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“Great Place for Couples” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Willows

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The Willows
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325 Clark St, Utica, IL 61373   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Utica
Evanston, Illinois
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great Place for Couples”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

My husband and I stayed here for a low-key anniversary weekend. The place is nice, and probably your best option if you don't want to be staying in the lodge with all the kids, water park, etc. We stayed in the Pinto room, which was a great location on the second floor, end room.

The best part is the breakfast - made fresh and delivered to your room! The food was amazing and generous - we were able to treat it as brunch and have a light snack in the early afternoon. There's also some pictures on the website of the adorable rocking chairs, but they aren't as private as they look in the picture as they are all on the open porch/walkway area in front of all the rooms. Not a big deal, it was just not what I had assumed when looking at the pictures. But, the kitchenette is a nice feature; we made popcorn in the microwave and had wine that we could chill in the fridge.

The location is great, you're across the street from a cute ice cream shop, 2 blocks down the street from the 1-block downtown area with a couple little shops and restaurants, and only about a 5 minute drive to Starved Rock State Park (the entrance - if you want to go to one of the further away trails, it's a little longer).

There's only a few small drawbacks:
1. They close the front office at 5pm, so if you arrive after that, you're going to just pick up the key and not interact with anyone. It might be nice if they could stay open a little later on Friday at least, as I would venture to guess that a majority of their business comes from Chicagoland area weekend trippers. Even when you take a half day, it's hard to make it there by 5pm. It seems rather impersonal to not have any interactions with the staff when you check in.
2. They really make an effort for it to be a nice "spa-like" atmosphere with a jacuzzi tub, but the regular shower has a cheap, tiny shower head. It's simple & cheap to replace those with bigger, multi-setting fixtures, but when I got in the shower it just snapped me back into the feeling of an old college apartment!

Room Tip: The Pinto Deluxe Suite is an upstairs end room, which is probably the most privacy you will get here...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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18 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    4
    9
    0
    2
    3
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3
10
Solo
0
Business
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Janesville, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2013

Girls' trip weekend; had a blast! Breakfast was beyond belief and brought to our room every day at our requested time! Wasn't expecting much based on other Trip Advisor reviews; worried about the conditions we would find. Our room, #9, had 2 queens and a really tasteful pull out couch, oversized ottoman, larger than dorm room frig, toaster, full size coffee pot, real tableware for 4, hair dryer, iron/board. Room was clean, towels large and absorbent, linens crisp and white, staff was great. Paid a bit extra for the extra 2 girls but staff made sure we had enough pillows, towels, and tableware.

Breakfast Day #1--thick blueberry pancake with scramble eggs on top, yogurt/granola/fruit in really cute colored martini glasses, orange juice, sausage all very good and great presentation.

Breakfast Day #2--chocolate éclairs, large fresh fruit plate, breakfast casserole, orange juice, and sausage. yum!

Drawbacks--1 bathroom for 6 girls; roomneeds room darkening shades so you aren't up with the sun. Saw end room and pictures of other rooms; not my choice of colors; made rooms dark. Glad our room was done in off white/beige walls; bright and cheery. Get better orange juice; nobody drank it.

Would stay here again if going to Starved Rock or the winery downtown. Thanks Willows for putting up with 6 crazy girls!!! We enjoyed our stay.

Room Tip: Ground level rooms open to wide porch where you can sit outside and get to know your "neighbors...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oak Lawn, IL
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

Came for a weekend of hiking with friends and stayed at the Willows. We stayed in the Gentlemans Quarters. It was comfortable enough, perhaps a bit cheesey, but adequate dining, seating and sleeping room for two couples. (Not sure about the pullout couch experience, but the bed was quite comfortable!) The staff was fantastic, really top notch service. It is nice that breakfast delivered to your room from the bistro downstairs is included. The food was delicious and was also delivered with fresh orange juice. Would stay again with friends, just as a couple, or even with the kids.

