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As Wicker Park's New Hotels Near Opening Day, Here's What You Should Know

By Alisa Hauser | November 16, 2016 9:53am | Updated on November 16, 2016 10:56am

WICKER PARK —  Boutique hotels The Robey and The Hollander are scheduled to open on Nov. 30 at the Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues intersection in Wicker Park/Bucktown.

The debut will bring two vintage buildings back to life, while offering shops, restaurants, bars and dramatic skyline views from the upper floors of The Robey.

Both hotels are from Grupo Habita, which operates 14 hotels in Mexico as well as New York City's Hotel Americano.

Here's what you need to know about The Robey, 2018 W. North Ave. and The Hollander, 2022 W. North Ave.

What do the names, The Robey and The Hollander, mean? 

Robey was the name for Damen Avenue during the 1890s, but it was changed to Damen in 1927. Two years later, the art deco, 12-story Northwest Tower, the first skyscraper to be built outside of the Loop, was constructed. The triangular structure hugs Milwaukee and North avenues and towers over Damen. Naming the hotel in the Northwest tower The Robey pays homage to the area's past.

 A Queen bed in The Robey.
A Queen bed in The Robey.
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Adrian Gaut/Courtesy of Grupo Habita.

The Hollander draws its name from the historic Hollander Fireproof warehouse, a 27,000-square-foot, five-story industrial building adjacent to the tower that was built in the early 1900s.

How many rooms are there?

The Robey has 69 rooms; the unique "triangular footprint" in the Northwest tower allows for tons of natural light, according to its website. Rates start at $175 per night.

The Hollander offers 20 rooms, eight of which are "shared" and offer both queen-sized and twin beds for families and small groups. "Social Stays" in The Hollander's shared rooms start at $45 per night and the 12 private rooms start at $165.

When do both hotels open?  Reservations begin on Nov. 30.

What are the amenities for The Robey and what sort of traveler is it geared to? With 400-thread sheets, WiFi, swimming pool access, soft denim robes and felt slippers, The Robey is "aimed to independent and global travelers, looking for good architecture,  design, comfort and authenticity," said Grupo Habita managing partner Carlos Couturier.

What are the amenities for The Hollander and what sort of traveler is it geared to?

A coffee shop run by Metric Coffee with a grab-and-go menu, a bike repair and rental shop — Banker Supply Co. — are available to guests as well as to the public. Couturier describes The Hollander as a "high end hostel" that is "geared to travelers that appreciate design but are budget conscious." The guests can choose to be virtually "social" by sharing their Instagram account when booking their shared room or the private one.

What are the restaurants and bars that are part of the hotel? When do each open or aim to open?

Cafe Robey, a French American bistro on the ground floor of The Robey and "Up & Up," a 35-seat rooftop bar atop The Robey, are slated to open to the public on Nov 30. Passersby have noticed folks in the cafe over this past week, however those events are private training events.

The second floor lounge above Cafe Robey, "Cafe Robey Upstairs" offers free Wifi, drinks and wall-to-wall windows overlooking the hustle and bustle of the intersection. The lounge is open to the public from 8 a.m. to midnight daily and will be the setting for two upcoming holiday parties.

The Hollander cafe and social space is open to the public and will serve "a creative hot dog menu," Couturier says. The cafe will open on Nov. 30.

Opening this spring: an outdoor rooftop pool atop The Hollander and which wraps around the back western side of The Robey, for hotel guests only—  and an open-to-public "Cabana Club" bar.

The pool on the 6th floor. [Nicolas Schuybroek Architects & Marc Mercks Interiors/Courtesy of Grupo Habita]

Is the hospitality and dining complex ADA accessible?

All public spaces in the hotel are ADA accessible. The Robey has four ADA accessible rooms and The Hollander has one ADA accessible room.

What are the parts of each hotel that the public and neighborhood folks will enjoy?

All public spaces of both hotels are open to neighbors and general public but the "Up & Up," serves priority first to hotel guests and their friends. The Up & Up offers 35 seats and has a standing capacity for 75 patrons.

In addition to the Sprint store, are there other retailers onsite?

Le Labo, a French perfume brand based in Paris will set up shop later this year, joining Sprint at 1624 N. Milwaukee Ave. and the forthcoming Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Bankers Supply Co. bike repair and rental shop.

Is there any parking for hotel guests?

There are 36 parking spaces for hotel guests.

What are the websites, phone numbers and hours of operation for each hotel and restaurant?

The Robey website; 872-315-3050.

Cafe Robey, 872-315-3084. Hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

"Cafe Robey Upstairs" hours are 8 a.m. to midnight daily.

Up & Up, 872-315-3082; Hours are 5 p.m. to midnight daily.

The Hollander website, 872-315-3080.

The Hollander Cafe hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. 

Some fun facts:

Grupo Habita executives previously said that the The Robey and The Hollander will add 122 jobs to the neighborhood.

Convexity Properties, the hotel's developer, worked with Pepper Construction and a small army of contractors over nearly three years to redevelop the buildings, adding hundreds of construction jobs. Developers from Convexity Properties first shared their vision for turning the former office building into a hotel in Oct. 2013.

The Walgreens at 1601 N. Milwaukee Ave., in a former bank building across from The Robey and The Hollander, was also redeveloped by Convexity Properties. 

The adaptive reuse of the former Noel State Bank into a Walgreens, which opened in 2012, received one of Landmarks of Illinois' prestigious Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards for 2013, Our Urban Times reported.

The original drawings from architecture firm Perkins, Chatten & Hammond, which designed the tower, are framed and displayed in The Robey.

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