chicago.  Here's everything else you don't know-

  • Day to day operations include:
  • sustainable practices such as 20% reduction in water waste. 
  • 31% reduction in light power - (Ex: my closet lights would only light up after sun down)
  • 100% of materials used have a low VOC content
  • Zero use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs - that stuff that causes global warming) 
  • What about waste? The hotel recycles & distributes over 15,000 bars of soap & appx. 33,000 bottled amenities to children in need each year.  
  • The hotel is also partnered with the Just a Drop program, an international water aid charity that will ensure the hotel brand provides a lifetime's supply of fresh drinking water to 12,000 children per year.  For every night you opt out of room service the hotel will donate $5 in your name towards that initiative. ** No room service needed! 


You don't have to go far to get a posh dining experience.  Downstairs next to the lobby you'll find Filini, an upscale restaurant serving some of the best Italian cuisine in Chicago.  Not in the mood for dinner?  Enjoy their specialty cocktails downstairs by the bar; and if come at the right time, you can enjoy a live jazz on a cool afternoon by the terrace. 

My experience at the Radisson Blu Aqua was definitely one of the most luxurious hospitality stays I've had, and it felt ten times better staying there knowing I was contributing to the sustainable cause.  Their attention to detail is impeccable- everything from the decor to the service, to the personalized nick nacks you find in your room to make your stay all the more comfortable.  Without a single doubt, I WILL be back. 


Be sure to check out more about the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago on their website


A HUGE thank you to the entire staff at Radisson Blu Aqua hotel; special thanks to Kelly Kroyer & Janice Yu. 


This post was sponsored by Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel.  All opinions are my own.