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“Mostly positive”

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Hotel Blake Chicago
Ranked #34 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed October 26, 2006

My wife and I were in Chicago to run the marathon on October 22nd. We had initially booked at the Blake back in January with some trepidation because the hotel was undergoing renovations and the reviews were not very good. However we got a good rate so stayed with it and are glad we did. The renovation is complete and it is generally quite pleasing. It is very much in the "boutique hotel" style, so if this isn't your style, look elsewhere. I suspect that the degree of satisfaction one has will depend on what room you are in.

Initially we were given a room on the 7th floor facing the street. All good, except that it was so narrow that there was no room for a chest of drawers of any kind. Also, a small closet. Maybe not an issue if you are travelling alone, or just staying for one night and don't mind leaving your clothes in the suitcase. When we asked to be moved we were told that there are several different room configurations on each floor. However, the front desk staff were very happy to accomade our needs so we were moved to a bigger room, but on the back side of the building. Note that all of the odd number rooms are on the back side and look out at a brick wall that is only a very narrow street (more like a laneway) away, maybe 25 feet. Not an issue for us, since we don't stay in city hotels for the view. However what was a big issue is that the garbage bins for the hotel and other businesses are in this laneway, and the garbage trucks came by every night at about 4 AM. Ridiculous! We were awakened to the sound of these trucks compacting garbage in the middle of the night. Perhaps this would not be so noticable on a higher floor; we were on the 2nd.

We again asked to be moved the next day but were told this was not possible because the hotel was sold out. Hmmmm. On a positive note, the room was clean and well appointed, the bed was fantastically comfortable, and the maid service great. However, the rooms do NOT have bathtubs, which would have been very nice for soaking in after running a marathon. But the shower is really big, and marble tiled. As noted in an earlier review, traffic noice could be an issue for some. Congress Parkway, at the north end of the hotel, is a VERY busy 8 lane street. Ideally one would want a big room on an upper floor, and at the south end of the building. Our friends had such a room, and if we had been there I would be giving The Blake a 5 star review.
Didn't use the fitness centre or go to the restaurant, but both looked very nice and the restaurant was busy, a good sign.

Other positives are the friendly and helpful staff and the location, which is 3 blocks from Michigan Avenue and Grant Park. Also the nearest CTA subway station (LaSalle) is only about a 3 minute walk. This is the Blue line, which is the train that goes to O'Hare Airport. The Plymouth Restaurant, which is about a 5 minute walk, serves "casual American", including breakfast and has a sports bar downstairs, as well as a rooftop bar (not that it was open in late October).

Overall, I would consider staying at the Blake again, but given that the rates have increased (depending on when you stay), the value for money quotient has gone down.

  • Stayed: October 2006, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank routeboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,863 - 1,869 of 2,014 reviews

Reviewed October 25, 2006

STAY AT THE HOTEL BLAKE!! This was my husband and my second trip to Chicago. During our first visit, we stayed at the "renowned" (says who?) Whitehall Hotel…which totally sucked!!! Our experience at the Whitehall was so bad we were terrified that any hotel that received fewer than four stars had to be unbearable. However, our stay at The Hotel Blake proved the star-system wrong.

To be honest, we were a little apprehensive about staying at the Blake after reading some of the poor reviews. Plus, the low price and the name (perhaps a knock-off of "The Drake Hotel"?) made us wonder what kind of bad imposter The Hotel Blake might be. We worried for nothing though--everything was perfect! For starters, we couldn't have asked for a better location. The Blake was a few blocks from the Theater District, a short walk to the Chicago Institute of Arts, a $4 cab ride from the train station and within walking distance of tons of shopping, restaurants, etc. The hotel was immaculate too (trust me…I'm extremely picky). From the modern, stylish décor, to the outstanding staff and service, everything about the Blake was top-notch. Oh…and the shower is fit for a queen (or king)…and big enough to fit both!

However, as some of the other reviews mentioned, the Blake did not have flat panel TVs. Where they got that idea, I have no clue…but who goes to Chicago to watch TV anyway? We weren't disappointed.

Without a doubt, we'll be staying at the Blake again and we highly recommend you do the same.

PS: After making your reservations on hotels.com or another travel website, be sure to call the hotel to confirm your reservations, bed-size, etc. (Tip: While you have them on the phone, ask for the biggest/nicest room too.) If you don't do this (like one guest we encountered as we were checking out), there's a chance the Blake will not be able to accommodate your initial reservation, since reservations made online don’t always reflect hotel availability. This is NOT the hotel's fault.

