What We Love
- Triangular-shaped Corner Suites, which afford the best city views
- Le Labo bath products in all the rooms
- The rooftop bar prioritizes hotel guests
- Free WiFi
What To Know
- The hotel is a 15-minute drive or train ride from Chicago’s central business district, The Loop
- There’s no fitness center on the premises, but guests can access a neighboring gym for $25 a day
- Because of the hotel’s closeness to the L train, rooms are equipped with earplugs
Converting an iconic 1929 office building into a tony urban retreat was no easy feat. But after a hotly anticipated three-year revamp (which also included the hotel’s sister property, The Hollander, a 20-room hostel which sits in a refurbished 1905 warehouse next door), the tasteful transformation, carefully monitored by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, preserved the tower’s historic heart. Expertly restored features include a handsome marble and brass lobby, vintage arrow floor indicators in the elevator bank, and an ornamental rooftop spire. Upstairs, 69 guest rooms are refreshingly minimalist with earth tones and hardwood floors and lots of natural light, though certain quirks, like retro phones and mid-century modern furniture, add just the right dose of nostalgia. Marvel at Wicker Park’s six-corner intersection from the floor-to-ceiling windows at the street-level French-American bistro, or sip an espresso in the homey second-floor lounge. The real draw here, however, is the unobstructed Chicago skyline—Lake Michigan views included—best enjoyed with a nightcap from a low-slung sofa at Up & Up, the hotel’s glass-encased 13th-floor lounge.
In the Area
Wedged between scenic Wicker Park—Victorian homes, tree-lined streets—and trendy Bucktown, the hotel is one of the first to sprout up on Chicago’s West Side (four L stops from downtown). Boutiques abound, ranging from Shinola, where Detroit-made watches and bicycles steal the scene, and Bucketfeet, which stocks a dazzling collection of limited-edition tennis shoes and flip-flops. The neighborhood also brims with some of the most sought after eateries in the city, including taco stalwart Big Star, the original outpost of The Bongo Room (a popular breakfast institution that flips the most decadent pancakes in town), and The Violet Hour, a James Beard Award-winning speakeasy.
How to Get There
Had a birthday in Bucktown so decided to stay at the Robey to be able to walk around the area after . Very happy we did because it was next to everything. Fun lively community. Lots of options for food, drinks and live music . After staying at hundreds of hotels the Robey bed was in the top three for sure!
I stayed at the Robey for a couple of nights for business meetings. The hotel offered some wonderful things, but my experience was decidedly mixed.
The check-in process was just not good. I arrived at around 12:45 pm and was informed that my room was not yet ready but that the establishment has a guaranteed 3 pm check-in. They staff at that point was polite. I left to meet friends for lunch.
I returned to the desk at about 3:35 pm. The room was still not ready. The front desk attendant sent me up to the second story bar/cafe for a complimentary coffee. There was a couple ahead of me who was politely asked by the barista if they had been sent up by the front desk and were waiting to check in. When they answered in the affirmative, she made their coffees, and pleasantly sent them on their way.
I then requested my coffee. Not bothering to ask whether I had been sent up or was waiting to check in, she attempted to charge me for it. I then told her that, like the people she had just served, I had been sent up by the front desk and was also waiting to check in. Not apologizing for the differential treatment, she snapped that the desk told her that they had sent a couple up and that they said nothing about a single man.
As I was walking away, the barista called the front desk to verify whether or not I had been sent up. She also complained about my attitude, something she should not have done while I was within earshot. I was stunned by her lack of professionalism. About an hour later, she approached me with news that the room was ready. To compensate for my wait, the hotel gave me a couple of free breakfast vouchers. Not too shabby.
The room was small, but well appointed and comfortable. However, what few surfaces there were in the bedroom and bathroom were cluttered with tchotchkes and magazines people never read. The spaces where one might put clothes (there are no dressers), were loaded with snacks. I moved them.
The restaurant is the best thing about the Robey. The food was terrific, and the service was great. This said, the last morning I was there, there was a 35 minute wait for a space for 1. I opted for a nearby coffee shop instead.
The Robey is very hip, it’s in a great area, and it’s really convenient to the Loop and O’Hare. However, given the experience I had and the myriad great hotel options in Chicago, I would not stay here again.
I would, however, go back to the resto (but only with a reservation).
1. The building: beautiful inside and out. Art deco monolith on the outside, sleek mid-century vibe inside. Our landmark queen room was bright and airy, and felt plenty big for a couple. We stayed on the Milwaukee side on an upper floor, and had a "city peaceful" night, not loud enough to bother us (we are city dwellers). Definitely check out the rooftop bar for a sweet view, comfortable lounge, and unique hangout spot called the "grotto."
2. The neighborhood: energetic and welcoming. You get a card when you check in with several nearby businesses that offer discounts to Robey guests. Definitely check them out, they did a great job selecting partners. Great food is to be had immediately nearby as well as walking distance along Milwaukee. Also easy to hop the Blue Line to the loop and O'hare.
3. The staff/management: thoughtful and eager. The hotel hosts many events that seem cool and carefully curated. Staff were organized and aware, and everyone was welcoming and patient. Our room was well-maintained every day, the restaurant and bar were appropriately staffed by attentive servers, and the front desk staff were prompt and knowledgeable.
Loved the location of the Robey. Great area for shopping and restaurants. I would definitely stay there again. Very easy to get to downtown and walking distance to my niece’s house. The food at the Robey was delicious, especially the breakfast.
Coolest hotel! Trendy, great location, and perfect for the foodie! Truly no need to venture off anywhere else....The Robey has everything you need for a great stay. Rooftop bar has amazing views of the city. No doubt we will be back next time we have business in Chicago!