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
This place gets all the big things right. This is really a perfect location- and a very unique one- if you are in town for a game or concert at Soldier field (walking distance) or a trade show at McCormick place. It’s a very cool and well restored mansion left over from when this neighborhood was the original “Gold Coast”. There are a handful of other surviving mansions around, but none you can stay in. I think the building itself is perfect, and the price was reasonable. In the morning, it’s an easy walk over the bridge for a nice run or bike ride along the lake. They even have bikes available at this B&B.
But, the reason we gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was because of a few of the smaller details as previous posters mentioned. A simple change would be to offer eggs cooked to order in the morning. That would cost like $5. They had an attendant there, but she said they had no eggs available except the scrambled ones they had made 2 hours earlier. Or, just someone who knows a bit about the areas to recommend a good restaurant, or tell us how to get on the lake path, or simply have the bikes ready and clean and pumped up. Even conditioner in the shower would be a simple improvement.
If there had been an actual owner or manager present at the facility during our stay, I’m guessing these smaller details would have been handled more professionally. Instead, they seem to have gone with the model to have lower paid and less trained staff handling the day to day, and the two we met seemed weak and confused.
Again, they did the big things well, and the hardest part I’m sure was the big investment they put into remodeling the mansion. Too bad they don’t spend a bit more each year on hiring 5 star staff to keep it going.
We stayed here in June for the Shake Lake Country music festival. Nice cozy feel. Private backyard- patio to have BYOB cocktails. Sat on rod iron chairs and sipped drinks and brought cheese and crackers pre- festival fun. This hotel does not have a bar or restaurant so be prepared with your own provisions. Which was fine for us. Walked few blocks to the festival grounds. Nice safe and scenic stroll.
We stayed at this beauty of a place in October. The neighborhood is conveniently located by the convention center. It was beautiful antique furniture inside and well decorated. The beds were comfortable and the place was clean. It's right next to a well kept dog park. Quiet and peaceful. Breakfast was great. I would stay here again.
Do not let this B&B fool you, the rooms are infested with spiders and furniture that is in disrepair. The description online described a plentiful breakfast, but instead I was met with cold eggs, cold sausages, and customer service that did not remedy any of the issues we had during our stay. AVOID, AVOID, AVOID!
Fabulously decorated in period antiques, each room is an adventure of its own. This historic hotel books fast, has few rooms, and is in a quiet residential neighborhood only a six-minute walk from McCormick Place.
You'll find excellent breakfasts (cooked on-site), and the quiet enjoyment of a terrace and two lovely gardens (in the warmer months).
This is an experience you'll surely cherish for many years!