// HOS­TEL TAKEOVER!

WITH A CROP OF HAUTE HOS­TELS OPEN­ING THEIR DOORS TO CHICAGO, THE CITY’S HOS­PI­TAL­ITY SCENE GETS AN EDGY RE­SET.

Michigan Avenue - - CONTENTS - BY STEPHEN OSTROWSKI

The city’s hos­pi­tal­ity scene gets an edgy re­set, as a crop of haute hos­tels has opened their doors in Chicago.

Hos­tels typ­i­cally call to mind fru­gal Eurotrips, and with good rea­son: com­mu­nal space, limited pri­vacy, and anony­mous bunk­mates aren’t typ­i­cal hall­marks of the jet set. But with en­ter­pris­ing hote­liers de­but­ing el­e­vated-bute­co­nom­i­cal com­peti­tors to al­ready-es­tab­lished play­ers, Chicago’s grow­ing hos­tel scene is sud­denly at­tract­ing some of the trendi­est trav­el­ers in town.

WEST SIDE CHIC

With The Hol­lan­der, Grupo Habita (the de­sign mav­er­ick be­hind buzzy spots like Ho­tel Amer­i­cano in New York) lends its au­teur touch to Wicker Park’s Six Cor­ners, con­vert­ing the in­ter­sec­tion’s iconic Hol­lan­der Fire­proof Ware­house into a stylish ho­tel/hos­tel op­tion, fea­tur­ing eight shared rooms laced with lithe bunks and spare-but-sharp pri­vate bath­rooms, all with a less-is-more phi­los­o­phy that in­cluded pre­serv­ing as much of the build­ing’s orig­i­nal de­sign as pos­si­ble. “All the orig­i­nal brick and the orig­i­nal walls are there,” notes Jared John­son, the prop­erty’s di­rec­tor of sales and mar­ket­ing. “And it’s just raw—by de­fault, it comes across as very el­e­gant.” To wit: the build­ing’s lofty, street-level cof­fee shop, H! Bar, begs to

be In­sta­grammed—whether you’re from out of town or just a cu­ri­ous lo­cal. 2022 W. North Ave., 872315-3080; the­hol­lan­der.com

RIVER NORTH RE­HAB

On the heels of hos­tel-chic des­ti­na­tions Hol­i­day Jones in Wicker Park and Ur­ban Hol­i­day Lofts in Bucktown, de­vel­oper Robert Baum has ex­panded his port­fo­lio with Field­house Jones, an am­bi­tious over­haul of the long-shut­tered Bor­den Dairy De­pot that hon­ors the city’s tra­di­tion of field house as com­mu­nity hub. “Our goal was to take that sort of feel of the essence of Chicago and bring it into mod­ern times,” says Baum, who tapped lo­cal firm Bu­gaj Ar­chi­tects to fur­bish the 53-room struc­ture with luxe ac­cou­trements like Restora­tion Hard­ware bath­room fix­tures and a com­mu­naluse, stain­less steel demo kitchen. True to its ath­let­i­cally in­spired name­sake, flour­ishes like vin­tage dart boards pep­per the com­mon ar­eas, and the lobby wows with a me­an­der­ing chain of 400-plus ten­nis rack­ets, an in­stal­la­tion by lo­cal Chicago artist Christophe Gaus­parro. 312 W. Chest­nut St., 312-291-9922; field­house­jones.com

DOWN­TOWN DIGS

The grand­daddy of hip Chicago hos­tels, Free­hand opened in River North in 2015, paving the path for the city’s af­ford­ably stylish hos­pi­tal­ity trend—and since more than half of the in­ven­tory is tra­di­tional ho­tel-style rooms, shared-room guests en­joy ameni­ties that aren’t stan­dard at con­ven­tional hos­tels (think: 24-hour desk ser­vice and on-site house­keep­ing). Plus, at lobby-level mixol­ogy des­ti­na­tion Bro­ken Shaker, hos­tel vis­i­tors can mix with Chicagoans and the sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hood at large. Ob­serves GM Emilia Merchen, “Guests at the ho­tel get that lo­cal ex­pe­ri­ence with­out hav­ing to travel far.” 19 E. Ohio St., 312-940-3699; free­hand ho­tels.com/chicago

Bou­tique, so chic (ƜƤƧƜƤƯƢƬƞ ƟƫƨƦ ƥƞɵƭ): The check-in desk; café of­fer­ings; and a king room at River North hot spot Free­hand Chicago, which kicked off the city’s bou­tique hos­tel trend in a big way.

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