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.
- 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