Midwest Living Magazine
Out & About: Getting inn-timate, by Karen Sorenson, June, 2011
A Gold Coast Gem. Leafy trees dapple shafts of sunlight on the row houses on Cedar Street, where the four-story Flemish House of Chicago Bed & Breakfast Apartments lets visitors live (for a few nights at least) in the chic Gold Coast, north of the Loop.
From the doorstep, Chicago unfolds like an exquisite tapestry. Visitors inevitably follow Lake Shore Drive south; within five minutes they're strolling the Magnificent Mile, shooting to the top of the John Hancock Center, shopping at Water Tower Place, admiring Oak Street Beach or catching a play at Looking-Glass Theatre in the Water Tower Pump Station. Head one block west of Water Tower and you're at State and Rush. The dozen-plus restaurants here include Gibson's Steakhouse, where piano players entertain nightly and patrons try turtle pie made with a praline crust.
Flemish House's come-and-go-as-you-please approach is a perfect fit; after a day of sight-seeing, you'll be happy that you can just let yourself in and curl up in bed. The pastel rooms have tall sash windows that look out on the streets or on a hidden garden, and four-posters topped with sumptuous mattresses make for a soft landing after a night on the town. Guests stay in one of seven guest suites (four are studios and three are one-bedroom apartments); a kitchen comes stocked with home-made muffins, yogurt, milk, cereal and fruit, so there's plenty to fuel up for a day in the city. From $175 (312/664-9981; innchicago.com).
“Urban Oases” by Karin Horgan Sullivan, May 2008
Staying at the city's large downtown hotels may leave the curious traveler impressed but still curious. Given that Chicago blankets 225 square miles, we sought out accommodations around the city for visitors seeking a different slice of Chicago—one more closely resembling everyday life here. We came up with five good places to stay—two small-scale hotels and three charming bed-and-breakfasts—all located in residential neighborhoods within striking distance of downtown and close to public transportation.
Gold Coast FLEMISH HOUSE OF CHICAGO
Located on a quiet street in the city's wealthiest neighborhood, Flemish House is a gorgeously restored 1890s graystone just a few minutes' walk from Oak Street Beach, Rush Street restaurants and bars, and Michigan Avenue. A relative bargain considering the proximity to downtown, the apartments are roomy and beautifully furnished, with new kitchenettes that include a gas range. The emphasis here is on the charm of a B & B without the social aspects that some people find intrusive: Mingling in the common areas—including a pleasant backyard patio—is strictly optional. In the evenings, the owners stock each room's refrigerator with baked goods, cereal, yogurt, juice, and milk for a self-service continental breakfast the next morning.
Concierge.com / Conde Nast Traveler
Chicago Editor’s Pick: FLEMISH HOUSE OF CHICAGO
For a taste of the high life at down-to-earth rates, book a room at this charming mansion with a chichi Gold Coast address. Owners Mike Maczka and Tom Warnke restored the 1892 row house to its original state in 1997. Many details remain, including the beautiful exterior (an example of Flemish Revival architecture, from which the B&B takes its name). Apartment-sized units (studios and one-bedroom suites) feature all the comforts of home: down comforters, cordless phones with answering machines, cable TV, DVD player, Wi-Fi, and fully stocked kitchens. Each unit is fitted out in an English Arts and Crafts motif, with fireplaces, inlaid wood floors, high ceilings, and decorative moldings.
“Some Business Travelers Prefer B&Bs” by Gary Stoller, 8/2/2007
Top 10 urban B&Bs
The following are the top picks at BedandBreakfast.com for the best urban B&Bs for business travelers. Sandy Soule, editor of the website, says the top-ranking inns offer expected amenities for business travelers plus "over-the-top" extras such as a great view, notable decor, a convenient location or exceptional value.
1. Boston Yacht Haven, Boston
2. Oge House Inn on the Riverwalk, San Antonio
3. Butler House on Grand, Des Moines
4. Royal Elizabeth B&B, Tucson
5. Union Street Inn, San Francisco
6. 1871 House, New York City
7. Napoleon's Retreat, St. Louis
8. DC Guest House, Washington
9. Chambered Nautilus, Seattle
10. Flemish House of Chicago, Chicago
Frommer’s Chicago 2005
"Flemish House of Chicago" by Elizabeth Canning Blackwell 11/8/04
Want to pretend you live in a grand historic mansion? Book a room at this B&B, tucked away on one of the Gold Coast's most picturesque (and expensive) streets. The entire building -- including the Flemish Revival facade that inspired its name -- was renovated in the late 1990s by innkeepers Tom Warnke (an architect) and Mike Maczka (a real-estate appraiser). Their architecture experience is evident in the rooms' tasteful decor: a mix of Victorian and Arts and Crafts furniture and decorative details that respect the home's late-19th-century design -- along with all the necessary modern amenities. The rooms are a mix of spacious studios and one-bedroom suites; all have full kitchen facilities, including stoves, fridges, and microwaves. This isn't the kind of B&B that promotes socializing; there are no common rooms, and breakfast is strictly self-serve (all the fixings are stocked in the fridge). But for independent travelers looking for a quiet, personal getaway, the location and setting are truly unique.
