RIVER NORTH — The Amalfi Hotel's days are numbered.
The 215-room boutique hotel at 20 W. Kinzie St. began room-by-room renovations this month to slowly transform from the Amalfi to the rebranded Kinzie Hotel.
The fully revamped Kinzie Hotel will open in February, with a contemporary vibe that includes nods to its namesake, John Kinzie, a controversial Chicago figure who helped settle the city.
Kinzie was a silversmith and trader who moved to Chicago in the late 1700s. The site of his former home, the Kinzie Mansion, is marked today with a placard installed in 1937 proclaiming him "Chicago's first civilian," and his daughter, Ellen Marion Kinzie, the city's "first white child."
Kinzie also has the distinction of being involved in "Chicago's first controversial murder," according to a release from Amalfi. Kinzie shot fellow Chicago settler Jean Lalime in 1812 at Fort Dearborn, then fled, and was later acquitted when the shooting was ruled self-defense.
The next year Kinzie was charged with treason, but escaped extradition back to England and eventually returned to Chicago in 1816, where he stayed until his death in 1828.
The new hotel's motif will nod to Kinzie's influence on Chicago history with wall treatment in guest rooms that features a street map of historic Chicago. The hotel's new bar, the Double Cross Lounge, alludes to "a silver piece designed by John Kinzie in the shape of a double-barred cross, as well as his mercurial reputation," according to a release from Amalfi.
"Our focus was to create a concept that truly spoke to the history of Chicago, and we found exactly that in John Kinzie," General Manager Dennis Igoe said in the news release issued by the hotel Tuesday. "Incorporating elements of his story throughout the hotel’s design, amenities, packages, and promotions has established a platform on which to build a truly authentic Chicago experience for our guests."
New rooms at the Kinzie Hotel include 210 standard guest rooms, five suites, a business center and more than 1,500 square feet of meeting space.
The hotel will remain open during renovations, according to a spokeswoman. As a result, some Kinzie Hotel rooms will be available to the public before the formal opening in February.