While varied room sizes and narrow corridors may bring to mind a college dorm, you won't find a more charming place to stay in Chicago's Near North suburbs. Built in the late 1920s as a young ladies’ residence, the inn still retains original features, including the iron-girded elevator shaft and antique-laden parlor. Perhaps the property's best feature is the library, where guests can exchange books. There's also a rooftop garden.
Sick of paying high prices for hotel parking? It's just 10-bucks a night here for off-street parking.
Thanks to a 2014 overhaul, all rooms are now en suite. Rates include daily continental breakfast featuring pastries and other delights baked in-house. Coverlets on the beds are richly embroidered tapestries paired with crisp white linens. All rooms feature a desk. Families or girlfriends traveling together might appreciate the Family Room (with two bunk beds), or the room with two double beds and a trundle.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Desks here are actually antiques, not ergo-friendly work desks, so if you plan to turn your room into an office you might get some aches and pains.
There's a robe in every room and the bath glass-door, walk-in shower is a recent update, along with a pedestal sink with plenty of countertop space for your toiletries.
Arched, multi-pane windows and a variety of seating choices (sofas and armchairs, a long table with chairs and table sets suited for playing card games) are in the lobby, referred to as the Grand Parlor, with antiques throughout and a crackling fireplace some nights.
With the super-low parking rate, and that downtown Chicago is about 40-minute car ride, bringing a car with you should not be ruled out if you want to stretch your wings beyond Evanston. That said, the L's Purple line can get you to places like the Art Institute of Chicago in the Loop within an hour, via the Davis stop.
Joy Yee (9-minute walk) is a popular Pan Asian spot throughout Chicago (including in Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood) and there's one near the hotel. Chicago's famous deep-dish style pizza is at Giordano's (9-minute walk).
Locally made craft beer is always on tap at Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. (2-minute walk), inside a former warehouse, with four year-round selections plus a new batch each season. Bangers & Lace (5-minute walk) is an elevated pub concept and continually ranked one of the best beer bars in the country.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Evanston simply doesn't have a lot of hotels and the North Shore lacks choices when it comes to indie boutique properties such as this. Fortunately, the price point matches what you get. But if you're looking for a full-service hotel with a spa, pool and state-of-the-art fitness center, and maybe a nice restaurant, too, probably best to look elsewhere. Still, the owners are nice and friendly and you can't put a price on waking up to a breakfast of just-out-of-the-oven pastries and a fresh pot of coffee.