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“If you HATE air con and LOVE broken toilets, this is the place for you!”

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IHSP Chicago Hostel
Certificate of Excellence
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“If you HATE air con and LOVE broken toilets, this is the place for you!”
Reviewed June 21, 2012

I don't know about you guys, but I love checking into a place only to find that where we're actually staying is a few blocks away from the office in a run down house in a creepy alley where the door isn't marked and you have to play "Try-the-key-in-the-random-door" until you find your room. If you think that's fun, wait until you find out there's no toilet paper in your communal bathroom (lol did we say ensuite? JOKES!) and the toilet itself is continuously flushing itself. Mix in a total lack of air conditioning in the sweltering summer heat and a mattress wrapped in mega loud plastic that wakes you up if you move at all and you have PARADISE!

My favourite part was when the guy we called to fix the air con and bring us toilet paper (we had to ask twice) had to go into somebody's private room while they were sleeping to access the controls.

I am almost envying the people sleeping on the street just outside, at least they're getting a breeze.

  • Stayed June 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ebolicious
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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262 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
Date | Rating
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English first
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed June 17, 2012

This Hostel has the potential to be a fantastic place however it managed to get so many things wrong it warrants only 2 out of 5. The hostel in its current situation is very new and this is obvious by its complete lack of organization. The hostel was very proficient at solving problems however there were just too many problems that were either solved with us or still need solving in the future.

Firstly we booked a twin private ensuite. This means that two people should be placed in a private room with a completely private bathroom as stated when making the booking. The hostel didn’t seem to understand this when we checked in and placed us in a private room in a house two blocks away with a shared bathroom. We have no problems sharing bathrooms however it was the principle of our booking that made us raise this with the staff. In fairness to the staff member she handled it very well as did the manager who the next day then put us in a private ensuite. The problems from the first night however were not over when we picked up the linen on the bed. A lady with long blonde hair must have been malting because there was half of her head left on the supposedly clean pillow case, we hand to single handily pick off the pillow case about 30 long blonde hairs. It was truly disgusting.

The rest of the stay was somewhat ok however the cleaners laundry facilities happened to be in our room (yes our room). This was truly bizarre and became somewhat annoying when they were continuously coming in and out to do the laundry and not bothering to close the door when they left.

A couple of final disappointments about this hostel before I do mention a few positives were the free pancakes. Don’t be fooled, YES they are free and yes you do have to make them yourself, all fine; however be prepared to lose about 45 minutes of your day waiting to get onto the pancake maker. The queue was somewhat ridiculous and we found some of the guests to be extremely inconsiderate and not respecting any other people waiting to make pancakes. Would have been better for one of the staff members to make a few large volumes of pancakes on the o’clock to avoid this irritation. Finally the hostel only allows you to use their own locks on lockers yet they have free internet access. Seems silly to me as a traveller backpacking with a netbook and his own lock. Chargeable internet whilst being able to use your own locks would be better for me and probably more cost effective for the hostel.

This hostel does have some positives and one of them is certainly its location. Although this hostel is situated four metro stops from the city centre of Chicago it is extremely close to the Metro stop. The location of the hostel was certainly filled with lots of bars and restaurants. Eating and nightlife were excellent surrounding this hostel and the area was very safe and friendly. The common room although we didn’t experience it was pretty cool with a big opened planned area although didn’t feel very cosy.

The staff I felt were very friendly and although our stay was riddled with problems they were professional and respectful. If this hostel sorts out the plenty of organisational issues which the current manager seems capable of doing and the hygiene levels i.e linen are checked before given out then this hostel has the potential to be a really cool place to stay and would be worth recommending!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Chris P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviewed June 11, 2012

I had high hopes booking this hostel for my summer getaway to Chicago, but ended up being frustrated and disappointed in this property. While there were several strong advantages, such as location, cleanliness and price (we stayed at a premium time of the summer with several large festivals going on at the same time), these failed to outweigh the drawbacks at IHSP. These included but were not limited to: poor airconditioning, lack of natural light in many of the rooms, a poor-quality breakfast and the lack of any common-space/kitchen facilities at the secondary location. Our room was a tiny little attic space with no window and nearly non-existent air-con. This meant we woke each morning groggy, uncomfortable and wishing for a breeze. Because of the lack of common facilities (lounge area, kitchen) at the secondary location, we found ourselves eating out and spending more money than planned. The "full breakfast" included in the price of our stay, which consisted of all-you-can-eat pancakes and nothing else was no help whatsoever and went unused. When I stay at a hostel I bank on saving significantly on food, which didn't happen this time around. All of this said, the primary location did provide travellers with useful area information, such as cheap eats in the area. While the location could not have been better for our purposes, this factor alone was unable to disuade me from rating the property average at best. For a few dollars more and infinitely better services and amenities, try the HI hostel in the Loop.

Room Tip: If fresh air and natural sunlight are important to you, make sure to request a room with a window, t...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank KatieJ48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 11, 2012

There are two ways of looking at this place. One is that it's a pretty good value and kind of amusing if you're 20 and in town for a rock concert. In fact, for that crowd it must be kind of fun ... there were plenty of smiling young people sitting around flirting with one another ... and I recommend it for them. The other way of looking at it is if you're over, say, 25, and want a little comfort (such as a "suite" with more in it than a bed, a folding chair, and a cranky TV, and want to go to the communal bathroom in the morning without vomit in the sink, and don't care about the people sleeping on the sidewalk outside). Or the spotty wifi. Or the fact that the door isn't marked and is right next to a scary-looking underpass of some sort. Or that the free breakfast consists of a hot plate on which you can make your own pancakes.

