A bit jaded with all those achingly indulgent design hotels where the beautiful people slouch around just waiting to be spotted? If you’re heading to Chicago and want to avoid corporate hotels with wipe-clean surfaces or the city’s robust offer of design hotels, you need not fear.

The accommodations at the Inn at the Longman & Eagle might come without all the facilities and pampering offered by many of Chicago’s finest establishments, but they are an ideal choice for anyone who prefers a laid-back style and a proper insight into real neighbourhood Chicago. Situated near to Logan Square it’s also a good option if you prefer the leafier low-rise surrounds of this traditional –and increasingly trendy– Chicago neighbourhood to sleeping among the skyscrapers. Add to that the thoughtful design values and you have the perfect accommodation for those who prefer a bit of down-to-earth dignity over conspicuous consumption.

Run very much along the lines of a traditional small-scale tavern inn, which seems to be making something of a fierce comeback all over the world at present, the Inn at the Longman & Eagle has only six rooms. These vary in size and each has a unique design where up-and-coming designers have used the opportunity to showcase their talents to optimum effect. The overall impression remains cool, calm and collected, yet each has its own features. Again, a nice antidote for those weary of the homogenised décors of traveller accommodation in a world where the vernacular of the ‘design hotel’ is becoming distinctly mainstream and globalised.

Ideal then for knowing that you and you alone, dear reader, might be the only guest at any given time who gets to live with Ryan Duggan’s mural in Room 04 or Juan Angel Chavez’s speaker sculpture in Room 07. With the sleek lines and attractive materials of the furniture designs by the likes of Jon Martin or Robert McAdams, it’s a treat for design aficionados who value handsome form over commodified design brands, not to mention that you really can let your design snobbery run riot when you get home. Chances are that there will be few others who can claim the kind of understated exclusivity offered by the Longman & Eagle.

It has everything that a cool cat could want on hand.  Each room features robust media options ranging from high-end LCD television complete with Apple TV and a full-blown media centre to retro-chic, vintage hi-fi toys. Furthermore, the onsite Longman & Eagle Restaurant and Bar is something more than a hostel diner.

Chef Jared Wentworth brings a creative flair to traditional regional American fare reinvented for a culinary-aware generation, meaning that you can find something more appetising at hand than most hotel breakfasts in the morning. It also proves damned convenient if you want to have the benefit of a full and tasty meal before heading out on the town in the evening.

On the other hand, many locals choose to head to the Longman & Eagle of an evening: the place’s credentials as a whiskey bar are widely known with some 148 varieties of booze stocked in the affable bar, ranging from the golden nectar itself to natty little wines produced in small batches and seldom encountered outside of the USA. Put all that together with the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from the plethora of special events and sense of community that the place imbues and don’t blame us if you find it hard to make it off the premises to fulfil your task as a tireless city tripper.

Photos by Clayton Hauck for Longman & Eagle

One of the 6 rooms at the Inn at the Longman & Eagle, Chicago

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