River North spot Fieldhouse Jones ( 312 W. Chestnut St.; fieldhousejones.com/ ) is certainly unique, thanks to its loft-style rooms, pervasive sports theme and laid-back style. But is it worth your time and, more importantly, money?
Location: The location is great, for a variety of reasons. It's not far at all from Michigan Avenue/the Mag Mile and even the Loop, but it's tucked a few blocks awayblocking any noise one could get from throngs of tourists or others. However, it's also in an area with its own attractions, including art galleries, stores and restaurants. Plus, Fieldhouse Jones is close to the Brown Linepossibly the quietest ( and cleanest ) line in the Chicago train system.
Feel/atmosphere: This place instantly felt different than any other hotel in which I've stayedfor good reason.
Rooms ( which, incredibly, start as low as $55/night during the off-season ) instantly remind one of college-style dorm rooms. ( The room in which I stayed had a queen-size bed and two bunk beds overheadperfect for a couple with two small kids. ) Rooms feature oak flooring, a desk area and a modern private bathroom with a walk-in shower and deluxe fittings. There was a space in my area that I thought might be good for a dresser drawer. ( I showed a friend my room and he asked of the space, "Is there where they hide the bodies?" However, I did counter that suitcases can definitely fit there. )
Also, as with any fieldhouse, there's a sports theme that's evident in the lobby and hallways. The lobbywhere neighbors hang out during the dayfeatures large-screen TVs, sports murals, bleacher seats ( with the row letters "F," "H" and "J"for "Fieldhouse Jones" ) and even a tennis-racket installation. ( I know how many rackets are there, but I've been sworn to secrecy. )
Amenities: The amenities also separate Fieldhouse Jones from other spotsand they're completely enjoyable.
Interestingly for a sports-themed spot, there's no formal workout room. However, in the basement, there are foosball and ping-pong tables, and even tracks where one can race slot cars ( available at the front desk ). In addition, there's a large kitchen where one can store food or even cook their own dishes. And if you're really looking for something different, you can release your inner child and take part in a scavenger hunt that offers prizes.
And then there's DropShot Coffee & Snack Bar, the first-floor cafe that ( according to a couple people I spoke with ) offers some of the best coffee around. However, DropShot ( which is open 7 a.m-9 p.m. seven days a week ) has considerably more than that; the burger I had was amazing, but there are other dishes ranging from salads to chilaquiles and much more.
As for the flexible rooms, additional amenities include a flat-screen television with cable TV channels, custom furniture, a safe, complimentary eco-friendly bath products and free high-speed wi-fi. There are also laundry facilities that require tokens ( available at the front desk ) to operate.
Bottom line: Would I return to Fieldhouse Jones? Absolutely. Not only is it a great bargain, but you're almost guaranteed to enjoy yourself in one way or another.
Note: This hotel visit was based on an arranged invitation.