But the proprietors have severely oversold it. It's not a "hotel" by any stretch of the imagination. Some of the photos on its site are, shall we say, imaginative. It calls itself the IHSP Chicago Hotel, and it ain't. It's a crash pad. If you're 20 and in town to see your favorite band and want a cheap place to stay, by all means go.

Room Tip: Tell them you can good a room in the Loop for $99 (during the week) and you get your own bathroom. T...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MikeJ J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed June 7, 2012 via mobile

I stayed here for three nights at the start of a travelling period. I was welcomed by a man who did not usually work there, regardless of that he knew what he was talking about, gave me a great tour and was very knowledgable about the local area. My room was of very high quality for a hostel, there was hardly ever a queue for the bathroom and it is a 5 minute walk from the metro. Aside from having to climb 4 flights of stairs to get to my room, I loved my stay and would highly recommend it to someone visiting Chicago on a budget.

  • Stayed May 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tardis44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed May 23, 2012

Needed to find last minute accommodations for a short overnight before a very early morning flight. IHSP is conveniently located one block from the Damen stop on the Blue Line which goes straight to O'Hare (about 20 minutes day or night). Beds comfy, lots of amenities, secure, clean, pleasant and helpful staff. Oh - and even a very funky rooftop deck! Very interesting neighborhood with lots of restaurants and shops. You have to pay a deposit for your key and for towels but you get it back. Also, we took the Blue line from Amtrak to the hostel (about six stops) and they took the cost of our fares off the bill ("free shuttle"). Nearby Flash Taco ($4 burritos on Tuesdays) was a great quick low cost meal. I was able to get a ONE day CTA pass (a great deal) from the Currency Exchange one block from the hostel (on W North Ave). You can only get three and seven day passes from the CTA station. They are still building and remodeling. Add IHSP to HI-Chicago as great values for Chicago travelers.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank cathyvm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cincinnati
Level 6 Contributor
55 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed May 5, 2012

I booked a room for 5(wife and three kids) with private bath over the extended Easter weekend. The big attraction was a)new facility b)private bath/room c)free garage parking d)trying something new. We hopped in the car and drove 300 miles to Chicago, stopped first at the Navy Pier to have an enjoy lunch and an afternoon touristy experience.

We soon headed to the IHSP. It took a little bit of effort to find the place and i dropped my wife off on the curb to check-in, since there was nowhere to park within blocks. I soon received a call on my cel from her stating that we weren't staying in that location (???) but, instead, one a little ways away. And without private bath.

I was very, very, very, very clear upon my pre-reservation conversation with staff that a private bath was absolutely essential. I was guaranteed i had said room after making a small deposit. (which was processed through an Italian merchant, which caused my bank's credit card department to place a block on my account for possible fraud). I asked my wife to immediately stop checking in and return to the street downstairs.

i made a quick call to a boutique hotel in The Loop who bent over backwards to provide our family free upgrades, two suites! I've always stayed at that particular location (and will be bringing seven couples there in August) and i admittedly had buyer's remorse for booking a room at another merchant in town. My wife read the online reviews of IHSP on the way to CHI and she was very concerned that we'd receive even clean towels and shower access. I told her not to worry, i was personally guaranteed this would go smoothly.

i contacted the hotel mgmt via email almost one week ago. I waited a couple weeks after our trip to chill and present them a non-emotional, factually based recap of our experience. no reply. I thoroughly expected to at least be contacted, but i guess i don't really have any skin in this game. I'm clearly never going to return to IHSP and I would strongly recommend others seek alternate accomodations in Chicago.

I could probably get a solo individual on a tight budget or a traveling student booking a room here. a family? just skip it, gang.

in retrospect we had an amazing time downtown visiting the parks and the attractions, going to a game at Wrigley via the Red Line, eating Pizano's pizza (Best in the world, thin crust) and drinking Intelligentsia Coffee (also amazing). Sure it cost 2x more than i had budgeted but at the end of the day it was a great trip.

Room Tip: Book somewhere else?
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank tup30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about IHSP Chicago Hostel

Property: IHSP Chicago Hostel
Address: 1616 N.Damen, 2. Floor, Chicago, IL 60647
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Northwest Side
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 58 Specialty Lodging in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — IHSP Chicago Hostel 2*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Wicker Park is one of the best neighborhoods in Chicago for nightlife, restaurants, bars and shopping. Downtown is great for sightseeing but Wicker Park is where you will want to spend all your time. Take a look at our video and see how good our location is. You can literally see the trains on the Blue Line pass by a block away. Wicker Park is the hippest place in Chicago and is only 2 stops from the City Center and 5 stops from the Willis (Sears) Tower and Union Station. Our location and hostel is awesome and we know it! Come stay with us and you will see! Less than a 2 minute walk from the Damen Stop on the Blue line. We are not one of those hostels that charges you for everything, you will feel at home here. WE DO NOT ACCEPT LOCAL GUEST. YOU MUST HAVE PASSPORT OR OUT OF TOWN ID *Please note that our parking is very limited and must be reserved in advance. Our parking is $10/night +tax for each car. United States Citizens: You must have a student ID and a travel itinerary to stay in the dorm rooms. Maximum Stay in Dorm Beds: 7 days per month Maximum Stay in Private Rooms: 14 days per month If you would like to stay in our dorms: you must have and show at check in: a current student ID with travel itinerary and/or a current foreign passport. Check in is at 2 PM (1400 hours) on your booked arrival date. *16.4 % Tax is not included in the room rate and due upon arrival You must be 18 years old or older to stay in this hostel. Bring cash for a 2% discount! ... more   less 
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