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“Dirty bathroom”
Review of The Villa Toscana

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The Villa Toscana
Ranked #9 of 22 Chicago B&B and Inns
Reviewed June 7, 2007

June 4 & 5,2007-- Pat McCormack-- We stayed in #5 at the garden level which is really the basement. One has to go outside to get to the kitchen & the rest of the facility. The worst part was the bathroom . I believe that the grout in the shower is colored black. Most of this black grout is covered with soft, fuzzy mold. They are in serious need of a scrub brush & Clorox. It was disgusting. I was afraid to touch anything, making it very difficult to shower. Even my husband noticed the mold. I certainly would never stay there again nor would i recommend it to anyone who cared anything about sanitation . The managements response was "Oh, sorry".

Stayed: June 2007
3  Thank levittownNYClean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Villa3447, manager at The Villa Toscana, responded to this reviewResponded June 14, 2007

This woman was full of complaints the minute she walked in the b&b. They arrived at 12:30 pm expecting to check into their rooms. Our checkout time is 12 noon. Rooms cannot be turned over that quickly. When I told them that they had to wait they acted very annoyed and a bit rude even though I allowed them to drop their luggage off and wait in our common area. I personally went and checked the bathroom after the complaint about the shower was made and I found absolutely nothing. I'm not sure what she was seeing. Since taking over the Villa Toscana last July, we have gone to great lengths to make sure that everything here is clean at all times.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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85 - 91 of 101 reviews

Reviewed June 2, 2007

Horrible experience!!! We reserved a stay for 3 nights for our wedding weekend (3 nights was required by them), only to arrive on the 3rd night to find that all of our personal belongings had been thrown in the garbage by the housekeeper (toothbrushes, paste, hair gel, including brass candle holders that our friends had put in their to make it romantic) all gone. When we complained, we were told that is normal for them to throw out personal belonging if they are left behind when someone checks out, But we had one more night (our wedding night!) Instead of apologizing or offering to amend the situation, both the owners and the manager said it was our fault for not having luggage that the maid could see so she would know that we were still staying there, BUT we had Reserved for 3 Nights. No luggage because we live in Chicago and had family at the apartment! The manager said she could go through the GARBAGE to look for our things. Toothbrushes and Garbage, enough said! We lost only $50 of personal items, but asked the owner what about if someone had left behind their diamond ring and she said it could happen that it could get thrown out. So they could care less what happens to your belongings apparently. Toothbrushes and hair gel are easily replaced, but not my wedding night!!! I asked the owners to reimburse me for one of the 3 nights and she said No because we had stayed there! I had to hold the keys hostage until they refunded me $50 (not even half the cost of there tiny rooms per night) in person, because the owner hung up on me when I ask it to be done right away. STAY AWAY from this place on shear principle. I have never been so rudely treated by any business in my live. SHAME ON YOU Rosemary and Jerry!!! Thank you for ruining my wedding night! If you decide to stay there BEWARE.

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
11  Thank gomonk9000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2006

B&B in Chicago's Linclon Park area. Setting is beautiful; set back from busy street with lots of charming greenery /fountains along brick walkway to stately front door. Weren't told ahead of time that it's in gay neighborhood; didn't matter to us (small family). Room was older and charming with comfy queen bed and separate twin daybed that pulls out to be a full. Sole upstairs bathroom is shared by 3 rooms. Luckily, we were the only upstairs guests so we had it to ourselves. Parking here is horrendous and we know that part of the problem is the proximity to Wrigley field and that baseball fans park their cars in this area to walk to games. Bars and restaurants are lively; lots of activity in neighborhood till late at night but B&B is quiet. Most B&B's offer breakfast and was disappointed that this one only offers cold cereal, store-bought muffins and juice. Would have LOVED a home-cooked breakfast.

Stayed: August 2006
4  Thank cotton_I_Jo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2006

The Villa Toscana in Chicago's Lakeview area, was the perfect answer to all of my vacation traveling needs. I love the charm of B&B's, as I have been to many all over hte country, and abroad, and the Villa is no exception.
If you want to stay in a place with character, a really amazing location, a small but gracious staff, definitely put this B&B on your list.
+Great shopping, dining, and entertainment right outside the door...downtown is really acessible as well.
+A helpful, personable hostess-she was really knowledgeable of the Chicago area, and helped us to find a great spot to eat, and play.
+A good, easy breakfast..its continental, but they give you lots to choose from, tons of fresh fruit!!! and a civilized time (i think its like 6am to noon that the breakfast is available)
+A really cute living room, complete with fireplace, where we sat and had wine and chatted in the evenings.
+I understand, from the hostess, that the owners did all the interior decorating themselves...it was really beautiful and professional..the place is charming.

