This Tuscan-themed bed-and-breakfast inside a grey-stone building that once housed Chicago's elite stocks its kitchen with snacks and allows guests the comforts of a top-notch hotel in a trend-setting residential neighborhood. With floor-to-ceiling marble, bathrooms are spacious and decadent. Be sure to visit the grotto out back as the bricks are from Italy.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Probably best to not bring the kids if they're apt to fidget and whine, as many guests use the property for a romantic getaway or are traveling on business.
Like any B&B, each room is different--although all share subdued brown and ivory shades in the decor--but if you want more space, opt for a suite. In the Milan Suite, you'll find a bed and a pull-out sofa, perfect for girlfriend getaways or families with teens, while the three-room Grand Tuscan Suite is plenty big, too. Some rooms boast a fireplace and others a private balcony.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Think you can just breeze in for Saturday night? (Not really.) There's a strict three-night minimum for weekends between March and December.
All rooms have a private bath. Only the Grand Tuscan Suite and Milan Suite feature a tub although the showers were recently renovated and are quite spacious.
The common area is small but well-appointed, marked by mahogany floors and columns, silk couches, plus an enormous hand-carved banister that adds a regal touch.
There's no restaurant on site for lunch and dinner but eateries are literally within a few blocks' walk. Midnight munchies can be cured thanks to the shared kitchen's snack supply of fruit, build-your-own sandwiches and just-out-of-the-oven cookies. Rates include continental breakfast (cereals, breads from a local Italian bakery, fruit and omelettes made to order), plus a daily hot entree (such as French toast or Italian scramble).
Love pizza and don't want to mess with crowds in a restaurant? For a $20 charge, bake a made-to-order pizza in the villa's authentic Italian stone-fired oven. A carafe of wine is included.
Need more proof this place is channeling Italy? The villa has its own house wine, available for pours.
Compared to downtown Chicago, parking and driving a car in this part of the city isn't terrible. That said, public-transit to museums and attractions from here is a breeze. In under 30 minutes you can be in the Loop via the L's Brown or Red lines.
Don't leave the Windy City without ordering a deep-dish pizza at one of the originals, Lou Malnati's (3-minute walk). Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! three blocks south (5-minute walk) is a trip to Spain, sangria and paella included.
Indulge in Chicago's blues scene over drinks at the world-famous Kingston Mines (2-minute walk), in business since 1968. The Red Lion Pub (6-minute walk) is your traditional Brit watering hole, also serving shepherd's pie and fish & chips.
WHY WE LIKE IT
It's rare to find a luxury boutique hotel in Chicago that's not in the Loop or downtown area, which makes this villa a true gem. Also, Lincoln Park is where Chicago's cool kids live and what that means is an abundance of restaurants and bars, plus a quick stroll to the lakefront. Adults-oriented, this B&B is the kind of relaxing, quiet stay that you simply can't find in downtown Chicago.