It can be hard to find a reasonable place to stay in Chicago. Big name hotels are mostly downtown, and Airbnb choices run the gamut on acceptability. The Flats at Loyola Station offer a great alternative to both these options. They are located in the northern part of the city, near Wrigley stadium and lots of other great neighborhoods like Lakeview and Andersonville, providing an experience of the city that is distinct from normal touristy hangouts.
The Flats is a student-run business, one of five that the undergraduates run year-round at Loyola University. That fact might scare some people off but the truth is that the Flats are managed with precise, cleanliness and a welcoming attitude true to the college’s founding Jesuit principles. (Several coupons also await you for the Loyola College businesses run by the students, like a free pizza at a local pizzeria).
Each one-bedroom and two-bedroom “suite” is a former condo, in a building just steps from the Loyola L train stop. This means that that each space is more like a tiny apartment than a hotel room and more modern, sleek and well-kept than an Airbnb. The kitchens come fully stocked with utensils and cooking apparatus as well as wine openers, vegetable peelers, colanders, in short anything you might need to make a full meal for yourself during your stay. Each has a full refrigerator and a complete oven and stove, along with kitchen island, fully furnished living room, large-screen TVs and a good stereo system. Our recommended rooms are those with small balconies out front that, especially during a Chicago summer, are a delight for sharing a glass of wine or enjoying dinner. Each room has a slightly different decorative style but all share the same great amenities. One-bedroom suites start at 160usd and two-bedrooms at 230usd.
Two-bedroom suites are great for families as the rooms are on separate ends of suite and give everyone their privacy. Linens are high quality, bath products as well, and each suite includes a washer/dryer set — great for extended stays. The suites are available for longer-term rental but the average stay is less than a week. During the winter you will find lots of students’ families visiting but summer brings folks from all over to enjoy the summer in the city. The lake is only a few minutes walking but many of the northern beaches are private so it’s easier to find public access further south. Steps from your front door are various restaurants, coffeeshops and a CVS which is stocked with any last-minute items that you might need.
As previously mentioned, the Flats are just steps from the Loyola L train stop and therefore super convenient for getting downtown (which will take you about 45 minutes on the red line) or enjoying some of the surrounding northern neighborhoods. There is no traditional front desk at the Flats and the suites function more as a do-it-yourself check-in and out. You receive detailed information about how to access the building and your room as soon as you book and their 24-hour hotline number is posted in various places throughout the building. Unlike many of Chicago’s older buildings, the Flats has an elevator so it’s easy for anyone with mobility issues. Free parking is available for guests as well as bike rental and a Ventra card (the Chicago Transit System card that will get you on all manner of buses and trains in the city) upon request.
The student staff at the Flats is willing to help and easy to reach about any questions you might have about your stay or the city. For a group of young people running a hotel, we found them to be endlessly attentive and professional. So, if you are in the city and looking for an alternative to staying as a nameless guest in a big-brand hotel or in someone’s dingy apartment, the Flats at Loyola Station are a great option north of the loop.