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STAYCATION REVIEW Feeling the vibe at ACME Hotel Company
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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I was really feeling the edgy, musical vibe at a recent staycation at ACME Hotel Company ( 15 E. Ohio St.; ).

However, it felt strangely familar—and I figured out why. I had, not so long ago, stayed in another local place that possesses a similar vibe: The Hard Rock Hotel. At ACME, I was getting a sense of deja vu, although the River North boutique spot definitely has its differences from that larger spot. Here's a closer look:

—Location: ACME is in the heart of the River North area, and is just steps from the Mag Mile. Of course, this means all the restaurants, dining and shopping you can handle is just a short distance away. Even public transportation ( buses on Michigan Avenue and the Red Line stop at Grand and State ) is nearby—but that's one of the great things about the CTA.

—Feel/atmosphere: As previously stated, there's a definite edge at ACME ( especially when compared to its predecessor at that address—Comfort Inn & Suites ). There are various eye-catching props throughout the hotel, and the elevators are papered with covers of albums from musicians ranging from the Rolling Stones to Lady Gaga.

The rooms are fun and funky, with items such as a bathroom with a lipstick-smooch LED set-up that gives the room a red glow—and which can make showers really intimate when all the other lights are out.

Other intriguing aspects of the rooms include comfortable seating, hi-def televisions, Amazon Alexa and even a chalkboard on the door ( to carve your own identity or to let housekeepers know if they can enter ). There are no closets, although there are set-ups featuring bars with hangers, ironing boards and robes.

—Amenities: West Town Bakery is on the first floor, and offers some delicious pastries, sandwiches and the like from the morning until about 8 p.m. And for those who need a kick in the morning, there's a "Knock and Drop" service that leaves a thermos of java at your door. However, if you have a craving at, say, midnight, you'll have to go to one of those nearby restaurants or use an app like GrubHub.

The Berkshire Room is the evening hangout—a first-floor cocktail lounge that offers a large variety of drinks as well as plenty of secluded spots. ( The Bodega, on the second floor, is a '70s-style lounge that's only open on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer. )

The workout facility ( in the basement ) is unlike any I've ever seen/used. Surrounded by a tall, chain-link fence, there are weights, a couple cardiovascular machines and a punching bag—perfect for working off stress.

And there's the Bunny Slope, a hot tub located next to the fitness facility that's outfitted with skis. However, the basement also has a business kiosk—and a laundry room, which I wished more hotels had.

—"Love Is Love": Specifically for same-sex couples ( through the end of the year ), ACME offers a "Love Is Love" package, which comes with a cocktail kit for two as well as rainbow beads and customized pillowcases to take home.

Bottom line: ACME Hotel Company is a pretty cool place to stay. It has style ( even if it was a little familiar to this guest ) and an attractive hangout area in The Berkshire Room. Plus, the location is pretty hard to beat.

Note: This hotel visit was based on an arranged invitation.

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