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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



STAYCATION A cozy 'un-hotel' hotel is in Lincoln Park
by Andrew Davis

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People may not have heard of The Neighborhood Hotel (2616 N. Clark St.; ). It's unique in many ways—from reservations to location, and more. But is it worth your time—and, more importantly, your money?

—Location: First, The Neighborhood Hotel—a property with 14 spacious, smoke-free suites—is in the heart of Lincoln Park. (There's another Neighborhood Hotel in Grand Beach, Michigan.) The hotel's right next to an iconic spot, The Wieners Circle (currently under reconstruction), and is within walking distance of everything from the lake to the Lincoln Park Zoo to the art space Wrightwood 659 to dozens of restaurants. Moreover, public transportation is extremely close (especially the buses) and can easily take you to downtown Chicago and the Loop (to the south) and Wrigley Field as well as Northalsted/Boystown (about a mile to the north).

In addition, the building is steeped in history. Completed in 1895, the building's German Renaissance Revival style is a link to its longtime owner, Luxembourg-born Mathias Steffen. In 1911, the building was sold and over the decades became an apartment/hotel followed by a rooming house known as the Wrightwood Hotel.

—Feel/atmosphere: Rooms at the hotel vary from the one-bedroom, one-bathroom coach house (down the alley and marked by an unmistakable yellow door); to the penthouse, which has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Checking in is strictly a technological endeavor. After selecting a unit through the website, you're given two codes: one for the front door and one for your spot.

I stayed in the Queen Suite Large One Bedroom, with sleeper sofa; the spot averages $221/night. (By the way, I'm assuming my staying in this spot, as "queen" is a popular term in the LGBTQ+ community, was strictly coincidental.) The unit felt extremely cozy, and the street-facing windows allowed for plenty of people-watching.

—Amenities: You won't find a spa or a workout room here (although there are plenty of exercise spots nearby, including Studio Three Lincoln Park and Century Shopping Centre's LA Fitness), but that doesn't mean there aren't amenities here.

One is a full-sized kitchen—which, if one likes to cook, is a blessing. A full-sized refrigerator is stocked, there is a microwave and the room even has a collection of spices—and two large bowls of various candies. Other pluses include towels, a large-screen television with optional video games, and a washer/dryer unit.

And if you'd like groceries delivered, you can order them via GoPuff or Foxtrot. There are also many other choices, from getting items through Grubhub to going to the Trader Joe's around the corner (on Diversey Parkway).

Pets can be accommodated, for an additional fee. Also, you may/will be charged additional fees if you damage or break something, or wish to extend your stay—which would happen anywhere else.

And there is an electronic "concierge," in the form of owner Jonathan Gordon. He's best reached at .

—Bottom line: The Neighborhood Hotel is unlike any other spot I've stayed locally—but that's not a criticism, believe me. The lobby-less hotel feels like a collection of fun Airbnb units that are spotlessly maintained. Whether you just want to stay in and read, or explore Lincoln Park (and beyond), this hotel provides a pretty cool place to experience Chicago.

Note: This visit was arranged.

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