ATA Airlines-Home & Away Magazine
"Chasing Chicago", by Mark Shuman, May/June, 2004
For boutique shopping and cultural and culinary attractions of the Gold Coast, the Flemish House of Chicago also makes for a nice roost. Built as an upper-crust rowhouse in 1892, Flemish House rooms are quiet and artfully themed in genres such as Prairie Style.
Northwest Indiana Times
"Find tranquility ... in the city? Nestled among the skyscrapers, the city’s bed-and-breakfasts offer homey comforts", by Joan Milne 5/9/03
Bed-and-breakfasts in Chicago? How can that be? This particular type of accommodation is typically associated with the country. A traditional bed-and-breakfast is usually small and homey, often with antique-laden individually decorated rooms that may have private or shared baths. There’s a resident innkeeper and common areas where guests can read, relax or interact with one another. Most exude old-fashioned hospitality in a warm, friendly atmosphere. Chicago’s bed-and-breakfast scene combine the best of both worlds. The places offer tranquility, charm and a personal touch in the heart of a world-class city filled with museums, art, theater, restaurants, shops, lakeside activities and more.
On-site Innkeepers Mike Maczka and Tom Warnke revamped the original 1892 house into a comfortable urban bed-and-breakfast in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. There is no lounge or common dining room in order to allow guests to enjoy maximum privacy and independence. Accommodations are apartments with continental self-serve breakfasts placed in rooms before visitors' arrivals.
Inn Traveler Magazine
"Little Inns, Big Cities", January/February, 2000
Location, location, location are three good reasons to stay at The Flemish House of Chicago, in the Gold Coast neighborhood, close to Lake Shore Drive, Oak Street Beach, Michigan Avenue shops, and an easy ride to The Loop. This 1890s Flemish-style row house is set on a lovely residential street, lined with beautifully restored homes from the same period. Owners Mike Maczka and Tom Warnke have restored three apartments, combining period charm with an English Arts and Crafts motif. Our favorite was #1R, quiet, bright and sunny, with a queen-size canopy bed and sitting area overlooking the back garden below. Although there is no common area for guests, each unit has a kitchenette stocked with continental breakfast makings. Mike and Tom live on the fourth floor and are often around to answer guests’ questions as well.
Mr. Cheap’s Chicago
"Flemish House" by Michelle Roy Kelly and Jennifer M. Wood - Adams Media Corporation, 2nd Edition, 2000
Believe it or not, it is possible to stay in Chicago’s affluent Gold Coast neighborhood and keep your budget intact. Forget the mainstream route of a hotel and consider opting for a bed and breakfast; the price and the accommodations just might surprise you. The Flemish House of Chicago consists of beautifully-appointed Victorian-style studio and one-bedroom apartments (some even have fireplaces). The high ceilings, antique fixtures, and huge amount of space only add to this place’s charm. The Flemish House of Chicago is perfect for any type of trip: romantic, business, or otherwise. Mr. C knows, he’s done much of his work from right inside this great place. Owners Mike Maczka and Tom Warnke are two of the city’s most hospitable hosts; they’ve left nothing to chance by stocking extra everything! Unlike a traditional bed and breakfast, Flemish House of Chicago has no main sitting area or living room; your continental breakfast is brought to your room the night before and packed away into your fridge. If you decide that you want to leave this place at all, you are within walking distance of Oak Street Beach, the Magnificent Mile, some of the city’s best restaurants, and the always-exciting night life at the Rush/Division intersection. Sure, there are plenty of high-priced hotels in the area, but why pay more when a spectacular room and fabulous hosts are awaiting your arrival at Flemish House of Chicago? Tell them Mr. Cheap sent you!
"City B&Bs – Chicago’s Tidy Little Secret: Bed and Breakfasts"
by Connie Lauermann, 9/7/99
"It’s our permanent part-time job," said Mike Maczka, a freelance commercial real estate appraiser who runs Flemish House of Chicago, 68 East Cedar St., with his partner, Tom Warnke, an architect. Maczka and Warnke previously had renovated properties, including a house in Ravenswood, and then moved on. When they purchased the 1890s graystone on Cedar Street that had been cut up into apartments, they decided to turn three of its nine apartments into bed and breakfast units and opened them for business 18 months ago. They live on the top floor and are generally on hand to greet guests and also are ‘available for concierge-type questions’. Otherwise, guests fend for themselves, preparing their own breakfasts from items stocked in the refrigerators.
"Urban B&Bs", by Gary Lee 12/20/98
A wonderfully luxurious, high-Victorian town house with vintage wood paneling throughout. Located near Lake Michigan on a calm street, it’s about as good as it gets in the Windy City. Each unit comes with a nicely appointed kitchenette where breakfast is stocked. The owners, who live upstairs, are cheerful and helpful but also happy to leave guests in peace. "We’re not mingling all the time," Maczka said."It’s a different twist on the traditional bed-and-breakfast idea."
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