Smart Stay by

Hotel Lincoln

by Kristine Hansen
Exterior shot of Hotel Lincoln
Photo: Exterior shot of Hotel Lincoln / Courtesy of Hotel Lincoln
by Kristine Hansen
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The Kennison restaurant and bar
Photo: The Kennison restaurant and bar / Courtesy of Hotel Lincoln
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Lobby area at Hotel Lincoln
Photo: Lobby area at Hotel Lincoln / Courtesy of Hotel Lincoln
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Guest room
Photo: Guest room / Courtesy of Hotel Lincoln
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In recent years, Chicago’s boutique hotel scene has expanded beyond The Loop or River North and into some fantastic neighborhoods. One early example is the 184-room Hotel Lincoln, which opened in 2012. The hotel is right across from Lincoln Park (home to the Green City Market, a farmer’s market, as well as the Lincoln Park Zoo, which remains free to enter). Fido can come too, thanks to the hotel’s pet-friendly policy that folds in treats, a doggie travel kit, and a map of canine “hot spots.”

With a ground-floor restaurant (The Kennison) plus a diner-style coffee shop (Elaine’s Coffee Call) and a swanky rooftop bar and lounge (The J. Parker), Hotel Lincoln is about so much more than the rooms. (But we like those, too, especially the houndstooth pillows and emerald-green walls).

It's All in the Details

What You Need to Know

The Look

While part of the Joie de Vivre brand of hotels (a San Francisco-based hotel group), the interior décor is anything but cookie-cutter. The building spans 12 stories and, from the moment you enter at the street level, breathes eclectic sophistication that’s far from fussy. For example, twin tabletop lion sculptures; gold hand-painted lettering to indicate the coffee shop; or chrome bar-height chairs and orange leather booths at The Kennison, just off the lobby. 

Vintage-like black-and-white floor tile in the lobby spells out an inspiring message: “Whatever you are, be a good one” and is a popular Instagram spot. There's also a neon sign that reads, “All you need is love.”

In your guest room, a mini gallery wall of framed relics and local art contributes to a look the hotel calls “cozy but vintage.” Some rooms also come with a cornflower-blue or burgundy plush sofa — the perfect place to kick back with a book or catch up on your favorite shows. The bathrooms are complete with Jonathan Adler toiletries.

The Vibe

A mix of business and leisure travelers choose to book here thanks to the property's ample and stylish public spaces along with the several dining options on-site. Kick-off your stay with craft cocktails on the rooftop lounge (which is open year-round) and linger over coffee and pastries at Elaine’s Coffee Call before you check-out on Sunday. You're bound to spot locals here, too. 

Who Will Love It

In addition to business travelers and vacationers, a surprising target for this hotel is families — especially those who are culture seekers.  Nearby, there is the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Chicago History Museum. If you’re the kind of person who likes to stay in neighborhoods, Hotel Lincoln is your utopia and a fresh alternative to downtown hotels. Lake Shore Drive and the stunningly beautiful waterfront is also a short walk from the hotel. 

Who Will Not

If your ideal Chicago vacay is dancing in clubs until the wee hours of the morning, expect to pay hefty Uber or Lyft fares back to the hotel. This is not to say that you can’t close down a restaurant or bar in the neighborhood. Plenty of trending spots for dining and imbibing are within a mile of the hotel — some even closer. Also, if you need the high-tech fitness center, look elsewhere. While Hotel Lincoln does have a 24-hour fitness center, studio-level classes and state-of-the-art equipment aren’t the main draws.

Best Amenity

The rooftop bar and lounge, The J. Parker, is, hands down, the hotel’s best perk. In a  city with dozens of rooftop bars, this one is one of the best thanks to its location —which means you'll enjoy sweeping city views, sans any obstructions.

Money Matters

What’s Included

That pet-friendly amenity we mentioned above is free (but, dog room service costs extra). Also, Hotel Lincoln is part of the World of Hyatt program, which means you can collect (or redeem) points for your stay.

Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About

An additional $15 is tacked on per night for the “Guest Amenity Fee." Just like resort fees, this includes wifi in the guest room and public spaces, bottled water, and access to the fitness center. Guests will also enjoy one complimentary drink in the Kennison, preferred reservations at The Kinnison, and the ability to skip the line at The J. Parker (trust us, this is huge). There are also complimentary bicycle or pedicab rentals (seasonal). Discounted daily passes to Equinox are also available. If you are driving, know that valet parking costs $62 per night.

How to Get a Deal

Check the hotel's "specials" tab for seasonal and special packages. 

Getting There

This property is equidistant from Chicago’s two airports, O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Midway International Airport (MDW). A taxi to the hotel from one of the airports will cost around $20 and can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on traffic (more on this below). 

In the Neighborhood

In addition to the museums and zoo mentioned above, the Steppenwolf Theatre and The Second City (a comedy club that boasts famous alums like Steve Carell and Tina Fey) are both in the Lincoln Park area. 

Nearest Airport

You can take the L (Chicago's mass transportation system) from both O’Hare and Midway to get to the hotel. From Midway, hop the Orange Line. From O’Hare, take the Blue Line 20 minutes to Damen, followed by a 10-minute taxi ride. You can also ride the Blue Line to downtown Chicago, then transfer to the northbound #22 or #36 buses. Alternatively, hop in a taxi or use a ride-sharing service to get to the property.

Nearest Public Transit

Hotel Lincoln is about 30 and 45 minutes from downtown Chicago via the #22, #151, or #152 buses. By car, it’s about a 12-minute ride.

The Bottom Line

Straying from the pack (all those downtown, River North, and Loop hotels) can pay off with a hotel that gives you more for about the same price.

It's All in the Details