Hotel Tour: The Robey
I recently toured the new Robey Hotel in Chicago, that opened November 2016. It’s a 12 story adaptive re-use space which holds 69 guestrooms and multiple food and beverage outlets. The art deco building previously housed private offices but has been shuttered for years. Convexity Properties, the developer, recognized the under-appreciated hotel market outside of the city’s downtown area and decided to develop it with Grupo Habita as the operator. Both the architect, Nicolas Schuybroek Architects, and interior designer, Marc Merckx, are out of Belgium, and collaborated to create a timeless minimalistic space that reflects the building’s beauty.
The concept for the hotel was an “all american experience” and you feel as if you’ve walked in to an Edward Hopper painting. The materials are beautiful in their simplicity, and you get a sense of an “un-designed” space that emphasizes the history of the building. The hotel sits at the corner of Damen, North and Milwaukee in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. At the time of construction, Damen Avenue was Robey Street, thus the name of the hotel.
The guestrooms reflect a pared down industrial style, focusing on a clean color palette and raw materials used throughout. The elements which require guest interaction have been meticulously designed and are beautiful in their simplicity. The closets hold soft demin robes and felt slippers for the guest to enjoy, and each bathroom is encapsulated with wire mesh glass to allow natural light to flood into the bathrooms. The white walls are free of artwork, allowing the amazing views of the city to be the focal point.
After leaving the hotel I noticed a sense of calmness within. The crisp neutral palette and clean design put my mind at ease. With new hotels opening every day emphasizing an over-designed aesthetic, I’m intrigued with this idea of simplicity. We all experience plenty of visual stimulation, and this minimalist design approach is a breath of fresh air.