Hotel review

The Zachary Hotel in Chicago

Baseball doesn’t interest me much. In fact, I don’t think I can name a single MLB player right now. But I to like go to baseball games. While basketball probably has a better claim to being “America’s pastime” in 2022, baseball games are even more fun (and better able to rival the home TV experience. constantly improving). And even as someone who doesn’t follow sports, there are certain places where you yearn to see someone hit a dinger or chase a fly ball at least once – AT&T Park (Giants Stadium in SF), Fenway in Boston, Yankee Stadium, and, foremost among these, Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

Like a day at the county fair, seeing a game at Wrigley satisfies a very specific Americana itch. You’re sitting right in the heart of the country, at the start of Route 66, taunting hitters like Cam in Ferris Bueller’s day off — it transcends sports and crosses into the much cooler space of a “community hangout” where knowing not to have ketchup on your hot dog is as culturally important as knowing who is throwing. And with the opening of the Zachary Hotel just opposite the stadium in 2019, this unique experience is now worthy of a full Chi weekend.

I stayed at the Zachary in Fall 21 (full disclosure, the Cubs were playing in Louisville during my trip) and fell in love with the property. Not just for its proximity to Wrigley, but for the amenities, the scene in nearby Wrigleyville, and the food and bar options. Here is my overview of this extremely stylish new “hotel we love”.

WHY IT’S GREAT:

Hotel Zachary

Well, let’s talk about that closeness first. I stayed in a 4th floor suite and the famous Wrigley sign was literally steps away. I shouted “it’s right there!” probably 40 times (and I was left alone!). But a hotel that leans into baseball in a cheesy way would piss me off, because sports fans are never really stylish and often anti-sexy (I’m all for wearing a jersey with a nacho cheese stain on it). the front, but it’s not the energy I expect from a hotel).

Instead of overdoing baseball, Hotel Zachary puts the spotlight on stadium architect Zachary Taylor Davis and features 1914 sketches and renderings as part of the design. The rest of the interior retains that “big city in the industrial revolution” vibe — with lots of iron, a wall covered in drawers to hold blueprints, and lamppost-style light fixtures. The chambers feel equally sturdy, strong, and built to last. My suite featured a huge velvet sofa that I spent hours reclining on, a beautiful bookcase full of large, heavy volumes on early Chicago, and a living area and balcony large enough to accommodate a small cocktail party before or after. the game.

So what makes it cool? That aforementioned proximity to Wrigley combined with the 1920s style of downtown Chicago hotels. Plus, there are so many good options to eat and drink it’s really ridiculous (that’s what happens when 40,000 people descend on the neighborhood several times a week).

FOOD AND DRINK ON HOUSE:

orichette pasta
Via MORDECAI

Mordecai — based on the hotel’s ground floor, with a street-side entrance and a distinct (if similar) personality — hails from Michelin-starred chef Jared Wentworth. Food and cocktails are thoughtful, inspired, and refined kinds of comfort foods that are often labeled “New American.” The thing is, we’re talking about flavors you’re sure to recognize with a style and sophistication that will push the ball game crowd a little bit further. The orichette and braised prime rib I ordered definitely looked like it could be found on other menus around town, but it was also creamy, buttonier than the menu gives it credit for, and deeply satisfying. .

The cocktail menu was equally elevated and a few clicks more inspired. The Mordecai Toddy made with brandy and rum milk punch is a must.

If going down to Mordecai is a bit too far (it’s literally downstairs), Hotel Zachary’s bar is located in the spacious second-floor lobby. The food is very solid, the charcuterie is strong, and the drinks are mixed in a wide open bar by very cheerful (and solidly competent) staff. Often, hotel bar drinks become too sweet to appeal to the candy-hungry American public. That’s no problem here – the options are well balanced and the menu takes some clever twists while referencing plenty of classics.

Everyone on the team can do an old-school solid, which should be a bar requirement across the country.

APPROVALS:

  • free WIFI
  • accepted animals
  • 24-hour gym and fitness center
  • Public workspaces
  • Room service
  • Free coffee/tea
  • Dry cleaning service
  • Wake-up services
  • Service on request

ROOM TYPES:

the zachary room
The Zacharie Hotel
  • Queen
  • King (with and without court view)
  • Double Queen (with and without court view)
  • Baseball Stadium Junior Suite
  • Ball Park Loft Suite
  • Marquee Suite

It drives me crazy when one room’s handcrafted decor is repeated endlessly throughout the hotel. Even if you don’t see any other rooms, you to feel this genericity. The Zachary avoids all that, impressive for a hotel owned by a massive parent company (Marriott). The decor is original and unique to each room (I visited five in total). The shape of larger rooms also gives off this vibe, as the rooms are tailored to accommodate the space against a static floor plan.

