A trip away doesn’t have to be a bank-breaking excursion. In a city as thriving as Chicago, there are a number of cheap options that still sit happily within the boutique hotel category. These hotels offer pop-art-lined walls, oodles of history and eco-friendly practices to rival the city’s most expensive stays.
Something of a hostel/hotel hybrid (for its full hostel version see Holiday Jones), FieldHouse Jones takes over the old 11-story Borden Dairy Depot located in River North area – within walking distance of the Gold Coast and the Loop. Its innovative take on flexible room types and bed arrangements offers everything from dorm-style bunks to loft-style apartments with kitchens. With the community as its focus, it also features a lobby lounge and cafe, as well as fun design elements such as vintage slot machines and local artwork, making it a great spot to hang out and socialize.
The Whitehall has a rich history – it was opened in the 1920s as one of the first luxury high-rises in Chicago and its in-house restaurant was one of the first two to serve alcohol after prohibition was repealed in 1932. If you’re not much of a history buff however, there’s plenty to impress in the rooms, which have Egyptian cotton sheets, cashmere Hypnos beds and marble and onyx bathrooms with soaking tubs. Having undergone a series of extensive renovations over the years, the hotel has modernized a touch while still holding onto its vintage charm.
Earth, wind and fire sit at the crux of what Hotel Felix is about, not just in the decor but also in the hotel’s ethos – this is a hotel committed to being as green as possible. A pond and a mosaic of logs in the lobby evoke a peaceful nature-focused vibe, while meaningful eco-friendly touches include carpets and flooring made from recycled materials. There’s also a Michelin-recommended sushi bar, coffee shop and French bistro on-site, as well as a fitness center.
Located in the heart of Wicker Park, one of Chicago’s most vibrant and creative neighborhoods, the Ruby Room offers a more intimate, chilled-out inn-style experience. The small selection of rooms on offer are immaculately furnished, and block-booking is available. As part of Ruby Room’s healing and wellness focus, guests have access to yoga and meditation programs, a secret garden and discounts on spa services. It’s worth noting that to enhance the relaxation aspect of your stay, rooms don’t have telephones or TVs.
Located in the heart of the central business district, Club Quarters is perfectly placed for both business visits and those looking to explore Chicago’s extensive cultural attractions. It’s just a short stroll from the Symphony Centre, Willis Tower and the Art Institute of Chicago, so it’s easy to traverse the city on foot – you’ll barely need to touch public transport during your stay. Should you get thirsty after a busy day of adventuring, British-style pub Elephant & Castle is the perfect place to settle in with a pint. If the in-house food doesn’t take your fancy, the hotel will happily order takeout direct to your room.
Bridging the gap between budget and boutique, Hotel Versey is a slick and wallet-friendly place to stay. Chicago-oriented art lines the walls, adding a personable feel to the shared spaces. Having opened up a street-front bar in 2017, residents can now chill out here, but the reception space is also cool enough to easily settle in with a book or your laptop for a few hours. Staying here puts you at the junction of several must-visit spots – Wrigley Park, Lincoln Park Zoo and Lake Michigan are all just one mile away.
This River North boutique hotel offers a relaxed and laid-back stay just a few blocks from the riverfront and the Magnificent Mile. Each room is bright and airy, with local artwork adorning the walls. Offering its guests a few well-considered perks, including 24-hour access to the fitness center plus a complimentary drink per night and hors d’oeuvres served in the Double Cross Lounge, it’s the little touches that make the Kinzie an attractive option. Pets are welcome as well – there’s even a doggy room service menu.
For the style-seeker who’s after character and cool vibes from their stay but without the price tag, the Freehand is a strong contender thanks to its vibrant decor and well-appointed downtown River North location. From dorms to private rooms and penthouses, each room is styled with Instagrammable art, and guests are offered access to shared kitchen and lounge facilities if so desired. Socializing is actively encouraged as the Freehand offers its own tours and activities to help you navigate the city. For drinks, head to The Broken Shaker Bar – a Miami import and all-out hipster hotspot that serves an excellent array of cocktails and hosts regular DJ nights.
Casual, Great Location, Stylish, Design, City, LGBTQ-Welcoming, Cosy
Longman and Eagle
Budget Hotel, Inn, Bed and Breakfast
Courtesy of Longman and Eagle / Expedia.com
Stay in the heart of Logan Square at this much-lauded restaurant’s inn-style guest house. There are only six rooms available, with each varying in size and price. Every room has its own distinct character, and you’ll find eccentric design elements as well as original artwork throughout. This hotel is not for those seeking a quiet or sedate spot necessarily – the downstairs bar is especially noisy – but if you’re looking to be in the thick of the action, you can’t get much better than the Longman & Eagle.