Did not exceed expectations
The James Hotel is a small modern hotel. Views are very limited in this hotel, it is not a tall hotel and building is blocked on three sides with large buildings. Courtyard view is poor and makes you feel a little depressing. The staff were nice but check-in did not go smoothly. We checked in at 7pm and were told our room was not ready... and then had to wait another 20min. We booked a "loft suite" but by no means was this a suite. Suite's usually are 1 bdroom separated by a door. this was not the case. It was also not a "loft" Loft = high ceilings, exposed beams, exposed brick walls, and large windows. The television by the bed did not work. The projector in the "media" room also did not work. There were only three towels in the bathroom. At around $385 for the room, I expected more.
On the Verge of Luxury
The James Chicago is a new concept that deserves attention. It is almost as if they started with W Hotels, took everything that was a problem, and made it right.
This hotel has a feel that edges on luxury, but concentrates on the "cool" market as opposed o the luxury market. This is not a Four Seasons, but it is an experience that will leave you with a sense that someone concentrated on differentiating the hotel, while still keeping the elements that frequent hotel guests as well as business consumers would want.
Note: This is not your parent's hotel. No matter the age, a guest will appreciate the experience, but I would say that the rooms here would skew MUCH more to the 25-45 crowd.
-Staff: Phenomenal. Not only were they efficient and professional, I was impressed that they were able to infuse attitude that was not condesending or "too cool," while still making the check-in to to check-out process top notch.
-Cool Factor: The entire experience is "cool." From the flat screen TVs to the "projector rooms" in the suite rooms (we were lucky enough to be upgraded through a promotion), this place just exudes cool. The entire time you are there, you feel that the little things in the room make the place over the top.
-Little Things: Kiels bath amenities, comfortable beds, stereos in rooms, and a focus on "wow" factors make this hotel unlike any other. You will be imressed.
-Food: Primehouse is really amazing. Order the selction of desserts...AMAZING.
-Comfort: You will be comfortable in the room regardless of what part of the room you are in... you will sleep, watch TV, and bathe well.
-Business Amenities: Big rooms, free internet, work space, comfort, and a restaurant that is terrific for client entertaining. Just a winner overall.
-Too cool: The lobby leaves you feeling underwhelmed, as do the the areas as you get off the elevator. You feel much more cool than you do Luxury. This gives a sense of oxymoron as you induldge in top quality products yet feel that they are a little out of place here.
-Age Factor: To be honest, I wonder what someone above 50 would feel like if they stayed here. The technolgy alone is enough to confuse people of any age, but the place could be too much for an older crowd. I wonder if the older crowd would feel welcome...especially at the price-point.
-Value: As I said earlier, this has a "W Plus" feel. If you like W, you will absolutey LOVE The James. If you thought W was over the top, you will not like The James. If you get an upgraded room, the value is terrific, though.
Overall, this hotel is highly recommended. I would say that the feel skews much younger, especially for the price-point. This is perfect if yoy want to say, "Wow, that was not what I was expected. The hotel was much better than expected, and it had many wow factors." Then, this is your place. Try it out, it is the most fun in Chicago.
The James is Exceptional
I have now stayed at the James for a total of 4 nights and I really do not want to write this review because I'm afraid everyone will read it and will try to stay there. Then it will become so popular that I won't be able to find a room! But alas, I must share my joy with everyone. I usually stay at the House of Blues in Chicago and no more. The James is Luxury Boutique Chic. Think what the W wants to be, tries to do, the James delivers. From the moment you step out of your cab, they make you feel like a VIP. The service at the front desk is top notch. The rooms are unbelievable. Totally modern. Wi-fi is so fast and convenients. Kiehl's products in the bathroom. The all white bed feels like heaven with an extraordinary pillow top. All rooms (I've stayed in 4 different King Size Studios) have large plasma screens. The alarm clock even projects the time on the ceiling so you don't have to turn around in the bed to see the time. My wake up calls have always been right on time. I ordered breakfast once and it came fast and was so fresh. I have had an awesome facial and mini-manicure at the spa which is reasonably priced and so awesome to have the short version of the services. Oh, the hotel is located two blocks from Nordstrom and one block from shopping on Michigan Ave. And I don't want to leave out the unbelieveable service and food at the Primehouse steak restaurant adjacent to the hotel. The ribeye (aged 30 days) and basil whipped potatoes are to die for. The service is one of the best I've received both times I dined. Great wine menu. Oh, I love the James so much. It's my new hotel and I can't wait to go back next week! I'm so glad I get to travel on business to Chicago - all because I stay at the James. If you're traveling on business, the James makes you feel like you'r e on vacation. If you're on vacation, you know that you've walked into something special. Did I mention how courteous the concierge is? Oh, they are so helpful. And every morning you get your choice of 6 different newspapers. Not just USA Today. And I know how everyone likes to read negative stuff, so I'll say this. Last weekend it was raining and they ran out of mini-umbrellas for guests to use. I didn't care b/c I had brought my own. So if I had to complain about something it would be that they need to have enough mini-umbrellas for everyone. Oh, but how cute to have mini umbrellas in the first place. Most places give you those obnoxious large ones to carry around.
a mixed bag
I am somewhere in between those who rave about the James and those who say it is terrible- but definitley side more with the positive reviewers. There were a few problems of staff unresponsiveness, and a drawer broken in the room, but I love the asthetics of the property so much- modern and artsy- I'd stay there again. But only on a discounted rate.
go somewhere else
We have stayed in Chicago at the Ritz, the Four Seasons and The Penninsula at comparable rates to the James. The James is not even close in caliber to these others. The trendy decor is cool, but the quality of the rooms and service are more Motel 6 than 4 Seasons. We had a remote that didn't work, a window that was broken, a towel rack that was hanging off the wall, toilet backed up and loud elevators in the hallway. I spoke to the manager and he said they would do something to take care of the problems. He never did. Also, we were celebrating our anniversary and they knew it since I told them when we checked in. I'm used to these things being acknowledged when staying at $400 per night hotels. Every year we go to downtown Chicago for our anniversary and will never go back here. Do yourself a favor and go somewhere else.
Or dress up in a leopard costume
to hancock tower
the check and tip inside
Traveling to Chicago for VT Event in June?
If you live near San Francisco or Los Angeles and have been thinking about coming to Chicago for our weekend VT meeting on June 17 to June 19 but were worried about the airfares, worry no longer!!!
I just received a Groupon offer for a $77 coupon for $7 on Virgin Airlines which can be taken off of your ticket price between San Francisco and Chicago or Los Angeles and Chicago. Virgin Airlines starts round trip service between LA and SF to Chicago on May 25th, just a couple of weeks before the big event.
They are offering introductory prices as low as $219.50 taxes and fees inclusive and if you use the $77 Groupon coupon your total cost of a round trip ticket will only be $149.40. How can you beat that!
So looking for a chance to visit the Windy City. Now's the time!!
Re: Traveling to Chicago for VT Event in June?
Anything for Tampa or Orlando?
Re: Traveling to Chicago for VT Event in June?
This was just an advertisement for Virgin Airlines opening a gate in Chicago and as far as I know they are just flying between Chicago and Los Angeles and Chicago and San Francisco. I'll keep my eyes open for deals for Orlando or Tampa.