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Heart O' Chicago Motel
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Reviews (160)
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Reviewed 6 January 2012

Pluses are: 1) the location if you want to be centered near the popular Andersonville area 2) under $100 for a clean room (and not a "hooker motel") in Chicago is pretty good 3) the free parking with easy in/out (we've stayed at many popular hotels in the northside of Chicago but have always had to deal with valets or complex restricted parking lots)
Minuses are 1) subpar continental b-fast (donuts, muffins, cereal) 2) bad TV (basically just local over the air and a movie channel) 3) rather unreliable wi-fi (usually OK but at least once or twice everyday would drop out for a few minutes at a time) 4) no in-room coffee (we brought a small Bodum water kettle and Mellita filter) or hair dryer (brought our own)

Room Tip: Don't know if an upstairs room would be better, but the intersection of Ridge and Peterson can be noisy (especially if a Fire truck/Paramedic truck goes by). Also, if approaching from the south, come up on Ravenswood (took us a few days to figure that out!).
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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5  Thank HardBop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2011

I was in town for Riot Fest in early October 2011 and stayed at the Heart o' Chicago for 5 nights. I can echo the positive comments from all of these reviews and dismiss the few negative ones simply by stating-- this ain't the Ritz-Carlton, so what did you expect? Yes, the last renovation was probably in the 80s but everything is SO clean, what does it matter? The tremendous positive aspects of this funky little gem in the middle of the city far outweigh my one complaint: the air conditioner took several hours to cool down. It was unseasonably warm in Chicago for October, however, so this was a very small concern and the room was very comfortable after it cooled off.

Back to the positives, the cleanliness of the room was impressive and we got fresh sheets and towels daily. The FREE parking included with your room is a huge plus and the lot is walled in on all sides so that the desk clerk can easily view who is coming and going (which is great for safety). The neighborhood is very nice and it seems pretty obvious that the motel owners are working hard to maintain a tasteful presence in the community. There is a little bar across the street which I didn't have a chance to visit but the 24-hour White Castle a block away is perfect for late-night munchies. The continental breakfast is a simple donuts-coffee-cereal offering but I couldn't complain. Again, this place is VERY inexpensive and the free parking totally makes up for not having a huge smorgasbord or extensive toiletries in the bathroom (soap and shampoo are all ya get!).

Fearless travelers and those with a sense of humor will LOVE the Heart o' Chicago and marvel at what a terrific value it is, just as I did. People wishing for a 5-star experience will naturally be disappointed so do yourself a favor and stay away if you are overly sensitive or just unrealistic. I found the fellow at the front desk to be a bit quiet but so what? Privacy seems to be encouraged here and I had no troubles at all with noise from any of the other guests or the traffic out front.

After 2 decades of visiting the city at various times, I wish I knew about this place years ago! The free parking alone puts it ahead of so many hotels in Chicago that I can honestly say I'll never stay anywhere else in Chicago now that I've found it! What a great bargain and what a cool neighborhood! Thanks Heart o' Chicago! I'll be back!

Room Tip: Even the smoking rooms smelled clean and fresh. Bonus!
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Mark P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2011

We were visiting for parents' weekend at DePaul. The two other hotels we've stayed at in the past were sky high ($190 or more per night). We decided to give this one a try. While it wasn't the worst hotel by far, there were enough negatives for us that we probably won't stay there again. In fact, if we'd been in town more than the two day weekend, we probably would have looked for alternate lodging for the remainder of the trip.

Good things:

1. The hotel room was very clean and a nice size.
2. The water pressure was good in the shower.
3. The beds were comfortable.

Not so good things:

1. It was very noisy as someone mentioned. (Our neighbor was talking on the phone and it souonded like he was sitting in bed next to us... the noises from the busy street and people coming and going at all hours were just as bad.)
2. The friendliness of the staff was spotty. The gentleman I made the reservation with and the one who greeted us when we arrived (possibly the same guy) was friendly enough and helpful. My fiancee called and talked to a "grumpy old man" who exclaimed, "For crying out loud!" when she couldn't understand what L stop to get off on to get to the hotel and asked him to spell it.
3. It's not as convenient to the L as we would prefer. Off the Thorndale stop, it's a 15-20 minutes walk. Using the Bryn Mawr stop (the one the hotel guy was trying to tell my fiancee), you either walk about 0.1 miles further or you transfer to the 84 bus.
4. The tub drain was a bit clogged so we were standing in ankle-deep water during our showers.
5. We had a furnace filter covering part of the ceiling by the bathroom.

On the amusing side, the television remote was tethered to the end table.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank ProComputerGeek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 September 2011

My motto for my stay at Heart o' Chicago would be «Dont worry, be happy». It is indeed a good motel for the money you pay. I was at this establishment for 5 nights as a base to visit Chicago. The welcome at the reception is not very warm but I got over it. The breakfast is ok: coffee and oatmeal is exactly what I eat in the morning at home. The size of the room is just about right. I did notice that the cleaning staff generously uses Febreeze which does camouflage other smells. I could not help thinking about the Febreeze commercial. The TV had about 15 channels but not CNN, Fox or MSNBC. The air conditioning went on and off at regular intervals and that took some time to get used to.
We left the car in the parking and used public transport during our stay. The neighborhood looks relatively safe. Going east, the lakeshore is about an half hour walk from the motel. To get downtown, we caught the number 22 bus going south on North Clark. This bus goes by Wrigley field stadium. You can also catch the Blue Man Group show at the corner of N. Halstead. Bus fare was $2.50 but it is more practical to buy a buspass at a local Walgreen. As far as food is concerned, there are a few local options withing walking distance. There is a White Castle burger joint at the corner of N. Clark and N. Ridge. On the opposite side of the street, behind a metal fence is a Filipino store called Unimart. During the day, until 7pm, they serve warm food, cafeteria style. If you want something a little bit more fancy, you will find, walking south from Unimart on N. Clark, a family restaurant called En-Thai-ce Rice and Noodle, which offers a nice variety of Thai dishes at a reasonable price.
Lastly, be nice and always remember to leave one or two dollars on the bed for the cleaning staff. ;)

Room Tip: If you book by telephone, ask for a first floor room if you dont want to walk up stairs...
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ParosMan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 September 2011

I have stayed at this motel several times over the years and most recently last week. When I visit Chicago I usually meet a friend and we spend the night hitting the clubs in the Halstead street area. We have been staying at this motel not because it is anything fancy but because of it's location and it is one of the most economical we could find in this area. The rooms are clean and adequate but the property is dated. On our last stay the lock on our door was difficult to operate and needed some repair. Make sure you bring your own toiletries because they offer very little. This is a high traffic area and we have never had any security problems. They do offer a free continental breakfast and free wifi which is nice. I do believe that they rent rooms by the week to locals however. On our last visit while having coffee in the breakfast room, a scruffy gentleman came into the counter to pay his rent. He was overheard complaining about one of the motel staff members and making somewhat threatening remarks. For our purposes, this hotel is fine since all we are looking for is a clean economical option where we can spend the night.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank funintheflsun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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