Ray's Bucktown Bed and Breakfast
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... the waiters to stop the clock, go back to the savoury courses as I wasn't anywhere near sated. In fact if this was the bedroom, then one of us was displaying very bad manners and it certainly wasn't me.
It brought to mind the comment from Graham's hairdresser regarding dining at Tetsuyas: she wanted to stop off for a hamburger on the way home. While I wouldn't go that far, I came closer to understanding how she felt.
... a pink white sods baseball top. The national anthem played so we found some seats and prepared for the first pitch. Now don't get me wrong I know baseball is Americas favourite pass time but it is seriously boring to watch. So I decided to explore the stadium a bit more and I saw some very interesting things. I've baseball helmets being filled with nachos or soft serve ice cream, a walking taco which is essentially a bag of corn chips with nachos topping served in the bag so you ...
... the 8th tallest building in the World). James seemed to love standing on this glass ledge however, I was not so keen! N & J Cloudy, some rain ********** I just wanted to add - this is my first experience of staying in a hostel and first impressions were... 'Oh hell, this is grim' I could practically see the germs floating around me and I was trying my hardest not to touch anything. It made me wonder what I had gotten myself ...
... anyway of course, being an international flight. We were up and touring, via foot this time (buses didn't happen until 9am anyway) and fast walking down to Grant Park. We both wanted to see this magnificent fountain we'd seen in photos, prints, on postcards and glimpsed briefly from the bus other other day. On the way we passed my favourite sculpture again, and much to my delight there was virtually no one crowding around it. From certain angles it looked as if I was the only ...
... throughout. Foie gras, gnocchi, choux pastry infused with prosciutto, perch ,rice cakes are entrees. Home made sausage with home pickled sauerkraut, pike with tomatoes and slow cooked greens are mains. Just because we had not already eaten enough we shared delicious fried chèvre with honey and home made jam, spiced plum upside down cake and apple crumble. Fabulous thank you again Vivian and David. Great hosts in Chicago. We will host in Cherrybrook when you visit next ...
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Historical Traveler Reviews Ray's Bucktown Bed and Breakfast Chicago
Look no further!! this is the place to stay!!!
Look no further!! I have only positive things to say about this place!! ** The breakfast is made to order by Ray .. you have a menu of delicious items to pick and choose from.. he cooks everything for you on the spot.. we like to sleep in and that was not a problem!! Ray was very accomodating to our schedule and our diet.. he made sure we had soy milk available.. and lots of fruits and veggies.. he'd even ask us what we wanted from the market!! **in addition to the hearty made to order breakfast, there is also a huge refrigerated section in the living room stocked with water, sodas, juice, and I even saw some bottles of Champagne!! in the kitchen you find jars of cereals and little snacks..at Ray's you will not go hungry!! **We were there for the first major snow of the season, so you can imagine how cold it was outside.. but Ray's was so warm and toasty!! even the floor was heated!! **everything was clean, tidy and organized.. Paige made sure of that!! she was AWESOME!! we were allowed to use the washer/dryer.. we always had clean towels.. the sheets were clean and the beds were soooo comfortable!! there are so many places to sit and lounge around.. there's no need to stay in your room, unless you want to!! **if you forget your toothbrush or need some asprin (like I did), all you have to do is ask!! Ray keeps a stock of everything you need.. and if he doesn't have it, he'll get it for you!! ** Ray was the best host.. very entertaining and so generous!! He dropped us off at the nearby subway station a few times since it was freezing cold outside.. he even dropped us off at the airport to catch our flight home (which we are sooo grateful for!!) ** Ray and Paige are a great team.. extremely honest and wonderful people!! ** at Ray's, you'll feel so at home.. that when you leave, you'll actually feel "home-sick"!!
Best place to stay by far!
My friend and I take an annual trip to Chicago. We usually stay downtown in hotels but because of the weekend we were traveling, there was nothing available. I decided to check out B&B's in Chicago and found Ray's.
Ray was very accomadating to us from the begining. They confirmed my room with me and also helped us navigate from Union Station to the B&B. Ray has extreme knowledge of the area and loves his city. He reccommended great places for dinner and fun.
In the morning Ray makes you an amazing breakfast. There are no words to describe how good his omelets are. He checks with you the night before to see what time you would like breakfast and when you come down the next morning a feast awaits you!
We will never stay anywhere else while we are in Chicago. WE LOVE RAY'S!!!!
