Chicago Hotels

Old Dec 30th, 2004, 04:25 PM
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Chicago Hotels

We are going to Chicago for a weekend in February and want to stay at a nice hotel near the Magnificent Mile. Since it will most likely be quite cold we want a hotel that is convenient to shopping and trains. We have narrowed it down to The Whitehall Hotel, The Drake Hotel and the Westin on the Magnificent Mile. Any and all suggestions are truly appreciated.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 04:58 PM
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I have only stayed at the Westin out of the three you mention. It's a nice hotel, but be sure to ask for a corner room, if available. I had one and it was a very nice large room, but another friend stayed there also, and got a pretty small room that wasn't in a corner.

I don't know much about the Whitehall Hotel, but I do know the Drake is a good choice...sort of the "grand dame" of Chicago hotels...can't go wrong there if you are looking for a classy elegant atmosphere.

One other hotel to throw in the mix is the Omni Hotel about 1/4 block off the Mag Mile...it's an all suites hotel, and quite nice and conveniently located for the price.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 09:47 PM
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I stayed at the Westin once. It was ok, by my room was just standard and had a boring view of the flat roof of a shorter building behind the hotel.
I was in Chicago at the end of November and stayed at the Sofitel, just off Water Tower Place, and loved it. Lovely room, very good amenities, helpful staff, great bar, nice restaurant (their macadamian pancakes made for a terrific breakfast). I've stayed at over a dozen Chicago hotels and this is my favorite.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 06:19 AM
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We recently stayed at the Westin. The room was smallish, but the service and people were excellent. We had a room on the 15th floor with a great view. It was near the bus stop, but no trains.

We got the room on Priceline for $90, when the lowest otherwise was $200.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 08:15 AM
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Do as Jed says. It looks scary but it's easy. www.Priceline.com put in that Magnificent Mile area (WaterTower) only and bid. You will get better for much less $$$. Last minute is TERRIFIC in Chicago right now and Feb. is almost as good.

By the way, The Drake is not in the area you think it is. If you want to stay Michigan Ave. - it is a cab ride or walk really from there. If you are open to some 4 or 5 star hotels in great locations- just put in Mag.Mile and River location checks. You will get the Swissotel, Intercontinental, Westin or others at the junction that allows quick access to both Loop and Michigan Ave./Water Tower locations.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 08:50 AM
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JJ5 I have to correct you... The Drake is on Michigan Ave. only two blocks from the Water Tower.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 10:24 AM
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I would caution against the Swissotel. Nothing wrong with the hotel per se, but it's not that close to the Mich. Ave. shopping and if it's really cold and windy, that walk will feel rather long! Also, there aren't any cheap places to have breakfast nearby, which means having breakfast in the hotel (if you eat breakfast) and it's fairly expensive and the hotel's restaurant, The Palm, is also expensive. The other thing I didn't like about the Swissotel is that hotel guests have to pay to use the hotel's fitness facilities (except for certain packages). If I'm paying over $250 a night for a single room (which I was), I expect to be able to use the hotel's fitness facilities at no extra charge. It just felt like we were being nickel and dimed at the hotel for every little thing.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 10:33 AM
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There is no way I would pay those kinds of prices when someone at the very same hotel, getting the very same service is going to get those exact conditions for less than of third of what you are quoting.

The reason you are charged at the Swissotel for the physical fitness facilities is that you have the best view of the curve of the entire downtown area from that location. I stayed at the Swissotel last winter and never felt nickled and dimed in any way. We walked everywhere and there is an inside walkway that goes to the Intercontinental and all the way to the River and Mich. Ave. from there without ever going outside.

You are right about the Drake, as I had it confused with Palmer House. Those old places are fine for the tradition but are totally not worth the difference in $$$$. And that is not just my opinion. If you really want to be in the best location, my girlfriends and I walk everywhere and it is right on the River (Omni/ Rennasance etc.)
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 10:39 AM
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JJ5, I can assure you no one pays one third of that rate when I am in Chicago. It's for one of the busiest conventions of the year and 90% of hotel rooms are blocked off for the convention.
The walkway is not always open, they were doing some work on it when we there.
I don't know anyone who uses a fitness facility for the view, especially when you can get nearly the same view from many rooms. That's one of the flimsiest excuses for an extra charge I've ever heard.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 11:06 AM
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Right now on Priceline you can them for a third of that. People who don't use it will not acknowledge the fact. You can. And I and a SIL went there for the view, as we didn't have any workout clothes at the time. At night time it is one of the best views in Chicago.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 11:18 AM
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Those that do the Mag Mile on Priceline typically can get the Hyatt Regency for around $43-48 a night, especially on the weekends if there isn't any big event going on. Otherwise, the other hotels may be available for $75-90 for a 4 star in that area. Good luck! Priceline is the way to go.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 11:26 AM
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JJ5, what you can find NOW is irrelevant. When I am in Chicago (the week after Thanksgiving every year for 15 years and counting) you simply can NOT get a room at the Swissotel for that rate on Priceline. Believe me, many people have tried and failed to get any kind of decent downtown Chicago room. When 65,000 conventioneers descend on the city for a week, no business class hotel is fool enough to throw away rooms at cheap prices, in fact, they are contractually bound to hold 90% (or more) of their rooms for the convention attendees at fixed rates and the entire hotel sells out for that period months in advance. That is why I paid over $250 a night for a double room, single use, not because I don't know how to use Priceline.
I stand by my healthclub complaint-- Who on earth goes to work out for the view? When I work out, I'm looking at my heart rate, the distance I've covered, the calories burned, the weights I'm lifting, everything BUT the view.
At any rate, you can go up and look around for FREE, so they're not charging for the view as you claim.

Overall, the Sofitel was superior in every way (and cheaper to boot, even for that same time period) and if you check the reviews on Trip Advisor, you'll see most travelers rate the Sofitel well above the Swissotel. And for a shopper who wants to focus on the Mag Mile, any of the three hotels listed by ellie originally would be better located than the Swissotel.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 03:12 PM
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I haven't read through the whole thread so forgive me if I'm repeating but I would recommend trying Priceline, a friend of mine just got the Hyatt Regency for $44 in Feb. The difference in savings will allow you to spring for a cab, making your location almost irrelevant. www.biddingfortravel.com will give you an idea of what people are paying, what hotels they are getting and what hotels are in what area. North Michigan Avenue is the best for shopping, the loop is closest to the museums and River North is where many of the restaurants are.

As BTilke mentions, if there is a large convention in town, then hotels will be hard to find on Priceline, here's a good link for the convention schedule in Chicago, you don't need to woory about the ones with 500 delegates, but if you see 40,000, good luck getting a hotel.

http://www.chicagotraveler.com/chica...ws-conferences

Chicago has a lot of special promotions in Jan and Feb since it is low tourist season, check out www.877chicago.com and click on Winter Delights to see some of the special events they have.
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