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Saturday, March 2

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Andrew / April 4, 2006 12:17 PM

Inspired by reader Allie, who wrote:

"I often have friends coming from out of town who are looking for affordable, yet non-disgusting lodging options in and around the city that are also not my apartment. Sadly, the only places I'm really aware of are those where my parents or friends who are in town on business/expense accounts have stayed. So, possible fuel question:

"What are the best affordable lodging options for visitors to our fair city?"

Steve / April 4, 2006 12:23 PM

The cheap rooms are teeny, but The Allegro is otherwise nice and inexpensive.

heather / April 4, 2006 12:23 PM

ok, I can't give affordable/nondisgusting suggestions, however, when I have friends in from out of town who aren't crashing on my couch, I always recommend The Drake.

zillion-threadcount sheets, feather pillows and duvet, marble bath, proximity to transportation and a view of the lake? I couldn't recommend anywhere else.

Atul / April 4, 2006 12:45 PM

When I visited Chicago with a friend before moving here, we stayed at the hostel in the Loop... The prices were reasonable, the accommodations were in really nice shape, and the location was great.

If privacy isn't a big issue for a visitor, I'd recommend it.

anne / April 4, 2006 12:56 PM

When my folks came, they opted to save some $$ and stayed out at the Clarion by the Cumberland stop on the Blue Line. Yup, close to the highway, but they couldn't hear it. Plus, very close to O'hare, and they could catch the Blue Line in a flash downtown or to my place.

When others have come, they've stayed at the Hotel Monaco, right near Michigan Ave, but tucked away off to the side of Wabash. Lots o' velvet swagged everywhere. It's smaller, so it does book up early.

paul / April 4, 2006 1:00 PM

The cheaper rooms at the Drake reminds me of the rooms at the Wacker Hotel, and yes I've stayed at both. Old and musty.

You can find excellent Priceline deals at the Sheraton Towers (a recent out-of-towner got a view of the River for the St. Patty's dyeing for $79). Much better deal than trying to save money at a place like the HoJo's in River North (you might as well stay in the Wacker, you'll get the same level of funk.)

I've recommended the Allegro, which as Steve said, is 'quaint' but nice. There's too many reasonable (but not cheap) places with great location and views to mention.

Personally, I want to blow $300 a night and try out the Hard Rock Hotel.

hbh / April 4, 2006 1:08 PM

Try the Fitzpatrick, which is close to the Mile ( It's a lovely boutique hotel with an Irish theme, and their prices are pretty reasonable.

brian / April 4, 2006 1:09 PM

We've stayed at many of the major downtown hotels and the Monaco was our favorite. I think it was $99/night when we were there, and having the South Water Kitchen in the bar was nice.

Allegro was great too, with 312 inside (I think?). W felt nice but slightly chincy with the fixtures. It was like an HGTV show inside: looked cheap, but had a feeling of cheapness to it.

There's a cheap looking place near Bloomingdale's home store named the Cass Hotel. I can't speak to the hotel, but the bar, The Sea Of Happiness, is INCREDIBLE. Totally worth a visit (they gave me a 2-for-1 drink card for my next drink).

cc / April 4, 2006 1:21 PM

Not at all ritzy and pretty far north, Heart O' Chicago (Just a little west of Clark and Ridge) is not as sketchy as it looks. The rooms were cleaned daily, the prices were reasonable and every morning you got free doughnuts and coffee.

Michael / April 4, 2006 1:24 PM

The Raphael in Streeterville (I believe it's on Chestnut) has always done right by me and mine in the past.

JasonB / April 4, 2006 1:24 PM

The W

DCe / April 4, 2006 1:54 PM

I second the Heart O' Chicago: Some friends from London stayed and found it reasonable, clean and comfortable.

Craig / April 4, 2006 1:55 PM

Wicker Park boasts two excellent Bed & Breakfasts: The Wicker Park Inn (Right behind the Blue Line-- an authentic Chicago sound) and the House of Two Urns (right off of Division/Ashland/Milwaukee-- about as diverse as Chicago gets).

MikeH / April 4, 2006 1:57 PM

I usually recommend the stretch of motels that line North Lincoln Ave., especially the ones that proudly boast free HBO and air-conditioning in every room. If said out-of-towners are big spenders, I point them toward the ones that have waterbeds too...

waleeta / April 4, 2006 2:02 PM

Sofitel. It's just beautiful to me.

chicago guide / April 4, 2006 2:06 PM

I absolutely recommend the Diplomat Hotel & Suites at Belmont and Sheffield in Lakeview.

The Belmont el is steps away, there are clubs and live music venues almost across the street and a diverse cross section of Chicagoans can be seen day or night. It's also less than half a mile from Wrigley Field (GO Cubbies!).

The hotel itself has a vintage charm, an excellent staff and first class ammenities. Better still, the price is a bargain, since it's a little off the beaten path. You should DEFINITELY check it out!

Andrew / April 4, 2006 2:37 PM

I always thought the Diplomat was an SRO.

hench / April 4, 2006 3:13 PM

sybaris. nothing but the classy for my friends.

ellie / April 4, 2006 3:14 PM

For a cheap, clean room w/ a good view -- Days Inn Gold Coast in the 1800 N. Clark block. Not luxury but affordable.

Mike / April 4, 2006 3:25 PM

The Willows at Surf and Broadway is nice.

matty / April 4, 2006 3:26 PM

Hotel Chateau on Broadway and Irving Park

bam / April 4, 2006 3:32 PM

The Ohio House, doesn't look like much from the sidewalk, which is as close as I've gotten. Anyone been in?

