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“Noisy. Poorly Staffed” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Willows

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The Willows
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   555 West Surf Ave, Chicago, IL 60657-6020 (Lakeview)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #45 of 177 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Denver, Colorado
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Noisy. Poorly Staffed”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2009

I stayed at the Willows on a recent trip to Chicago and was slightly underwhelmed in comparison to other travelers who have reviewed it here.

My room, a first floor "suite", was apparently located under the stairwell that leads from the lobby to the second floor. This was not a problem during the day. But, was quite noisy at 3 am on Friday and Saturday night when drunken revelers came stomping home from the local bars. More so when the staff began digging ice from the ice machine next to my room at 6 am for the continental breakfast that the hotel serves in its lobby.

In the case of the Willows, the excessive noise could be contained by the simple installation of some acoustic tiles and/or insulation under the offending staircase and more considerate behavior by the staff.

The suite consisted of one large room with a wall installed in the middle of it and a couple of chairs, a tv and wet bar in the sitting area. It certainly was not worth the extra expense. The bedroom had a rather old window unit air conditioner which was unnecessary the night I was there. Heat, which would have been welcome the night of my visit, appears to be radiated steam heat as one might find in many older Chicago buildings. The bathroom was tiny and one could nat maneuver around its door without having to close it.

The bedding was quite comfortble. However, the room fixtures including carpet were old, worn and appeared to be in need of replacement

The neighborhood is quite nice. Many dining and drinking options are available within blocks of the hotel. It is quite close to the Lake Michigan beaches if one is traveling in summer. The hotel does offer a gym membership at a local Bally's.

The staff seems a bit inept. Not capable of dealing with difficulties encountered by other guests checking in at the same time I was.

There are only a scant few hotels in this neighborhood which is surprising given its proximity to Wrigley Field. My experience at all has been quite underwhelming (including at the Willow's sister hotel, the City Suites on Belmont, which backs up to an active El track). I suspect that the demand caused by the lack of competition in the neighborhood creates an environment where the hotel operators don't have to excel to keep guests coming back.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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439 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (94)
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English first
KC
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2009

We just returned from a three-night stay at The Willows Hotel and found it to be very pleasant. It's clean, the staff is thoughtful, and the Lakeview East neighborhood is a joy and easy base for a stay in Chicago.

We had an executive king room and my only complaint about our room is its loud air conditioner. It kept me awake for much of the first night. We later ran it only during the daytime when we were gone. When we returned, we turned off the air conditioner and turned on the big overhead fan. That worked well but the weather was cooler than normal during our stay in Chicago. I don't know if that method would work in a heat wave. Nonetheless, we'd stay here again.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Mt. Carroll
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2009

I just got home from my one night stay at The Willows hotel. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the hotel was for how low the price. The hotel has a very nice atmosphere. The front desk can be a bit slow at times, but that is my only complaint. The room was very nice and clean. Located in a very nice neighborhood. About a 20 minute walk from Wrigley Field. The hotel is right by restaurants, shops, bars, etc... I will definitely consider staying here again for my next visit to chicago!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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carol stream
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2009

Great staff that were there when you needed them. What a GREAT experience it was staying near the heart of Boystown. The food, the people and the atmosphere near Halstead was wonderful.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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new york, new york
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2009

I went to Chicago for my friend's wedding and booked this hotel because it was near his apartment. The price and website led me to believe this was going to be a step above what I'm used to. Upon arrival the guy at the front desk couldn't find my reservation but after a few minutes finally found it. A bellman took my suitcase up to my room before I even finished checking in. The lobby was nice and the staff was friendly. The elevator was kind of slow and I ended up taking the stairs for the remainder of my stay (two nights) because it was faster.
Room was clean, perfect for just me. I had a lovely view of a brick wall and someone's kitchen. The bathroom floor was a little uneven. I thought wifi was free but I ended up having to pay for it.
The breakfast wasn't that spectacular, mostly unhealthy items like doughnuts and breakfast sandwiches. On Sunday though they had a stack of free Tribunes which was nice. I wouldn't stay there again just because of the price.

  • Stayed July 2008, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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lousiville
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2009

I am a Days Inn patron, but the DI was down with an electrical virus and the lovely reservations manager there suggested the Willows for my stay. I had a lovely room with the back view, but it was quiet, neat, and perfectly suited to my tastes - operable windows, best neighborhood in Chicago, easy access to all of my usual haunts. The free breakfast was a great perk, and I had a small fridge, another necessity. Lack of a safe was my only quibble. If you are looking for a truly calm experience in a real neighborhood with a boutique, not over-the-top atmosphere, the Willows is a great choice. The access to Bally Fitness, also offered by Days Inn, is a wonderful added attraction.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2009

Wonderful hotel in a great part of Chicago - very quiet street and a short walk from some great bars and restaurants and it is only a 5/10 minute drive to downdown Chicago. The restuarants are also much better value in this neighbourhood than downtown. The staff were wonderul and always willing to help. The rooms of very high standard and extremely comfortable. They do a very simple buffet breakfast - nothing special but was included in the price. You can take your breakfast up to your room - which is quite helpful as the space and seating in reception is not really geared up for eating breakfast. They also have tea and coffee on tap 24/7. This is a great hotel and really is home from home. I will certainly stay here again.

  • Liked — Very homely
  • Disliked — Breakfast in the reception area
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Additional Information about The Willows

Address: 555 West Surf Ave, Chicago, IL 60657-6020
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Lakeview
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Room Service
Hotel Style:
#45 Family Hotel in Chicago
#64 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#75 Business Hotel in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Willows 2.5*
Number of rooms: 55
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Also Known As:
The Willows Hotel Chicago
Willows Hotel Chicago
Willows Chicago

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