My only qualms are with the size of some of the rooms...a little tiny on the garden level, but, the house is like circa 1800 something, so, whatever...i liked my room, it was cozy, but i was glad to go out and do stuff.
-I also think there should be more concierge-stuff available..maps, brochures, etc for chicago...

Anyway. i give a great review, and will be returning to the villa when i can!

6  Thank amelie123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Savannah, Georgia
Reviewed April 28, 2006

I must say that I was a bit shocked to read a few of the reviews below. My partner and I just spent 4 nights at the Villa Toscana and could not have been happier with our stay. We travel to Chicago at least once a year to visit with friends and this was our third time staying at this bed and breakfast. We have stayed in a different room each time and every room has been absolutely wonderful. Our room this time around must have been one of the smaller rooms in the house. We never felt cramped at any point though and the decor was simply stunning. The service was excellent as always. The staff is very friendly and helpful. I really enjoyed the help yourself breakfast as they were stocked with different types of delicious muffins, fruit, bagels, and juices. Anyone who stays here probably realizes that it's best aspect is it's location as it is right in the center of Chicago's gay district, but the house itself is beautiful and very inviting. My partner and i will continue to stay here whenever we visit Chicago.

  • Stayed: April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Boston, MA
Reviewed April 25, 2006

Stayed at the Villa Toscana for 3 nights. Its location is the best feature. Everything else is just OK. Located right across from Hydrate night club. Many bars, clubs, restaurants, stores only a short walk away. Addison "El" stop on the red line is a 5 min walk from the Villa and 15 min ride to downtown Chicago area.
So... the rooms are TINY! What you seen in the pictures is pretty much what you get space wise. Rooms #4, 5, 6 and 7 are in the basement with very small windows. Our room (#7) had a chair, small table and a 10" tv (anything bigger just wouldn't fit). Dresser and clothes hangers were in the bathroom?! (convenient, i suppose, if you want to unwrinkle clothes). There was a sign in the room saying that towels will be changed on the second day, however they weren't, nor was the room made up.
We didn't even try breakfast at the Villa. I did see muffins, cereal and fruit in the kitchen but it wasn't a great selection. (Nookies is a very good breakfast/lunch/dinner place and open 24 hrs on fri and sat - 2 mins from the Villa).
All in all it was OK, but probably not worth the $$. We will not be returning to the Villa.

  • Stayed: April 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2006

Just stayed for 2 nights at the Villa Toscana. (in response to the last reviewer's notes) I didn't even realize there were downstairs rooms to this place! My room was apparently a vast difference from those rooms. I had room #1, which was upstairs with a window facing the front yard. I'm not sure where it sits on the scale of rooms in the place, but I think I paid on the upper end of the available range. It was a generously sized room (esp. for one person, as was my case) and would have been very comfortable still for 2. Our room, at least compared to the previous reviewer's room, certainly had plenty of room for numerous luggage. It also had a small open closet, and shared a bath with the two other rooms upstairs. I had a chance to peek at the two rooms upstairs (both unoccupied at the time of my early checkin) and they looked quite reasonably sized as well. I have attached two photos of my room and one photo of my view from the window.

I too had little/no contact with the proprietors of the villa except during checkin, but unlike others, that's actually a huge plus for me as I like to keep to myself when I travel, prefer not to be disturbed, nor having to make small-talk. It was a pleasant and relaxing stay for me, as I also managed to catch a cold during my stay and was able to peacefully nap throughout both days. The biggest plus for me was the bed - it was extremely comfortable and the sheets were clean. The 3-speed ceiling fan was a nice touch as well as it did get fairly warm durin the sunny daytime. There was plenty of sunshine my room.

While on the topic of pluses, location is a big one. It is right in the heart of the gay 'village', with many amenities close by. It is right across the street from the bar/club Hydrate which opens until 4/5am on weekends. I tend not to eat in the 'village' and usually stray out for food. There were plenty of nice cozy places to eat within a few blocks, including a wonderful Thai joint called 'Cozy Noodles & Rice' on N. Sheffield St. A 24hr grocery chain was also within one and half blocks ('Jewells'), great for stocking up on some pre-going out alcohol or snacks. About a 5min walk to the Addison train station and Wrigley stadium.