There are rocking chairs outside every room on a lovely porch. There is a cat that roams the grounds, greeting the guests or curled up on the porch in the sun. Very cute. Also, a large tee-pee in the parking lot. Not sure why, but again, very cute and adds to the overall peaceful, cozy feeling of the property.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manhattan, Illinois
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

We didn't sleep here, but ate at the Bistro Cafe on Saturday afternoon, during a break from Eagle Weekend activities at Starved Rock State Park. We were looking for something other than fast food. The cafe was quiet, nicely decorated, and although more upscale than our 3 adolescent/teen sons are used to, not so posh that it put them off. The menu offered many good options. It is more expensive than McDonalds, but not unexpected for the type of place it is. The food was great. I enjoyed the special, a Cordon Blue Burger on a pretzel roll. And all 3 boys raved about their lunch, which was a surprise! (They don't usually rave about much.) The service was great. I would definately eat lunch here again, and recommend to others.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Evanston, Illinois
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

After a hike in Starved Rock, stop at the Bistro cafe inside the Willows Hotel.
We were greeted by the friendly and cheerful Rona! The half panini was hot cheesy and delightful! The soup was warm and tasty! Very well appointed room - you could've been in Paris!
Stop by and unwind!!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moline, Illinois
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2012

First the good: the staff was friendly, the brekfast was good and delivered on time.

Now the bad: The furnishings were early garage sale, the room was oddly designed and not very homey for a B&B. The office closes at 6 PM (small staff). The "two day minimum" should have been my first clue to the owner's mindset. The price was high (especially for the area) and to top it off, they did a very "low rent" thing - they charged my credit card immediately for the full price of the stay when I made the reservation (instead of at checkout). Something my fellow travelers know is rarely done except for some high-end resorts and then only for a deposit.

I might have overlooked the rest, but that was the "last straw" and the main reason for me writing this review!

Room Tip: Just be prepared to pay Chicago prices for a small town hotel - I'm sure all of the rooms were s...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Illinois
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2012

Went for a long Labor Day getaway weekend on the motorcycle. We had the "farmland" jacuzzi suite which had a open kitchen / living room with double sided fireplace to the jacuzzi tub. At first it all seemed a bit odd and quirky but very clean and after getting used to it- we loved it!! We were on the upper level that had a big long porch with rocking chairs outside the door. Across the street is an ice cream shop so you can really appreciate the simple joy of spending a summer evening sitting in a rocker on the porch eating an ice cream cone watching the cars go by. Every night ended with a very relaxing jacuzzi bath. Great location just a walk over the little bridge to the block of "downtown Utica". There were about 4 or so really neat restaurant / bars and a couple neat little shops. Be sure and get a fried pretzel at Duffy's and the Kamikaze wings at Skoogs. August Hill winery is right downtown and there are other little shops and winery stores nearby also. Just a couple miles over the big bridge is Starved Rock State Park. Spent a day there - just gorgeous. If you head out the back of the building, take a walk up toward the church. Lovely - seemed very Norman Rockwell like. To the left before crossing the little bridge into the downtown is a walking / biking path along the canal that goes for miles. The whole trip was very relaxing. The room price included breakfast which was so wonderful to have delivered right to the door every morning. The people there were very nice. We didn't have any complaints about service at all but we are not very demanding either. The only negatives I would have is that the bed could have been a bit softer and yes the price could have been a bit lower but that is the case with most places. Room wi-fi was included where many places we stay that is an extra charge. If you are looking for a charming small midwest rural town experience - this is it. If you want to stay at a standard chain hotel for cheaper - then look elsewhere. We will definitely be back since The Willows and Utica are now on my "Love It List".

Room Tip: Get one of the upper level "theme" jacuzzi suites.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Willows

Address: 325 Clark St, Utica, IL 61373
Location: United States > Illinois > Utica
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Utica
Number of rooms: 9

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