I can almost hear the clatter of hooves against the cobblestones as my ride pulls into the grand courtyard of the Waldorf Astoria Chicago (formerly the Elysian Hotel). It’s only my imagination, though, as I’m in one of the hotel’s Lexus town cars and not a horse-drawn carriage, but such is the evocative nature of the hotel’s grand design. If the exterior is all old-world elegance, then the interior, conceptualized by Chicago-based Simeone Deary Design Group, is distinctly haute couture. The fashion houses of Christian Dior and Chanel inspired the design of the lobby: long drapes with fan-like folds are modelled after a vintage Dior day coat from the fall/winter 1947 collection, while interlocking circles (emblematic of the Chanel logo) are tiled into the floor and echo a playful chandelier, modelled after a Chanel brooch; a pair of enormous carved classical busts by Mexican artist Javier Marín give the lobby texture and focus. The rooms and suites, of which there are 188 total, are a sophisticated blend of grey on black tones with sprays of purple flowers.