  • Stayed: October 2006, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank rebecca1027
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2006

After reading a few reviews on Hotel Blake, I was a little hesitant to book here. I was in town on business and needed to be in this area. The hotel itself is obviously very old which can play either way for people. I didn't mind the age, it made it kind of chic really. Our room was on the 7th floor and wasn't too bad. There were a few spots where the wall paper was peeling off the wall near the floor, but hey, it's just cosmetics. The room was very clean. I have no complaints about that. The marble floors in the bathroom were a little dangerous when wet so be VERY careful. The room was quite large with high ceilings and the street facing wall was all windows. This had it's ups and downs. The draft off the glass was quite chilly. I know this is just the nature of big old buildings with lots of glass.....drafty. The biggest complaint I had was the noise off of the street. You are directly above Dearborn and Congress which can be quite busy at all hours. I'm certain you'd suffer this in most locations in the city, but I have stayed at other downtown locations in Chicago right on Michigan and did not experience the street noise I experienced at Hotel Blake. The next little issue was with the valet parking. I realize that there aren't a lot of options to park downtown so I can't complain about the $36/day valet parking charge. I would complain, however, about the fact that the first night we arrived they never parked the car, but left it on the curb all night in front of the hotel and tried to charge us the $36 anyway........ The other minor complaint would be the funky smell in the hallway. Our room didn't smell, but the hallway was very musty and had almost a leaking "propane" sort of smell. The staff was friendly and accomodating....no issues there.
In summary, if you have to stay in the financial district, you could stay here without suffering too badly, but it wouldn't be my first choice. I would probably stay here again in a pinch, but not really by choice. One thing I will say, is if you do stay here, be sure to eat at Edwardo's across the street. EXCELLENT pizza and great service. A really nice little place.....

  • Stayed: October 2006, traveled on business
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1  Thank mowens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2006

Best boutique luxury hotel in the city! Clean rooms, friendly service and upgraded amenities. IPOD docking station was a nice touch!!

The work out facility was the best in the city after the Peninsula.
It's designed with hardwood floors and consists of high-end Life Fitness equipent, free weights, and machines. It overlooks the downtown area. Great views!

I will book the Blake again.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled on business
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Thank TannerWilliam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2006

My boyfriend and I just returned for a weekend stay in Chicago at the Hotel Blake. We originally were going to stay at the W City Center but due to a last minute deal on Expedia, and positive things I read about Hotel Blake, we decided to stay at this new boutique hotel. I heard there were some kinks initally but that they had been worked out. Unfortunately, this was not true and we were very disappointed in the lack of customer service and attention to detail that most boutique hotels, especially those in the Preferred Boutique group, usually have.

First, what you might read about this "luxury boutique hotel" on Expedia and it's Web site is false advertising. While the hotel looks nice from the outside and is located in a great area, there are none of the luxuries they promote (i.e., plama screen TVs, TVs in bathroom, robes, Molton Brown products, morning paper etc.). And, the customer service was awful - they made us feel like we were constantly putting them out any time we asked for something.

When we arrived, our rooms were very warm as the air conditioning wasn't working and the windows did not open. The staff offered to provide us with another room but it was the same situation. They did not have fans or anything - basically they told us to tough it out. Also, I tried to talk with the manager several times during our stay but he was never on duty.

I could go on and on...So, if you are looking for a luxury boutique hotel get away spend a little extra and stay at The James or W on Lakeshore as Hotel Blake still needs A LOT of work and some customer service training.

Stayed: August 2006
4  Thank KAMack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2006

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary in the city and the location was great! close to michigan ave shopping. the rooms were spotless and the amenities were fabulous. It also had one of the most comfortable beds i have ever slept in!! A+ stay.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank veronica22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2006

I stayed at Hotel Blake during two separate business trips to Chicago. Each visit was made even better by the friendly staff who always greeted me by name and went above and beyond by anticipating my needs while there.

As a business woman working at the Board of Trade I found the location of Hotel Blake to be incredibly convenient as well.

I look forward to returning to Hotel Blake very soon. I'm very fortunate my travel agent found such a gem for my hotel accommodations.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled on business
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1  Thank lawhelp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Blake Chicago

Address: 500 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60605-1502 (Formerly Wyndham Blake Chicago)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Downtown / The Loop
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#22 Green Hotel in Chicago
#34 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#55 Business Hotel in Chicago
Price Range: $112 - $273 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Blake Chicago 3.5*
Number of rooms: 162
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Indulge in Hotel Blake, a landmark of luxury in one of downtown Chicago’s most vibrant neighborhoods, Printers Row. In walking distance to shopping, Millenium Park, Soldier Field, Willis Tower and many other cultural places, The Hotel Blake Chicago offers a robust taste of Chicago’s rich culture and diversity. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Wyndham Blake Chicago Hotel Chicago
Blake Hotel Chicago
Blake Motel Chicago

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