My girlfriend and I have made it a habit to always try and find a hostel we can support when we travel before checking out AirBnB or (shocker 😱 ) hotels. Maybe one day I'll write about the benfits but if you don't know, in short hostels are generally more local focused, often on community engagement and activism, a long with providing travelers a safe place, without extra frills...because honestly when you go somewhere new how much are you really going to be lounging in your giant hotel room?
Of course there are exceptions to this. Some hostels, like any lodging business, can be shitty or gross and just a bad fucking experience overall. But take the time to research where you're staying, and hostels can often be a better, cheaper, and more engaging way to stay somewhere. Holiday Jones is the latest hostel I've stayed at in Chicago, and after staying you'd be hard pressed finding an overall better location to stay at in Wicker Park.
A bit confusing and awkward at times, you enter the hostel, but actually have to walk through a small panini shop to get to the Holiday Jones' front desk. Not a big deal but just about everytime you walk in you have to sort of acknowledge the person working the panini shop to the fact that you're not there to eat or buy anything.
Much like the only other hostel I've stayed at in Chicago (Urban Holiday Lofts, actually the same people that run Holiday Jones), you eventually make your up quite a bit of stairs to get up to your room. One of the reasons I love to stay in hostels is really feeling the age and originality of the buiding. While the details and infrastructure has been redone, the stairs and rooms still feel like they're in their original location.
As for the quality of the room, you can't really as for much more for a double room in a hostel. Clean and comfortable beds, a large window, a small table (how else will you roll your joints?), and a pretty sick old locker to store your stuff and reduce clutter.
The bathrooms were nice and not limited. At some, smaller hostels the bathroom can be a pain to grab at a certain time, but Holiday Jones being larger seemed to have enough bathrooms. They were large and clean, something that goes a long way, and unfortunately sway some people away from hostels. Just do your part to clean and pick up after yourself and it'll stay nice for everyone. Don't be the fucker that leaves water all over the floor or a mess on the sink.
With the rooms often being smaller and more personal, general commons areas are crucial for a good hostel experience. The basement at Urban Holiday pretty much does just that. A large, open floor area with a kitchen, lots of seating, computers, a TV, and a raggity bumper pool table. While the bumper pool table sucks (the pool table was horrid at Urban Holiday too, but who's there to play bumper pool)... the rest of the room feels very spacious and a good spot to unwind and relax other than your room. Cook something up and chill out.
The one major complaint I have, and this is a problem at a lot of hostels: the noise. You hear fucking everything, anytime someone on your floor comes in/out of their room, doors slam and you hear it LL. A lot of it is human disrespect and stupidity, but the doors aren't doing any favors. This is something I think they should really try and fix. Your experience may vary, but make sure to bring ear plugs. Or they sell them at the front desk. Maybe it's just a conspiracy to get them to make a larger profit off of earplugs. Alex Jones needs to get wind of this shit.
Holiday Jones is an excellent place to stay when you've got time in Chicago. It's in one of the best parts of the city...you'll see and find plenty to do as soon as you step out. Would totaly recommend Holiday Jones to anyone looking to stay in the Wicker Park neighborhood.↑