Wonderful Staff & Perfect Location= Ray's Bucktown B & B
My two closest friends and I (having been best friends for 20 years now) take an annual long weekend "girls" trip. Typically, we go to New York, but this year we decided to go to Chicago, and were not disappointed!
Ray's Bucktown B & B is in a fun, hip, popular Chicago neighborhood. What we really liked in particular about his B & B is that it truly is nestled on a residential street, (plenty of parking if you happen to have a car but within walking distance of trains, buses & of course MANY CABS) therefore giving a traveller almost the feeling of being a resident, rather than a tourist. Although his street is quiet, it's only a block from the heart of the shopping, dining & entertainment in this part of Chicago.
Ray & his staff had WONDERFUL recommendations on restaurants (ranging from casual coffee house to gourmet) had lists of good activities to do, great places to shop, many of these being locations that locals frequent and that might be missed by the average traveller.
Going the extra mile, his associate Paige even took the time to show us how to navigate the elevated train system & buses, letting us save $$$ for other things than cab rides.
The B & B which doubles as Ray's Photography studio isn't large, but decorated with an artsy vibe, fitting in with the neighborhood.
There was a minor glitch with our reservation, BUT Ray & his staff went above and beyond to remedy the situation immediately, and we could not have been happier.
If we travel to Bucktown again, my 1st and only call will to be Ray's Bucktown B & B !
What a treat!
My elderly mother and I visited Ray's last September and shared the Skylight Room. Ray and Paige could not have been kinder and more hospitable to me and my mom. Not only was breakfast fantastic (Ray's homemade pesto is a must!), but visiting around the breakfast table with the other folks staying there was a delight - got a great recommendation on Chicago-style pizza from one couple. Highly recommended!
Probably the best bed and breakfast in the world
When my mother and I stayed at Ray's in September 2005, it was my third visit to the fabulous city of Chicago but our stay at Ray's made the whole experience even more wonderful than usual. Ray's is friendly, homely, spotlessly clean, and an absolute joy to stay at. Its location also means that you get to see a great neighbourhood which you miss if you stay downtown.
Each morning we'd wake up from beds as comfortable as marshmallows to the smell of the delicious delights wafting gently up the stairs from the kitchen where Ray would be putting his accomplished culinary skills to practice. The choice at breakfast time was incredible and so was the food. I simply can't say anything bad about Ray's, it's just great!
Truly Chicago, Truly Bucktown, a fantastic home away from home.
My family and I (all 5 of us) had the recent pleasure of spending 3 nights at Ray's during the Easter weekend. It was so immediately comforting to be greeted by the cats (Grey and Maggie - who kept us company from time to time) and the wonderful cureos and objects throughout the space. I feel describing Ray's as a space makes sense as that's what it lended us. Plenty of space to browse about, discover and relax when we weren't out hitting the city. The breakfasts are untouchable at any other accomodation. Why stand in line at the Bongo Room or wander all the way to H.U.E. or Leo's when you can get up when you feel like and get a phenomenol morning meal in house?! I don't usually eat breakfast, but certainly made a point of it this trip. Can't say enough about that first meal of the day at Ray's.
As former residents of the neighborhood a few years past, we were delighted to find Ray's when searching for a place to stay (so as not to descend upon friends with 3 children). Most B & B's are really not kid places, but Ray's will accomodate. And thankfully, there aren't kids' toys and playthings anywhere to be seen. We have plenty of that at home, and the kids adjust quite well without those things present. The kids enjoyed the cats, looking at the many collections' items, and of course watching Myth Busters on the Satelite TV.
We stayed in the Da Vinci room upstairs which was well suited to us. Plenty of room to spread out and two queeen beds to handle all our bodies. Everything was clean, comfortable and functional. Ray was very quick to tend to any needs we had (access to email, wine opener, etc). He gave us a complete nickel tour and orientation of the space upon arrival and left us to our doings. He was not intrusive in the least and always available for questions, etc. He had to step out soon after we arrived and even gave us his cell # and an emergency contact (nice neighbor) should we need them while he was away! All the water, coffee and tea one could consume was included in the very reasonable cost (and of course the breakfast feast!) as well as access to misc. communal beer, wine, and spirits from guests past/present. It felt like home in many ways. Full access to kitchen facilities AND Laundry facilities! How good can this get? A steam room and a sauna to boot. That is how good!
