Donald Trump's ambitions don't stop at turning Aberdeenshire into a golf course. Over in Chicago, the billionaire is engaged in a similarly audacious project – turning a hotel into a landmark. When a 22-storey spire is popped on top of the Trump International Hotel & Tower, the skyscraper will become the second highest building in the city, after the Sears Tower. It will also make it the tallest residential building in North America.
Chicago is just the place for a man like Trump to make such a bold visual statement. Since the Home Insurance Building went up here in 1885 – the world's first skyscraper – this mid-west city's skyline has been a homage to the wealth and power of America's great industrialists.
Yet, when Santiago Calatrava's Chicago Spire opens a few blocks away in 2011, Trump's Tower will be relegated to third place. It can only be a matter of time before he hatches another grand plan to catch the world's attention.
Size is everything, with the 339 rooms scaled from 600 square feet to 1,000 to allow spacious sleeping, lounging and bathing areas, and fully equipped kitchens as standard. Predictably, the spec is high – top-quality linen, 42in TVs, limestone bathrooms, Miele appliances. But the winning feature is the floor-to-ceiling windows which offer lake, river and city views.
The food and drink
At Sixteen – on the sixteenth floor, of course – diners enjoy Australian chef Frank Brunacci's American cuisine beneath Swarovski chandeliers with killer views of architectural gems such as the Wrigley Clock Tower through its 30ft high windows. It's the hottest dinner date in town. Rebar, the riverside cocktail lounge on the mezzanine, serves sophisticated beverages and neo-Japanese snacks.
Shopping on Michigan Avenue, Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate and Frank Gehry's Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millenium Park, are within walking distance, while the city's fabulous architecture is all around. Back at the hotel, The Spa at Trump has recently opened with a large gym and pool. There's a children's programme, too.
Children welcome. Modified facilities and rooms are available for guests with disabilities.
Doubles cost from $525 per night, room only. Check the website for special offers.
Trump International Hotel & Tower, 401 N Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611 (001 312 588 8000; trumpchicagohotel.com ).