Hotel Blake, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member
What We Love
- Top location in the heart of downtown Chicago near State Street, Grant Park, Soldier Field and McCormick Place
- Oversize rooms with 12-foot ceilings
- Free WiFi
What To Know
- This Jetsetter Flex Sale allows for cancellations within the hotel's standard policy
- In-room spa treatments available
- Meli Café is adjacent to the hotel
- Pets up to 25 lbs are welcome for an additional $50 fee (plus tax)
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
In Chicago’s historic Printer’s Row area, the Blake Hotel is a top city pick for business travelers and families. The large lobby sets a stylish, formal tone with dark hardwood paneling, white tiles and red accents from the chairs to artwork. Upstairs, all 162 rooms are large by city standards and have lofty 12-foot ceilings, dark patterned carpets and enormous windows framing views of the city. King or Queen beds are dressed with Egyptian cotton linens, and there are flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers with Lavazza blends and ensuite bathrooms stocked with Bed & Bath toiletries. The next-door Meli Café supplies room service 6:30 am-10 pm, or guests can dine in on hearty breakfast platters or healthy Mediterranean-inspired dishes. The small gym is open round the clock, or head out for a circuit in nearby Grant Park.
In the Area
With a central location in Printer’s Row, a stay here puts all of the Windy City spots within easy reach. Rent a bike for a whistle stop tour of Navy Pier, the theater district and architectural icons along the river, or stroll to Millennium Park and admire Anish Kapoor’s famed Cloud Gate installation. Keen shoppers will get their fix in the upscale department stores along Mag Mile, while foodies should make reservations in advance for dinner at enduring favorites, Frontera Grill and Sepia, or follow our fall 2014 restaurant preview and check out some of the city’s best new additions.
How to Get There
Great place. Put some oil on the door hinges. They were very squeaky. We left a note with the front desk, so hopefully that's all fixed by now. The front desk and concierge people, along with the doorman were wonderful.
A little off the beaten path, but in walking distance to the city. This hotel is less than a mile to Willis Tower and Millennium Park. The magnificent mile and Navy Pier are a little further, but you can definitely walk there. The hotel staff was very helpful and always accommodating. Oh, and the bed was SO comfortable!
Our flight from Chicago home was cancelled due to weather. Obviously a bunch of other flights were also cancelled because all the hotels we would normally book were sold out. Hotels were selling out so fast that we lost 2 bookings right in the middle of entering our credit card info online.
Hotel Blake had literally the last non-scary room we could find in not only the Loop, but ANYWHERE up or downtown, east or west. And clearly all the hotels were cashing in on the rush of displaced travelers, because this obviously 2-3 star hotel got us for nearly $500 for one night.
We didn’t even have time to read reviews. We just booked it.
I will say that they seem to be trying, but they’re punching way above their weight at $500 a night. Despite their best efforts, this is no boutique hotel. It’s an old hotel that some investors redecorated on the cheap.
Maybe the $500 rate was just the last minute cash grab price, but if it’s anywhere near their standard rate, they’ve got to be kidding.
We had just spent 4 nights at the Peninsula for $350/night on a special. Comparing the Peninsula to the Blake is like comparing a Porsche to a bowl of instant oatmeal.
Ok, it’s not all bad (and I’m literally sitting in our room writing this). The desk girl was professional and courteous, though she did try to send us to the restaurant in the hotel for breakfast, claiming it has won some sort of best brunch awards. Upon investigation, the restaurant’s reviews are pretty luke warm, and customer’s photos of the food are even more off-putting.
But I digress.
The AC seems to be working pretty well. The room is relatively quiet, despite a low floor window onto the street. No noise from other guests left right or above.
My biggest complaint is that this hotel just smells. Bad. Like maybe it used to be a smoking friendly hotel but then went smoke free and is trying to hide the smell of smoke with way too much cheap carpet cleaner. Maybe they don’t clean the carpets at all. Whatever the cause, the air is stale, even in the lobby, and it only gets worse as you pass thru the hallway to the room. It smells like what I imagine a budget hotel in 1965 would have smelled like, before there were steam cleaning vacuums and scent engineers.
In the smelly room, myriad other skimped details reveal themselves rapidly.
The TV is small, with an ugly tangle of wires hanging from it. The remote only works from the bed if you fully extend your arm straight up and aim directly at the TV. There is no on screen channel guide.
All the lights in the room have horribly bright screw-in fluorescent bulbs. No dimmers. Just a cold harsh glow. My wife went to sleep early and the only way I could stay up and not disturb her was to turn off all the glaring lights except for the bathroom. So I’m sitting in a basically pitch dark room with the ugly ambient light of the bathroom bouncing off the icky yellow walls.
Speaking of the bathroom, there’s a dingy yellow plastic phone on the wall that looks like it’s been there since Hill Street Blues. And there’s a random coax cable connection sticking out of the wall. Was there a TV in the bathroom at some point? Or was the bathroom not a bathroom in a previous life?
The shower stall seems like a stab at modern, but it’s done up in scary yellow/brown tiles that are clearly designed to hide ugly stains.
The bed is reasonably firm, but bouncy and squeaky, i.e. cheap. There’s no way to move around in the bed without disturbing the person next to you. A good bed isolates your movements.
The furniture is kinda dated and a bit tired. Same with the carpet. The room itself is big with nice high ceilings, but it’s just so nondescript and stale smelling that it’s really kind of depressing.
Will it get us through the night? Yes. Is it worth more than we spent at the Peninsula? Please...
Many things were fine. Rooms were nice and the staff friendly. The location allowed walking to most attractions,from the Art Institute to the Field Museum. Plenty of restaurants near by to give you the taste and spirit of the city. Also 2 blocks from the nearest L station. A 25 minute ride from the Midway airport if you choose to arrive that way. Valet parking available. More renovations to come as it becomes part of the Bluegreen network.
We had a wonderful stay. Close to public transportation and lots of little local spots. Grant park was just a few blocks away. Meli, the cafe, was great - delicious and unique breakfast options and yummy desserts.