Review: Hotel Lincoln (Chicago, IL, USA)

I want to begin this post by saying — bare with me. As this blog grows (I hope), the content will continue to grow and evolve. With that being said, I am learning myself the best ways to convey information to the [millions of] of readers that come across the site. After visiting, and deciding to review this hotel, I took a close look at how others do their reviews. I’ll admittedly say that I missed some things in this review, but I hope if anything this gives a good impression of a really spectacular hotel.

How we Got Here

This was actually part of a work trip, in which I was attending a seminar at the Second City Comedy Club just around the corner. The stay was obviously paid for by work, but the rates seemed pretty reasonable. The Hotel Lincoln is a boutique hotel that is not affiliated with any major hotel chain — oddly enough, though, I had some choices of where to credit the points and the only one that I had a program with was Singapore Air. Still need to verify if that happened. Anyways, I’ve found that most boutique hotels are cheaper, especially in larger cities like Chicago. For me this is good and bad — a lot of these hotels have a certain charm you don’t get at large hotels, but then again, they aren’t earning you any points towards future travel. I really only end up staying at a hotel like this if I have to (as I did here), or it is a far better deal. The last time I remember staying at a boutique hotel like this was actually in Chicago as well, so this must be a thing there.

Location

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The Hotel Lincoln is located in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago. This is far and away the best part about this hotel. While it is not located by the river, and what many consider the heart of Chicago, this is a great neighborhood to enjoy both food, drink, and many of the sites that Chicago has to offer.

location of the Hotel Lincoln in Chicago, IL
Map found on Hotel Lincoln webpage.

Located right across from Lincoln Park, you are within walking distance of the zoo and the lakefront. On top of that, there are a ton of local hot spots within just blocks. I actually took an Uber one night and my driver told me that he has dropped off more people at this hotel recently than any other. I guess it took him a while to figure out that they were all going to the J. Parker rooftop bar — one of the hottest of its kind in Chicago.

Lobby/Check-In

The hotel is going for a rustic, speakeasy-esque type vibe — and they definitely hit that on the head.

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The entire feel of the hotel was captured right when I walked in the door. I found out as I was leaving that 5 of the drawers underneath the desk open, in which they will give you a prize. Granted, I found this out as the front desk clerk was telling a 5 year old boy, though its always worth a shot.

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Unfortunately, the second floor was closed off (maintenance?), so I wasn’t able to check out the business center or gym. But I wanted to include this really cool wall of pictures located right behind the front desk.

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I found the hotel staff to be incredibly welcoming and helpful. I arrived pretty late, so I wasn’t looking for much of a conversation, but the guy who checked me in was very knowledgeable and kind. The staff carried on the same vibe as the rest of the hotel — and one thing that I particularly appreciated was that they all wore street attire, as opposed to the sometimes bleak looking hotel uniforms that some larger chains sport.

Room

I missed getting pictures of the elevator, but all the way from the lobby to the room, there was a consistent theme. The elevators were rustic looking, with the only downside being that they were incredibly small. As a 12 story hotel, this can become a bit of an issue with only 2 elevators (!!). There was even a notice in the welcome pamphlet to take stairs when possible, but I wasn’t going to go up or down from my 12th story room. I really didn’t notice a big problem when I was there, though, so I think the cars must go fast enough.

Room 2112

The room itself really blew me away — which is maybe why I forgot to picture some other parts of the hotel. From the theme, to the layout, to the space, I thought it really harnessed the hotels rustic theme. I don’t think this is what the hotel considers to be a suite, but I was on the top level, corner room, and there were two bathrooms!

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While I didn’t get to enjoy it, the sofa and chair made me feel like I was in my grandparents living room as opposed to a hotel.IMG_1839.jpgIMG_1835.jpgIMG_1845.jpgIMG_1846.jpg

I’m no interior designer, but those curtains probably won’t be found in many other hotel rooms — or any rooms for that matter.

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Unfortunately, the walls were incredibly thin at the hotel, and you’ll notice that there was an adjoining door in my room. That added to the awkwardness, but I could easily hear my neighbor while talking on the phone. I understand the idea of hotels is to cram as many rooms, for as much money as possible, but I have to imagine there is technology to make you feel like you aren’t staying in the same room as a stranger.IMG_1852.jpg

Thought this was a pretty cool mirror — so I included it.IMG_1860.jpg

I will note a few more specifics later, but the biggest downside to the room is really cosmetic. The air conditioning, pictured below, looked like a baby may have placed it in the wall. I think it would be very simple to clean up, or at least blend in a bit.IMG_1861.jpg

This specific kind of room had two bathrooms. While they were relatively small, there were two showers, two sinks, two toilets, etc. While they were small, I thought it was awesome for any couples traveling together. I usually find a master bathroom is not enough, I’d rather just be totally separate.

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In my many travels I have never come across Jonathan Adler bath products, but I really loved them — especially in comparison to some of the other products I’ve dried. There was a Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, Body Lotion, and a bar of hand soap.

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As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to point out some of the pitfalls of the room — what I’d consider to be a relatively straightforward cosmetic fix. In both showers, there were multiple patches where the acrylic cover was peeling, and it looked very cheap.IMG_1864.jpgIMG_1865.jpgIMG_1866.jpg

Other Amenities

Hand up, I missed out on covering a lot of what the hotel offers. I wasn’t able to get to the second floor, which housed the business center and gym, but there is also The Kennison restaurant (which is supposedly very good), Elaine’s Coffee Call (a very nice coffee shop, almost in the lobby), and the J. Parker Rooftop lounge.

The coffee shop a full menu of coffee offerings as well as pastries and hot sandwiches. In comparison to the city, the prices weren’t bad at all. I didn’t get a chance to try the Kennison, but it is highly regarded on Yelp.

J. Parker Rooftop Lounge

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The rooftop bar/lounge is obviously the one amenity of the hotel I decided to check out (cc alcohol). Upon getting off the elevator, you can either go left to a smaller, more speak-easy type hotel, or to the right where there is a more rooftop feel.

To the right, outside patio area. The best part was that there was an indoor area of the patio, totally enclosed by windows, as well as an outside patio area. That part of the bar was closed this time of year, but I thought it was great, considering I’ve heard Chicago can get pretty chilly.IMG_1880.jpg

The other side of the bar was a smaller, more quiet environment. I think on weekend nights both sides can get pretty packed. I liked being able to have options, though.IMG_1877.jpg

I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking at (going away from lake), but it was pretty spectacular.IMG_1881.jpg

Final Thoughts

I really loved this hotel. You really have your pick of the litter when it comes to hotels in Chicago, but a reasonable option would be one of the many boutique hotels peppered throughout the city — like the Hotel Lincoln. As some of the major chains lack, the Hotel Lincoln has a ton of character and I think that’s what makes it special. You should also be able to score a heck of a deal.

 

Tucker is an avid points and miles enthusiast. Being fully involved in the world of credit cards and frequent flying for only a few years now, he brings a very fresh and unique perspective to the world of travel.

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