I liked the self-help breakfast although as the previous reviewer noted, it was a lot of packaged muffins etc. There was, however, yoghurt packs and juice in the fridge, as well as lots of fruit. This was sufficient for me as I usually don't eat much for breakfast, and didn't really avail myself of the kitchen supply to any great extent. The service lady that came the first morning of my stay seemed very polite and happy to be there. My towels were clean.

The bathroom was pretty nice and tastefully decorated. Here though were my first two negatives: firstly, the only aesthetically sore-spot to the place was the sink. The sinkhole was pretty grungy looking. It wasn't anything that cleaning would have helped - the sinkhole / caulking had browned with age and looked quite unpleasant. The sink obviously needs to be replaced, although it appeared to be an antique-set that matched the old-style bathtub so perhaps that is why it is still there. The bathtub/shower, fortunatley, did not suffer from such blemishes and was quite clean. The second crutch: the bathroom tissue. I hope the owners will someday decide to 'jump' up to 2-ply tissue, because the 1-ply paper got pretty uncomfortable, pretty fast.

The only significant (and biggest) negative for me was the lack of internet access. Though advertised, I was informed at checkin that it was down, and I got the impression that it likely wouldn't be solved during my 48hours there. Unfortunately, I had really depended on making the weekend stay a work-weekend and required the internet. That and the fact that I had done minimal Chicago activity-research beforehand thinking that I'd have handy internet access to do that with the laptop I brought. Their router was clearly working as I had no problems connecting, but their router wasn't getting an internet signal. It possibly just needed a simple reset, but I'll never know. The only saving grace was that (given that I had no desire to shell out another $15+ to use the internet at the coffee shop that was suggested to me across the street), I was able to make use of T-mobile's free Hotspot weekend at the Starbucks across the street from Wrigley's Field (a limited-time special for T-mobile customers until the end of May2006). Still a nuisance to have to lug my old laptop there, but better than nothing. I was also able, from my room, to detect a really really weak <1% wireless signal that was originating from somewhere nearby. I have no idea where, but it was enough to let me check my email a few times at least, despite the slow connection and intermittent signal dropouts.

The other 'minus' has more to do with the general rules of B&B's probably than to single out this one B&B, but they had clear 'no visitors after 11pm' signs. This wasn't a problem for me though as I'm partnered up and had no plans on shacking up, but single visitors (gay or straight) may want to take note rather than be disappointed that they are paying so much for a room yet are not permitted to bring back anyone for that special 'night'. To be honest, I don't know how much that rule is enforced and I imagine the rule is there to protect the proprietors as much as it is for the benefit of other guests there, but I got the impression that it probably wouldn't be a huge deal if someone were to have a guest over temporarily for a 'visit', noise level was kept to a minimum, and the room-tenant were to take full responsibilty for that guest. Certainly the owners weren't there 'waiting' or 'watching' me at 3am as I made my way back to my room - in fact, on both nights I never saw a soul. Those who would prefer not to take that chance however may be better to stay at a hotel instead, rather than be disappointed.

So - all in all, I think I would stay there again if I were in Chicago, though I'd make sure I had one of the upstairs rooms again at least (though I've never seen the downstairs rooms myself). I'd also call to make sure the internet was working though as that was actually the key selling point for my original purchase, and the lack of internet cost me about a day's worth of 'at-home' work.

  • Stayed: April 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank James T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Villa Toscana

Address: 3447 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657-2414
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 22 B&Bs / Inns in Chicago
Price Range: $98 - $153 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Villa Toscana 2.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Villa Toscana Bed & Breakfast is an eight-room guesthouse located in the Lakeview/Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, six miles north of downtown Chicago. Our guesthouse is in one of Chicago's most eclectic entertainment districts and center of Chicago's Gay and Lesbian neighborhood, second largest in the United States. Literally steps from our door you will find an exciting nightlife, the beautiful Lake Michigan shores, a thriving theatre district, shopping, and an extensive variety of bars, clubs, and ethnic restaurants. We are also known as the closest accommodation to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Villa Toscana Hotel Chicago

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