There are of course giant flat screens in each room. Some rooms have baths, although my junior suite did not – a bummer, tbh. Perhaps the best advantage of the rooms is the furnishings. As mentioned, my sofa was absolutely stellar (and huge!) and made this property feel like a place that had invested heavily in bedroom comforts.

THE BEST THING TO DO WITHIN A 15 MINUTE WALK:

This is not a discussion. If the Cubs are in town, go see a game. It’s fun, easy, and affordable, and brings lots of people to the Wrigleyville area. And it’s not a 15 minute walk, it’s literally 0.5 minutes. Cross a street and you are there!

When the game is over (or, more realistically given the crowds, any other downtime segment), head back across the street to Swift & Sons (again, we’re talking to a few steps from the hotel entrance). This oyster bar is a must – one of the best places to enjoy an oyster platter in all of Chicago, with very knowledgeable staff and great cocktails on offer. The “Know Thyself” is a very moody black tea-based rum cocktail that nails the “Chi-Town spin on a dark rum drink.”

BEST THING TO DO/EAT/DRINK ON A $20 CABIN TRIP:

Chicago bean
Unsplash

It’s tricky and really depends on how often you visit Chicago. If you go often enough where it’s possible to spend a full weekend in Wrigleyville, do so – there’s definitely enough to keep you entertained. Dining options abound.

If you only visit Chicago occasionally, you’ll want to head downtown. The bean. Lake. The food. And all that. (Also, jazz. And blues.)

The settings here are quite forgiving as a 20 minute cab ride can get you a lot in Chicago. Have you been to Petit Cheval? We named it the best burger in the country (Lena Waithe co-signed) – so…you should probably try it.

Plus, The Underground, Kit Kat Lounge, I|O Godfrey, and TAO—the Chicago club matches NYC and LA. If you like going out, be sure to get out while you’re in the Windy City.

BED SET:

hotel bed
Hotel Zachary

It’s a place where The Zachary really thrives. The thread count is very high – there’s none of that starchy, often bleached, slightly scratchy thing you get with mid-level sheets. Best of all, the pillows are soft without feeling thin and fluffy without feeling bouncy (you know those pillows that always feel like they’re trying to hold up against the weight of your head?).

These pillows have the “melting” effect of a good pillow and while I’m sure they aren’t down (just not tenable for a high traffic hotel) they are an excellent synthetic.

Evaluation: 9/10

SEXUAL ASSESSMENT:

A delicate! These sofas are on fire and the beds are perfect. There are cool bars and restaurants everywhere. The lobby is spacious and fun.

That said, it’s not such a scene that you’re going to run into someone in the hotel bar (you could, but it’s less likely than, say, The Williamsburg). Also, any place that allows kids is downgraded slightly on the sexiness scale, and I’m writing this as someone who has kids. More tubs would also be a boost here, as would room service.

However, these large velvet sofas…

Evaluation: 7/10

SPOTS VIEWS & PHOTOS:

Court View Hotel Suite
Hotel Zachary

I’m not trying to stress this too much, but come on. It’s great for IRL and great IG fodder, if you like that sort of thing. And while the view of the pitch is amazing, what’s even better is leaning out on the balcony as the crowd disperses after a big win.

It’s both a dental floss and a chance for world-class spectators.

Evaluation: 9/10

BEST SEASON TO VISIT:

drop in chicago
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“Summertime Chi” is great, as Kanye said, but early fall is even better. Go in September when the weather is on your side but the leaves are starting to change. If the Cubs are still in the pennant race, the game will carry a whole new energy.

IF I HAVE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT ONE THING:

chicago theater
Unsplash

While 20 minutes will get you downtown just fine, it can be quite expensive Uber at peak times and there are no super direct trains. That means it can be a bit of a mission – not crazy but definitely not something you’ll want to do twice a day (morning activity and evening dinner and clubs) if you’re short on time or on a tight budget.

None of this is the hotel’s fault, of course, and I see a few ways to play this:

  • Book a hotel downtown for a weekend, then head to Wrigleyville for a Monday or Tuesday game and dinner on Sunday. It’s an amazing four day trip with two different hotels.
  • Stay in Wrigleyville for your entire trip – it has its own bars etc.
  • Allow a few hundred for Uber and don’t worry.

BOOK HERE:

Weekend rates for a month seem to hover around $240 for a queen or king room to $1,200 for the Marquee Suite. The junior suite I stayed in is very reasonably priced at $460 a night.

See prices here

INSTAGRAM IMAGES TAKEN AT HOTEL ZACHARY:



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