Review The Sable at Navy Pier
This is post nine of a ten part series of Chicago hotels reviews. Link to other hotel reviews are below. During lockdown from November 2020-February 2021 I took some staycations. At the time hotels were offering insanely low rates plus I had some accumulated free nights.
Pretty much everything in all hotels were closed at that time so I won’t be reviewing too many amenities. You can check the link to the hotel for more details. I also don’t discuss decor because I don’t care about that. When I travel I care about location, price and cleanliness. That is I want a clean room close to transit and all the things I want to do at a reasonable price.
Review Sable at Navy Pier
Sable at Navy Pier, 900 E Grand, Chicago, Illinois, 60611, 872-710-5700. This hotel consists of three buildings attached to the south side of Navy Pier. Each building is 7 stories. It was completed in 2021. Hotel tax in Chicago is 17.4%. I stayed for two nights at the end of May 2021.
This stay fell outside my winter staycations because the hotel didn’t open until April. However in April everything on Navy Pier was closed except the restaurant in the hotel. I waited until the Pier had their soft open in late May and before prices exploded starting Memorial Day weekend.
This is a good location to be based at when visiting Chicago – if you plan to spend most of your time at Navy Pier. It’s about a mile from Michigan Avenue however it has good bus service and a water taxi (in summer) that can take you away from the Pier. In summer, pre-Covid, Navy Pier offered a free trolley to Michigan Avenue and the Art Institute. That shuttle was not operating in 2020 or 2021.
The hotel opened in 2021. As I mentioned earlier this hotels consists of three separate buildings called Bays (1-3). Bay 1 is the one farthest out at the end of the Pier and contains the Lobby, Lirica, the fitness center and access to the rooftop bar Offshore. I booked a standard room and because of my mid-tier Hilton status I was upgraded to a King Corner room. I called and requested a room in Bay 1. All rooms face south with a view of Lake Michigan.
The hotel restaurant, Lirica, and the fitness center were open. There is no pool, business center or room service. No pets allowed.
Dining and room service
Due to my Hilton status I was given a daily voucher for free breakfast which I chose to order over the phone and pick up from Lirica. A basic breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast was around $12. I ate and cocktailed at Lirica several times. It is excellent and very reasonably priced. They have outdoor tables but it was so windy and menaced by kamikaze shore birds that I never attempted to sit out there. You can charge your food and beverages from Lirica to your room. You cannot charge your food and beverages from Offshore to your room. Offshore is a rooftop bar located at the end of Navy Pier and the elevator to access it is across from the hotel entrance.
All rooms offer small empty mini fridges and coffee makers with packets of coffee and tea. The hotel does not offer microwaves.
Review Sable Navy Pier
I’m that rarity of Chicagoan who loves Navy Pier. It’s really somewhat converted from a “cheesy mall-by-the-sea” into something that should attract residents to visit on occasions other than taking their out-of-town guests there.
Yes it’s jam packed with tourists on warm summer weekend days but at other times it’s empty and a lovely place to hang out. Walk along the south side and sit on a bench and watch the boats got by. There are tables and chairs along the south dock anyone can use.
If you are coming for a conference that restricts you mostly to the Pier this is the place to stay. Also if you’re a family taking a staycation or vacation and plan to spend most of it on the Pier then this is the place. It’s too bad that it doesn’t have a pool but there’s no place to put it or it was too prohibitively expensive. Ohio Street beach is just west of the front of the Pier. In summer there is a water taxi that you can take to the museum campus that is very convenient (and a beautiful ride) and as mentioned there used to be a free trolley to Michigan Avenue and the Art Institute.
If you plan to hit restaurants and shopping around downtown, River North and Lincoln Park etc. this is NOT the place. It’s too far off the beaten path. I also wouldn’t recommend walking back to the Pier or around the area at night.
I will also say that when I walked from the bus to the hotel it was hot out so I walked inside. When you get past about the middle, where there are no more shops or restaurants, you are walking through a long empty hallway that is pretty unnerving. Still I thoroughly enjoyed my staycation even though I could see my condo building from my hotel room!
Water Taxi’s: In summer there is a water taxi to the Museum Campus. It stops at the Shedd Aquarium and you can walk to the Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum.
Buses: CTA Route number 29, 65, 66, 124.
29 is the State Street bus. It goes west on Grand the heads south on State Street. You can get off at Michigan and climb a flight of staris up to Michigan Avenue.
65 is the Grand Avenue bus. It goes west on Grand. You can get off at Michigan and climb a flight of stairs up to Michigan Avenue. You can also take it to Dearborn or Clark Street into River North.
Once you get to Michigan Avenue you can head south (CTA bus 151) to Grant and Millennium Parks, the Art Institute. Take the (CTA bus 146) to the Museum Campus and Soldier Field. Walk north or take the bus (CTA bus 151) to Water Tower Place, 900 N Michigan and the Lincoln Park Zoo.
To get to the Lakefront Trail and Ohio Street beach walk east on Grand Avenue.
66 is the Chicago Avenue bus. It heads west on Grand then north on Columbus/Fairbanks to Chicago Avenue. Get off at Mies Van de Rohr and Chicago to go to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Water Tower Place. Get off at Chicago Avenue and walk north to 900 N. Michigan Shops.
To get to Oak Street Beach walk or take Michigan Avenue and take the bus north to the Walton/Delaware stop (CTA bus 151). Do not get on an express bus! Then walk a block north to Oak Street to the underpass. Do not go along the Lakefront, Beach or Lakefront Trail at night.
124 is the Navy Pier Bus. It runs between the Pier and Union Station. It’s currently rerouting because of a street closure. So it runs west down Grand to south on Columbus/Fairbanks to upper Randolph. It stops at the Chicago Cultural Center. It head south down Michigan to Madison to Union Station. You can get off at Wacker and Madison to get to the Willis Tower.
Navy Pier Trolley: In summer, pre-Covid, Navy Pier offered a free trolley to Michigan Avenue and the Art Institute. That shuttle was not operating in 2020 or 2021. I have never ridden this trolley because it is always jammed packed and does not have air conditioning.
Check your rates after booking
Whenever I plan a trip I continually check my room rates up until I can no longer cancel. You’d be surprised how many times the rates go down. In normal times you can just call the 800 number and get them to change the rate. If your reservation allows changes call. 99% of the time I make a new reservation online and then cancel the old one online.
Hilton website and app
The Hilton app and website has a “flexible stay” search option. For example online flexible stay options allow you to search for a two night stay on any days in a particular month so you can find the cheapest rate. Generally weekends are more expensive than weekdays.
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This is an iconic Chicago Hotel. It makes me proud to tell about it. As a chicagoan I am happy with this transformation of a direlict are into a Gem