I chose this place based on reviews from other travelers here at Trip Advisor. My husband and I were there for four nights, from Monday to Thursday. The place was full the whole time we were there, which spoke well of Ray!
When we arrived, we got in 1 hour earlier than expected, so Ray wasn't on hand to greet us personally. However, he had left his cell number with us, so we were still able to let ourselves in right away. When he arrived home (from grocery shopping), we introduced ourselves and he gave us a complete run-down of the place: free parking on the street, washer and dryer, umbrellas to borrow, a Mac for guest use, steam room, sauna, the cats (there are two), books and magazines galore. We chose our breakfast time and we were good to go. Ray also provides driving/transit instructions to every major sight in Chicago. It was a huge help because we took transit, rather than driving downtown.
Breakfast is delicious. I would highly recommend the omelet (you can choose any combo of 10 different fillings) and the roasted potatoes. In addition to ordering off the menu, there are home made pastries and fresh fruit available. There was so much food at breakfast that I was unable to finish my meal! Breakfast is served on the main floor in the dining room, so there are people coming in and out throughout the 2 hours that breakfast is served. I really enjoyed meeting the variety of people that stayed at Ray's. Most stayed one or two days, so the conversation was always new and interesting.
And Ray provides bottled water for guests to take. What a nice perk!
We stayed in two different rooms - the first one for three days, and the second one for a single night.
Our first room was the West Room. It's definitely cozy. There's a closet beside the bed, a tv stand at the end of the bed with TV, DVD player, radio alarm, and phone. There are two bunks built right into the wall - so I'd recommend this room for a family with kids that like bunks. Four adults would fit but you wouldn't want to spend much time hanging out in the room. For just the two of us it was a good size.
The West Room bathroom is unusual. We liked it because of the double sinks and open (glass brick) shower. However, the bathroom's main wall is the glass bricks of the steam room! It was unnerving at first because I wondered who would see me naked. So I had my husband stand in the bathroom and I turned on the steam next door. Once the steam is going, you can't see ANYTHING in the bathroom, so I felt comfortable. On the plus side, it's like having your own private steam room, because no one else used it the whole time we were there. On the downside, the short hallway into the bathroom is narrow. So narrow that my husband had to turn sideways to get down it. I just barely fit facing forward at the room entrance (narrowest part) but at the bathroom end it widens out.
The second room we stayed in was the Skylight Room. This one was beautiful! It was open and airy and filled with light. I found the bed too soft in this room - so if you like soft beds, go for this room (I like hard beds). Though the skylights are right above the bed, they are shuttered with black pleated fabric blinds so they let very little light through. This room also has a TV, DVD player and radio alarm. I don't remember if there's a phone.
The Skylight Bathroom was also fantastic. Jet tub! Shower, toilet and sink are nicely laid out. The bathroom is at the bottom of the stairs, and then you climb up to the room itself. This gives added privacy because the bathroom is on the main level, but the bedroom is upstairs so it's quiet. The whole suite has it's own entrance, so it's not like other people will be using your bathroom.
Definitely check out the photos on the website - they'll give you a good idea of the place.
The neighborhood is quiet and safe. Even coming back at 11pm, we didn't feel unsafe at all. The B&B is a 10 minute walk from the train, and the train takes 10 minutes into The Loop, so it's very convenient for sightseeing. You are also right between N. Damen Ave (a FANTASTIC place for restaurants and people-watching) and Western (another busy street filled with restaurants, shopping, and grocery stores). Though these two main avenues are busy, Ray's neighborhood is peaceful.
Ray and his staff were so friendly and helpful. It made the entire experience a fantastic one, and if I'm ever back in Chicago, I'm definitely staying there! Thanks!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.