What We Love
- Jetsetter 2015 Best of the Best Finalist: Best Style Steal
- Occupies the old Tokyo Hotel, a 1920s landmark close to the area’s best shops and restaurants
- Hostel friendliness with big-hotel perks, including free WiFi, 24-hour front desk staff, a restaurant and bar, guest lounge and more
- Playful design courtesy of the team at Roman and Williams (they've worked with Ace Hotel NY, Viceroy New York and more)
- Cocktails and street-food fare at hotspot Broken Shaker, plus coffee and Mesoamerican comfort food at Café Integral
What To Know
- Expect a young crowd and social atmosphere
- Around 40 percent of the rooms are for shared occupancy, but don't worry, your Jetsetter room will be a private one
- The hotel is located in Chicago’s hip River North neighborhood
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
The second property from the trailblazing Freehand brand, this 217-room design hotel opened in a revamped 1920s landmark in Chicago’s increasingly hip River North neighborhood. Part hotel, part hostel, the Freehand all about honest but playful design. Like its Miami sibling, around 40 percent of its guest rooms are for shared occupancy (but don’t worry, your Jetsetter digs will be private). Expect a young crowd and social atmosphere whether it’s over breakfast in Cafe Integral, cocktails in it-bar Broken Shaker, or a midnight feast in the communal kitchen. Private rooms are on the small side but outfitted with all the modern comforts (WiFi, TVs, en-suite bathrooms stocked with posh Argan products, and more) in a high-style mix of wood, leather and vintage accents. The design team at Roman and Williams (Ace Hotel NY, Viceroy New York, the High Line Hotel and more) lean on the Windy City’s rich architectural history and Frank Lloyd Wright connections to craft a highly tactile, heritage look from the dark wood wainscoting and vintage textiles to the bespoke furniture and statement light fixtures.
In the Area
Rent a Divvy bike and roll through the lakefront, past the Chicago River, across the Navy Pier and around some of the city’s famed neighborhoods. Now that Chicago has its very own Michelin guide, eat at some of the city’s starred restaurants. Within walking distance are Rick Bayless’s Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, and Carrie Nahabedian’s Naha. Don’t miss the laughs at the world famous Second City, where such luminaries as Dan Aykroyd, Steve Carell and Tina Fey have performed. The downtown Art Institute houses famous works including American Gothic by Grant Wood and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. And don’t miss the Freehand’s own insider guides for the best places to get cultured, where to shop and where to eat in the Windy City.
How to Get There
It was my only accommodation experience in Chicago that I used only for sleeping, and It has the following advantages; great location in downtown, very helpful and cooperative front desk staff helping me and explaining to me everything I need, sufficient level of room cleanliness, and sleep quality, excellent free WiFi, good breakfast selections, good bathroom, and available nightlife place in the lobby. My other notes are that the room was narrow, and the price was so expensive although it was one of the cheapest options in booking.com, but it was weekend stay, reserved it before my stay by few days, and it was quadruple room, but it was my only available option.
This hotel is right in the middle of the action, location is very good.
Our room was very clean and very basic. My main gripe with this hotel, it feels more like a hippy commune. I think this is better for back packers rather than people travelling with luggage.
The room was very small, just enough room for the bed. Once you add a couple of suitcases it becomes an obstacle course. You could not swing the proverbial cat in here.
If your travelling light and just want somewhere to lay your head and you can get a cheap deal, it’s ok.
Plenty of bars and restaurants nearby.
I won’t be returning.
A boutique hotel with a
comfy bed to rest your head and get a decent sleep. Very good hot shower facility (bring your own toiletries; towels provided). Limited options for bfast in their small kitchen/bfast area.
Charged me $300/night and cleaning staff tossed trash into the toliet (had to fish out the plastic personally) + not making up the room . Cherry on top was terrible breakfast in the morning that doesn't go beyond toast + coffee. They would be better off running a hostel (if anything). Def do not recommend.
Rooms were clean and organised, location was fantastic. They even clean the dishes for you in the kitchen. In terms of convenience and comfort, it's probably the nicest hostel I've stayed in.
However, atmosphere is non-existent and it's near impossible to meet other travellers, with the only "common area" being a very small kitchen. That isn't a criticism of the hostel as some people may like that. In my case I was just visiting friends in Chicago so that was perfect for me. If I didn't know anyone in Chicago though, I would've chosen a different place.