I'm amazed that Ray has decided to open this Bucktown oasis up to the greater public, and even more pleased that he has!! Thankfully this was not a flowery, antique-filled, don't let the kids touch that sort of B & B with doillies and tea cups all about. This is not the Thomas Kincaid sort of cottage B & B. This is Bucktown! We loved all of it. Our old watering hole The Maproom was just 4 blocks walk away and many other familiar haunts were equally close. Parking was fine, and Ray even moved his car one day so we could park closer to the entrance (his idea we weren't even going to ask). What a guy. My wife and I had the great fortune to get the kids to bed earlier one evening, and thoroughly relaxed ourselves iin the steam room and the sauna, and then the steam room and sauna some more. Now we really need to put one of these in our house I'm convinced! This was such a great place that unlike most longer trips when after staying at 2 or 3 different places, regardless of how great the surrounding city is and how much fun we're having, we are looking forward to being home, we were bummed that we needed to get back home. We could have stayed at Ray's a week more and not been itching for a change.
Our only regret about Ray's was that we didn't have the opportunity to meet Paige - who booked our room for us- as she was out of town during our stay. On our next extended stay in Chicago, it is clear where we will stay if space is available. Upon our departure, Ray even bestowed gifts upon my wife and I. As coffee drinkers, it is with great pride that we fill our Ray's Bucktown B & B Chicago travel mugs when we are off on adventures in and around Seattle. Ray and Paige, (and chef Chris) thanks for the great weekend!!
Set the record straight
I phoned Ray's at the end of last year to get a price for a week in April. A lovely lady in his staff apologised that she could not give me a cast-iron guarantee there would be availabilty as they were waiting for word about being used as the location for a reality TV show.
True to her word, she called back twice but by that time I had booked another B&B. She said there was no problem and she would be only too happy to see us if we visited Chigago again. She also said she hoped we enjoyed the City. Now that's good customer service!
This place looks fantastic! You don't need to be on the Magnificent Mile to enjoy Chicago! Go Cubbies!!!!
They are so incredibley rude. They gave away our rooms that we had booked for months, saying that someone called to cancel them when nobody called. To add insult to injury, because it was last minute,my parents had to be booked for four hundred dollars a night somewhere else because no rooms were available in Chicago. Throughout the entire debacle, they seemed to blame me and accuse me of lying to them. With this no blame defense, they never even offered to pay at least part of what we lost. Everyone was flying in for my sons first birthday party which I did on a shoestring. I could have had a party at a great restaurant in Chicago for $500.00 extra.
A great Chicago B&B
"Not your parents' bed and breakfast", says the website, and that about sums it up. I don't usually like B&Bs, but Ray's was a friendly and non-claustrophobic experience.
Ray was a wonderful host who provided us with helpful advice about the neighborhood, and insisted on driving us to the subway station when it was time to leave. He also provided AMAZING breakfasts.
The house is eclecticly decorated and conveniently located about a five minute walk from the Western subway station (on the Blue Line, a short ride from the Loop"). Many restaurants and interesting shops are nearby.
Our room (the "Skylight Room") was small but clean and comfortably furnished. We used the sauna and steam room, both of which were great.
Ray's...nothing like it
My five stars are with asterisks. If you are looking for an urban experience, with great food and an incredible host then Ray's is something very special. If you hate cats, and are into victoriana or chi chi in your BB's, stay away. Ray's is in the Bucktown neighborhood, a gentrified old Polish neighborhood on the near Northwest side of Chicago, deep in the heart of urban city life. It's safe, historic, lively but not noisy, with outstanding restaurants and shops a short walk away. Ray's is an unassuming three story building on a zero lot line urban residential street. You enter Ray's into a professional photographer's studio. (Ray's second job is that line of work). The B&B is tucked above, below and behind the studio. The rooms vary from a comfortable large space called DaVinci (where we stayed) with jacuzzi, to some smaller quarters. You should quiz Ray carefully about the spaces and make sure they suit you. It's a quirky and interesting environment...safe, clean and unusual. There is a sauna and steam room which my wife and daughter enjoyed. The breakfasts are nothing short of phoenominal....all hand cooked to order from a menu with standards of meat and eggs to atypicals like pesto, salmon, raspberries, mango...Ray cooks it all on a giant commercial range. But this place is not about pillows and eggs..it's all about Ray. Author, artist, photographer, chef, chess master, collector and great guy...he's the host and he goes overboard to meet every need to ensure your enjoyment of the city.