Rooms come with ceiling fans, flat-screen TVs, and minibars
Free continental breakfast, plus afternoon cookies
Free 24-hour coffee and tea service in the lobby
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Close to restaurants and bars
Free access to a local gym
No on-site restaurant, business center or fitness center
Far from downtown Chicago
The 55-room Willows Hotel is a solid value pick in a historic building on the northern edge of Lincoln Park. It's far from Chicago's main tourist sites, but there are plenty of restaurants, shops, and bars half a block from the hotel. The property offers some nice freebies, including a 24-hour coffee bar in the lobby, continental breakfast, afternoon cookies, access to a local gym (a block away), and Wi-Fi. All rooms come with flat-screen TVs, bathrobes, and minibars, though some are are tiny (especially the 121-square-foot Small Queen Room). The Best Western Hawthorne Terrace is a comparable alternative; it's farther north, but has an on-site fitness center with a sauna and whirlpool.
The lobby of this mid-range boutique hotel features French-inspired decor, a fireplace, and sitting areas
The Willows Hotel's lobby, with its coffered ceiling, polished marble-tile floors, and interior Corinthian columns, makes a good first impression. Four deep-seated striped chairs surrounding fireplace and several stools looking out the street-facing windows cozy perches for guests taking advantage of the free continental breakfast in the morning, free cookies in the afternoon, or coffee, tea, and water throughout the day or night (a 24-hour coffee bar is tucked into the back corner of the room). Beyond these simple (but free) amenities, the Willows doesn't offer much. It lacks a fitness center and business center, but its makes good on those shortcomings with free passes to a local gym and free property-wide Wi-Fi. The 55 rooms are straightforward and cozy, with a color palette of earth tones, with shades of green, beige, and brown most dominant.
Located on the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview, close to restaurants and bars, but far from the tourist sites
Willows is located on a residential street half a block from West Broadway, a dining, shopping and entertainment hot spot. Boystown, with its thriving nightlife and shopping scenes, is a short stroll away. But the hotel is not within walking distance of any of Chicago’s tourist attractions, and the closest subway stop is a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
16- to 20-minute walk to Boystown neighborhood
18-minute walk to Lincoln Park Zoo
30-minute walk to Wrigley Field
10-minute drive or 20-minute subway ride to John Hancock Center
11-minute drive or 18-minute subway ride to Water Tower Place
13-minute drive or 25-minute subway ride to the Museum of Contemporary Art
15-minute drive or 24-minute subway ride to Old Town
15-minute drive or 45-minute subway ride to Navy Pier
16-minute drive or 35-minute subway ride to Millennium Park
18-minute drive or 35-minute subway ride to the Art Institute of Chicago
20-minute drive or 35-minute subway ride to the Loop
45-minute drive or one-hour subway ride to Chicago Midway International Airport
52-minute drive or one-hour subway ride to O’Hare International Airport
Simple and homey rooms, though some (Small Queens and Standard Queens) are downright tiny
The 55 basic rooms at the Willows all share the same decor, with subtly striped moss-green carpeting, off-white walls, and beige-and-coral-striped window treatments. Beds have simple, dark-wood headboards, quilted orange throws, and dark-brown bedskirts. The other pieces of furniture, which match the headboard in their simplicity, includes nightstands, dressers, and work desks (wall-mounted fold-down versions, in smaller rooms). All rooms feature homey niceties (ceiling fans, bathrobes, minibars, ironing equipment) and good tech (free Wi-Fi, iHomes, flat-screen TVs with RoomLinx, an interactive interface with on-demand movies, music, and games). Mini-fridges can be requested for rooms that do not already have one. Bathrooms come with hairdryers and wall-mounted Gilchrest & Soames shampoo, conditioner, and liquid soap.
No business center, restaurant, or pool, but solid freebies
The Willows lacks a full restaurant or bar, but it includes a few extra perks that increase its value. A simple, but free, continental breakfast (cereals, breads, fruit, coffee, tea) is served daily. Coffee, tea, and water is available 24 hours a day from a counter in the back left corner of the lobby. Free cookies are also available in the lobby every afternoon -- they're store-bought, but it's still a nice thought. There's no fitness center, but the Willows provides guests with free passes to a branch of Fitness 19, which is a block away. And while there is no computer station, business center, or meeting space, the hotel provides free Wi-Fi in its common areas and in the rooms. Self-parking is a block away; the daily fee comes with in-and-out privileges.
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