PHOTO: Pedro Lastra | Unsplash

Fodor's Expert Review The Robey

2018 W. North Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60647, USA See on Map

Boutique luxury revival hotel with curated Art Deco features in the heart of the eclectic and thriving nightlife of Wicker Park. Built in 1928, this landmark office building was recently overhauled with modern amenities to embellish original design features like frosted glass partitions, marble, and brass fixtures that feel like an old detective movie.

In the 1980s, the unique corner-shaped property picked up the nickname Coyote Building because from the outside angle it looks like a coyote howling at the moon.

Photo: Adrian Gaut

room

Deco meets modern with curated details peppering each room, from key and lock access instead of keycards, Woolrich blankets and custom lounge seating to tech-friendly LCD TVs equipped with streaming services and adjustable dimmers to set the mood just right. As a subtle nod to Chicago, all guests are greeted with a Smashing Pumpkins song playing on the flatscreen television, an iconic rock band originally from here. The corner-shaped building ensures all guests have sweeping views of the Chicago skyline and El train tracks.

YOU SHOULD KNOW While the hotel doesn't attract a party crowd, thin walls are mean you're likely to hear conversations in the halls or rooms next door. Quadruple-paned windows are not immune to the low rumbling of the occasional train for travelers who require pitch perfect silence. None of the rooms feature double beds, making this a better option for solo guests and couples.

Photo: Adrian Gaut
Photo: Adrian Gaut

bathroom

Expect noticeable curated touches like Japanese cotton washcloths, denim robes, and felt slippers. Less luxurious is the standing shower with oxide red curtain and granite flooring that has a raw minimalist look. Stock up on palo santo scented Le Labo bath products.

YOU SHOULD KNOW A frosted glass pane reminiscent of '60s office buildings serves as a partition between the bathroom and room, toeing the level of privacy one might feel comfortable with for a shared room.

Photo: Adrian Gaut
Photo: Adrian Gaut

lobby

Ground floor check-in is fairly small, so make plans to hit the second floor lounge and cafe if you're meeting someone to take advantage of stylish retro seating and free Wi-Fi.

YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel only offers complimentary coffee between 5 and 7 a.m. unless you upgrade with a grab-and-go package.

Photo: Adrian Gaut

pool

The Robey shares a small rooftop dipping pool with its sister hostel property, The Hollander, next door and is open to the public.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Due to its small size and shared amenity, don't try to rush up to the pool in your swimsuit expecting to hop in. At best, you'll be lucky to grab a cocktail and dip your feet in.

dining

French-American restaurant, Cafe Robey, which serves also serves limited menu on the second floor lounge and room service.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Hours for in-room dining are the same as the restaurant, which means no mid-day service between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. and no late-night dining.

drinking

Up & Up, a 50-seat "Mad Men" style vintage lounge swinging craft cocktails, is located on the 13th floor with sweeping city views and an intimate 8-seat heated outdoor grotto. Even with guest priority, the bar still generates about an hour to two hour wait at prime time.

LOCATION

Getting Around

Whether you're heading downtown or going to Chicago O'Hare airport, the Damen Blue Line stop is the easiest L train to catch just one block away from the property. If you're heading east to neighborhoods like Lakeview or Lincoln Park, take the 72 North Avenue bus to connect to other northbound L trains. Buses also run along Milwaukee Avenue and Damen Avenue, though it's almost always fastest to grab a cab or use a ride-hailing app like Lyft or Uber to get where need.

Restaurants

Pretty much every type of restaurant is in arm's reach of the property, from New Haven-style pizza and craft brews at Piece Brewery & Pizzeria (3-minute walk) to hip ramen at Furious Spoon (2-minute walk). On North Avenue, find eclectic New American with a Midwest bent at Trench, cold cuts and cocktails at Chop Shop, or Middle Eastern pitas on the cheap at Sultan's Market (2-minute walk). Meanwhile on Damen Avenue you can grab top-notch tacos at Big Star and the off-shoot of West Loop gastropub, Publican Anker (1-minute walk).

Bars

There's more than enough bar hopping opportunities along the six-cornered intersection where the property lies. Sip on classic cocktails at The Revel Room or kick back with craft beers at Links Taproom on Milwaukee Avenue (1-minute walk). Were it not for the lines, you might bypass award-winning speakeasy The Violet Hour on Damen Avenue (2-minute walk). Get divey with a few pre-show drinks at music venue Subterranean and go late until 4 a.m. at punk rock bar Estelle's on North Avenue (1-minute walk).

WHY WE LIKE IT

Nearly every Chicago hotel is located downtown or at the airport, which is central to tourist destinations but a shlep to the best local neighborhoods. For those who want some local flavor, The Robey puts you smack dab in the middle of the best shopping, restaurants, and nightlife that makes Wicker Park so buzzy. Retro, artful touches with an industrial edge echo the neighborhood vibe and offer a uniquely refined experience for the low-key traveler with discerning tastes.

QUICK FACTS

HOTEL INFO

Phones: 872-315-3050

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