So, do y’all remember back in February when I said that I was going to run the Chicago marathon in October? Well, due to an ever-present knee injury, I had to put my marathon on hold this year. The decision was a sad one, but I figured it was better to take a break from training rather than risk a permanent injury. But you know what? There’s always next year.
That being said, Brandon and I still took some much needed vacation time and went to Chicago anyway since neither of us had ever been before. If you’ve never been, I definitely recommend it – this city is absolutely amazing! There’s so much to explore, you almost forget how windy and chilly it can get – almost. Every part of the vacation was great, but there is one thing that I particularly want to call out, and that’s the hotel. We stayed at Hotel Lincoln, a fairly new hotel (part of the Joie de Vivre family) that I found through Kayak.com. Located right in the heart of Lincoln Park, Hotel Lincoln is about as close to you can get to downtown Chicago without actually being downtown.
Walking into the lobby, you instantly get the feeling that you’ve been thrown back into time, maybe to the 1950’s. The Bellman are dressed in plaid button downs with maroon corduroy pants, while front desk clerks don bold skirts and polka dot tops.
The decor gives the impression of being at a friends house – photos line the walls, and trinkets are scattered along bookshelves throughout the lobby. Even the front desk is unique, as it looks like a collection of drawers, though none of them actually open.
The actual room was small, but cozy. It had all the essentials you’d expect from a typical hotel room – toiletries, office supplies, an iron, etc. – but the room also boasted an iPod dock and a killer view. Our room looked out over Lincoln Park, which houses the free Lincoln Park Zoo. From our room, we could even see past the trees to get a nice view of Lake Michigan.
First impressions of Hotel Lincoln were already impressive, but they didn’t stop there – the hoel had more features than I would ever expect from a typical home away from home. We didn’t get to experience this, but the website says there are rooftop yoga classes during the summer, which sounds amazing! Also, as a guest of the hotel, you are given access to the hotel’s weekend pedicab, which will take you anywhere you want to go within a 2-mile radius (which in Chicago can get you pretty far). Right after exploring our immediate area, Brandon and I jumped on the pedicab and headed straight to Lou Malnati’s, one of Chicago’s most famous pizzerias to try some of their world reknown deep dish, but that’s worthy of its own post. Also offered to the hotel guests were bike rentals, and not just any bikes – old-fashioned bikes to match the ambiance of the hotel, complete with old-fashioned helmets, a bell and woven basket. You better believe we used those bikes to ride around the city. See for yourself:
The hotel also features a coffee shop (Elaine’s Coffee Call), a restaurant (Perennial Virant), and a rooftop bar (J. Parker’s). We didn’t have time to eat at the restaurant, but judging by the menu, I’m sure it would have been phenomenal. The coffee shop made a delicious hot chocolate – just the thing we needed after a long day in the cold. Unfortunately, the rooftop bar was my biggest disappointment with the hotel, as the staff came across as unorganized and indifferent, and the drinks cost way more than they were actually worth. But, the view from the hotel roof was unbeatable, so that helped lessen my negative opinion of the bar.
We had such a hectic schedule while in the city, trying to do everything possible, that we didn’t have a ton of time to spend in the hotel, but who wants to spend their vacation in the hotel anyway? Even so, I left Chicago singing the praises of Hotel Lincoln – I just couldn’t stop talking about how great it was. Aside from all the added features, the staff was incredibly friendly – ready and willing to give any restaurant or activity recommendations, and they certainly assisted us in navigating our way through the city’s public transportation. of course there were a few things that could stand to be improved upon, like a slow-moving elevator and a few plumbing issues, but nothing you wouldn’t expect from a hotel (especially a new hotel). I have absolutely no qualms about recommending this place to any friends or family visiting Chicago. It’s clean, the staff friendly, and the location nearly unbeatable (we walked to the Magnificent Mile daily). The price is a little more than I’d typically like to spend for a hotel room (rooms start at $209/night), but after experiencing the place first-hand, I wouldn’t hesitate booking a room there next time I head to Chicago.
If you’ve ever stayed at a Joie de Vivre hotel, what did you think? I’d love to know if all their hotels are the same quality as Hotel Lincoln.