The Wheeler Mansion
What We Love
- Fine art and antiques throughout the property
- A lavish free breakfast with an inventive menu that varies daily
- One acre of outdoor space for ice skating in winter and soccer/croquet in summer
- Free coffee, tea and WiFi
- Some rooms have fireplaces
What To Know
- Other than daily breakfast service, there is no restaurant on site
- Check in 3-6:30 pm, unless arranged prior to arrival with staff
- Great location for museum and attractions
- In-room massage available upon request
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Fit for demolition when the current owner picked it up in the 90s, this grand mansion has been updated to such impressive effect that it’s been featured in numerous design magazines. It sports period-appropriate appointments with antiques collected from castles and estates throughout the world, museum-quality art, Ralph Lauren wallpaper and well-disguised mod cons, such as a hallway armoire that holds the ice maker.
Bed and Bath
Befitting this historic mansion, each of the 11 rooms varies in layout and design, though they share vintage décor in the way of oversized armoires (where the flat-screen TVs hide), plush area rugs and custom-made wood beds. Bathrooms are particularly inventive, with antiques chests reworked as vanities inlaid with sinks. Upgrade to a luxury suite to get a freestanding clawfoot tub in addition to the modern glassed-in shower, as well as a gas fireplace bracketed by cozy armchairs in a living area.
The grand living room is furnished with a plush sofa, oil paintings and a carved fireplace mantle. Generous breakfasts in the dining room might include French omelets or Italian frittatas. In fair weather, you can eat on the back porch in view of the European garden. The hotel stocks rental bikes and croquet in the summer, and floods a skating rink in winter.
In the Area
The neighborhood uniquely lies within walking distance from many popular draws, including the convention center McCormick Place, the NFL stadium Soldier Field, The Field Museum of natural history and the Shedd Aquarium, home to 32,000 animals. For dinner, book a meal at the nearby Acadia dishing decadent bacon-gouda burgers and creamy lobster rolls, and catch a show at legendary blues club Buddy Guy’s or at speakeasy Tommy Gun’s.
How to Get There
What a treat! The Wheeler Mansion is a little gem in the heart of Chicago. Traveling back in time to a place that was slow, quiet and peaceful.
If you want beautiful accommodations without any fuss, this is the place for you. The staff is quiet, helpful and unassuming. They move about the beautiful house quietly allowing guests to enjoy the facility. I recommend going with a small group to allow you to utilize the entire facility.
My friends and I named this property “grandma’s house“. If you remember the time when you visited grandma and the floors creaked ever so slightly but everything was pristine and clean. This is that place. The towels are truly soft and the property is truly cared for.
This beautifully appointed B&B is a fantastic alternative to any chain hotel. Nestled in Chicago's high rise buildings this mansion and it's staff offer a relaxing, comfortable and welcoming atmosphere - thanks David. The mansion has the best towels ever, comfortable bed and delicious breakfasts. It's a 4 minute walk to the convention center, easy walks to great restaurants and a 12 dollar cab ride to the core of downtown in rush hour. I'll book this accommodation next time I'm in Chicago!
The Potter Palmer Mansion on North Lake Shore Drive was demolished in 1950. Little is left of the Prairie Avenue Historic District except the Glessner House. Nearby is the Clarke House, the oldest residence in the city, which has been renovated and restored. There are other mansions that date to the Gilded Age but they are few and far between. Most aren't open to the public. One survivor is the Wheeler Mansion at 2020 South Calumet Avenue, the only surviving historic mansion on Calumet Avenue and a survivor of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Built in 1870 for Calvin T. Wheeler, a banker and a member of the Chicago Board of Trade, it was designed in the Second Empire style, influences of which are seen in the tall third-story mansard roof. In 1874, Wheeler sold the house to Joseph Kohn, a wealthy clothing wholesaler, who lived in the house for 34 years. The building was declared a Chicago Landmark in 1998 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Over the years, the mansion was used as a publishing company and a warehouse. It was purchased in 1997 for $10,000. After 18 months of renovation and restoration, it was reopened in 1999 as a bed-and-breakfast hotel with 11 guest rooms and suites.