When I began planning for the Chicago VT Meeting during a weekend in June, 2011 I decided it would be best for Sue and I to stay in the city rather then do the back and forth commute to Naperville, about 30 miles away where we live. So as I usually do when I stay at a named brand hotel I looked at the points I had in my Marriott and Hilton accounts and since we had used a lot of the Marriott points back in October/November 2010 for our trip to California and San Francisco I turned to my Hilton points for our 2 night stay. I just then had to decide which one of the downtown Hilton hotels was most convenient to our planned activities.
I actually arrived early on Friday morning to drop off our one bag of luggage (most of which was filled by my wife's clothes, etc) and a box of VT material that was being given away at the meeting. I pulled up outside and had the valet guide me to the bellman who then stored by 2 pieces and gave me tickets to pick up when we arrived later that night (almost midnight by the time we got back after the VT Friday evening events.
When we got back to the hotel on Friday night here is what we saw and my impressions.
Check In - We officially checked in and got 2 hot chocolate chip cookies. Already a good sign. The lobby is not overly spacious put has some areas to relax if you want and is the only spot in the hotel with Free WiFi access. You have to pay extra in your room which I always think is a little crazy if you are a Hilton member which I am. We then received our keys and went up to Room 2011 (how very appropriate). The 20th and 21st floors are reserved for Hilton members and were very quiet which was a good thing as we encountered a few drunken wedding guests just outside the hotel that evening. I don't do very well with noisy obnoxious people in a hotel.
The Room - Our room consisted of 2 Queen Size Beds which were very comfortable. On the Second night we actually decided to sleep in separate beds since I wanted to get up early the next morning and take some early Sunday morning (6:00 a.m.) pictures of Chicago. I'm the early morning person while Sue likes to sleep in on her days off. The room also had a medium size desk and chair, an LG Flat Screen TV, a bench area to sit by the window which was great for putting on my hiking shoes. The furnishings were a little dated, but I really don't care about that as long as the beds are comfortable which they were.
The room also had a mini fridge and snacks above the mini fridge which we were warned by the check in staff were very sensitive and to let them know if we were charged accidentally. I personally wish they would get rid of those mini fridges with the stuff in them, but I understand the business economics of them. Maybe they could designate rooms that didn't have them.
The bathroom was nothing spectacular, but again I shower, shave, brush my teeth and do my bodily functions there and really don't need much else. The towels were to my liking being about 5 feet long. They were of average softness. The soap and shampoo were very nice smelling.
Unique Quality: This is the first hotel that I have stayed in that had garbage cans in the room that were divided into waste and recycling (2 smaller bins inside a large one). I'm sure most people could care less unfortunately, but being a huge recycler myself I really appreciated it. I hope the hotel does indeed recycle. Sometimes when housekeeping staffs and cleaning crews come in they dump everything together anyway. I probably should check that out and quiz the hotel as to their procedure.
The outdoor roof pool on the 5th floor looked very nice and I took a picture of it from the 20th. They also had a gift shop and workout room which we did not use.
They also had a full service restaurant and Einstein Bros Bagel restaurant attached.
Directions: A few blocks east of North Michigan Avenue. (aka - Magnificent Mile)
Great location and price for this hotel. Comfortably slept 2 adults and 2 children in a 2 queen room. Friendly front desk staff. I was unpleasantly surprised that the room had a layer of dust on everything. It appeared that it had not been used in a while. I did not address with the hotel, I cleaned off surfaces myself. For the price (we booked on Hotwire) I would definitely recommend it, although I would hope that the cleaning issue did not repeat itself.
Unique Quality: Nice bar area in lobby, we comfortably watched a basketball game there.
This is a top class hotel for the price, especially if you snag yourself one of the corner rooms that look out over Ohio and Fairbanks. From my room I could see two of the three tallest buildings in America: the Sears Tower and the Aon Center. It's rated by many as the America's best Holiday Inn, and it's easy to see why. The service is top notch, especially Vladimir and Toska, the two Macedonians, the location excellent, the rooms huge, and the facilities great. There was a bar, restaurant, shop, sauna, swimming pool, as well as a huge TV and wireless internet access.
The best part, though, was my view. Being able to sit at my desk while looking out over the busy city centre streets of North Near Side, made all the work I had to do there all the less stressful. The only downside was the decor, which in the hallways and rooms was a bit dated and starting to scuff (the lobby was polished oppulence). And don't be certain of getting a great view in every room. My friend had a view of a gravel topped roof and a brick wall.
Directions: From the center, walk up Michigan Avenue until you reach Ohio Street, and turn right.
The room was pretty clean and everything was in good condition and well maintained. The heater was very quiet. The room was well insulated - temp outside was in the 20's and with the heat off the room stayed comfortable. Beds comfortable. Check in was polite. Planes were cancelled due to weather and I contacted the hotel that I was coming in the next day. Even though there was a clause on my reservation that I would be charged for a day if I don't cancel within 48 hours, they did not charge me for that day that I missed (no fuss). Concierge was very helpful with travel arrangements. Wired internet access is free - however the web page that comes up when you connect states the price is $9.95/day. I was not charged (and would have challenged if I was since their web site promises free internet). However you must keep re-establishing contact to the service every 5 minutes. Wireless doesn't work in room (you do pick up the zillion wireless in the neighborhood) although there are instructions how to connect to the hotel network - possibly only downstairs, didn't try.
Unique Quality: Two blocks to Michigan Avenue ("Miracle Mile"), about 4 blocks to Navy Pier (or take the free trolley) and taxis seem to like to hang out around the hotel so not hard to get one. Several restaurants in hotel (didn't try them) and a good breakfast/lunch place across the street. Supermarkets within a few blocks. Couple of blocks from North Western University, Museum of Contemporary Art, walkable distance (or take a bus) to Art Institute of Chicago, lots of restaurants within walking distance. Very convenient and comfortable.
My dad and my grandma usually stay here when they come to visit. They like it. The rooms are nice, the staff is helpful, and there is a decent bar with decent bar food downstairs. There is also a guy to hail a cab for you when you need one. It's a nice place, right downtown. I'd recommend it.
Unique Quality: The location is pretty nice - right downtown, close to many restaurants and theaters.
The Holiday Innn Chicago-City Centre is perfectly located just 3 blocks from Michigan Ave. where you will find some great shopping and tons of restaurants. I had a terrific stay at this hotel, staff was very courteous and the little sports bar (with all you can eat fresh popcorn) was good fun!
One of the smarter Holiday Inns, good location on E Ohio, close to Navy Pier and Madison Ave. Should have a good view too.
Since, I was an expat worker I stayed @ Holiday Inn Hotel for about 6 months,,,it's great!!! I have the chance to stay up late within the city for a good nightlife.
Stay at the 'Holodome' Holiday Inn in Skokie. It's far enough from the city to where you're in the suburbs and it has a nice pool and spa area.
Unique Quality: Excellent place to relax and get away from downtown. They have a pool, spa, hot tub, pool tables, etc.
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Address: 300 East Ohio Street, (Formerly Chicago City Centre Hotel), Chicago, Illinois, 60611, United States