Set an Aussie colleague up in The Indigo (formerly the Claridge) @ 1240ish N Dearborn a few weeks back -- his comment was that it's not a suitable hotel for anyone with a hangover. BOLD color scheme, but the price was right.

Deb O. / April 4, 2006 3:36 PM

The Kimpton hotels (Allegro, Monaco, Burnham) get our highest recommendation. At the Monaco, they lend you a goldfish in a bowl, if you ask, so you can have a pet for the duration of your stay (Housekeeping feeds them, so you don't have to worry about accidentally killing your pet). All three places are charming, with rooms that feel more homey than most hotels.

Kat / April 4, 2006 3:58 PM

I've never stayed here, but have passed by many times . . . and who would expect a Bed & Breakfast in Bucktown? (And check out the list of neighborhood links on the site)

Amy / April 4, 2006 4:36 PM

Become friends with someone who works at a hotel (like me) and they can hook you up with better rates. My friends/family always stay here when we have availability. The beds are comfy and the location is great.
The Fitzpatrick just got bought by Affinia unfortuntely for my girlfriend who works there.
Also, any hotel will let you check out their rooms if you ask. The suite at the top of the Hard Rock is amazing (comes with a guitar and a telescope.) Our Blues Brothers suite has actual costumes from the movie.
And you can get deals for most hotels on priceline but you'll end up with the smallest room in the hotel.

s / April 4, 2006 6:44 PM

So i have never actually stayed there, but the holiday inn at the top of the apparel mart is one crazy place... very late 80's holiday inn feel, and the lobby is a huge atrium about 12 stories tall... also, there is an indoor pool.

Brandy / April 4, 2006 9:27 PM

Dunno if the rates are affordable, but I'm a big fan of the House O' Blues hotel. I used to work a downtown job with such insane hours that they'd put us up there. I like the style of the rooms and the outsider art and the wasabi peas at the bar and good, friendly service in my experience.

paul / April 4, 2006 10:20 PM

I've stayed at that Holiday Inn - great views if you request an outside room. The top bar (not the lobby bar) has a nice western view too.

Phil / April 4, 2006 11:50 PM

When I used to live out of town, I stayed at the Sofitel numerous times. That was right after it was opened when you could get a romm for $119 a night. I am sure prices have gone up. But it is fun, and Le Bar is a pretty neat for a hotel bar. The Drake is classic chicago always recommended to those that can afford it. In the summer time the Days Inn on clark would be an ideal spot. I have never stayed there, but what a location for someone visiting. I have heard decent things about Allegro too. It simply all depends on what their budget is. My favorite has always been on a friend's couch, when I go out of town.

Brian / April 5, 2006 12:06 AM

The Pink Palace at Archer and Nottingham, just two blocks east of Harlem. Boasts themed rooms and a Jacuzzi in every room. What? You know you want to stay in the Jungle Room.

eliina / April 5, 2006 12:43 AM

The Heart O' Chicago Motel of course! I've loved their sign for years, and my parents actually stayed there once when visiting me. Their review: "we've stayed in worse places." It's close to my apartment, so it works for me. I didn't think it looked that bad.

lara / April 5, 2006 12:58 AM

very boring, but the red roof inn in streeterville is a clean, safe wonder for a very reasonable price. days inn on diversey, same deal.

Kris / April 5, 2006 2:43 AM

The last time my folks came to visit, which was a while back, I set them up in the Red Roof Inn on Ontario. It's not a great hotel by any means, but it had just been renovated, and it's right off Michigan (i.e., near all the touristy stuff they wanted to hit). I was also able to get them a better deal by going local than they were able to get online.

Since then, I've taken Amy's advice and made friends with people who work in hotels; I can now get a good room in any area Hilton Garden Inn for cheap. If your guests want to stay on the north side (and local as opposed to a chain), I've heard good things about the City Suites on Belmont, just off the Red Line (though I haven't experienced it for myself, so caveat emptor).

C-Note / April 5, 2006 7:26 AM

Yawn... Who gives a shit? Just choose one and go to sleep. Next question, please...

J / April 5, 2006 9:23 AM

The Purple Hotel! Formerly informally known as the Purple Ramada, the Purple Radisson and the Purple Hyatt.

G-Note / April 5, 2006 9:52 AM

Can always count on C-Note to be the wet blanket. C-Note, why do you even visit this site?

Amy / April 5, 2006 10:30 AM

I'm sorry but I have to disagree with those of you that recommend the Days Inn Gold Coast on Clark. Although it is in a great location it's filthy, the service sucks, and the rooms are small. You can easily find a much nicer hotel room on priceline, hotwire, or for the same price.

k / May 6, 2006 10:45 PM

Wacker Hotel is VERY cheap, ideally located in River North, and does have some nice & airy rooms -- you just have to ask to see multiple rooms rather than accepting the first one they offer.
The desk people are all gruff but competent.

I ended up staying there for months, at their "weekly rate," and now I just have to say I dearly wish I could find anything like it in my current city (nyc). I'm considering another extended stay there this summer.

beth b / February 1, 2007 6:03 PM

I called the Wacker to make reservations for, well, july and the guy pretty much laughed at me and told me to call back 30 days prior to when i want to stay.
Does anyone know if that's right or how soon can you call to make reservations there?

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