On Monday, the 20-room Hollander hostel (2022 W. North Ave., Wicker Park), adjacent to the Robey Chicago hotel officially changed its name to Robey Hall. Though the move may seem hasty given both Wicker Park properties only just opened in November, it does mark a significant change in direction: No longer a hostel offering both shared and private rooms, the newly coined Robey Hall is transforming into a full-fledged hotel with only private rooms.
“It’s something we talked about since the opening,” Jared Johnson, director of sales and marketing for both the Robey and Robey Hall, tells Chicago. Johnson says the change wasn’t about poor performance, given Hollander had occupancy rates at 80-plus percent this past February and March, a time of year when most Chicago hotels are feeling the chill of winter. “It came down to one thing, and that’s really what was selling: private rooms.”
Named for the 1905 warehouse in which it stands, the Hollander originally opened with eight shared rooms for up to six guests and 12 private rooms. The intent was to deliver a cool, industrial-inspired hostel geared toward millennials seeking a more social experience. This was to contrast the neighboring Robey, a 2017 Best of Chicago pick with its 69 private rooms, none of which offer anything larger than a single queen or king bed.
What it ended up creating was confusion between the two properties, with private rooms in both properties, shared rooms in only one, and, depending on time of year, not much of a price difference per person. (When the Hollander opened, it charged $125 for a private room and $45 for a shared room spot. The Robey originally charged just $135 a night, though that has gone up due to the summer season and its popularity.)
Mexico-based Grupo Habita, who manages both properties, is in the process of renovating Robey Hall’s eight shared rooms into private rooms. These will represent more of the same three types already available: one queen with a single, two queens, and one queen with two doubles. The hotel will remain open during the renovation, with all rooms expected to be complete by October 15.
With its new name and focus on serving larger groups, Robey Hall may be better positioned to serve as a sister hotel. As before, the properties will collectively offer four bars (including Robey Hall’s street-level H! Bar, revamped this June), one restaurant, a rooftop pool—and, now, 89 private hotel rooms.
Rates at Robey Hall start at $150 and will float at around $30 less than the Robey, where average rates currently start at $175.
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