Trip Report to Chicago/Affinia Hotel

Old Sep 10th, 2008, 06:44 PM
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Trip Report to Chicago/Affinia Hotel

HI, Thanks to those who helped me by giving information, especially how to take the train to the Miracle Mile area from O'Hare. Brief trip report...I flew on United Air from Hartford CT to O'Hare on a Thursday morning. United now has a section, immediately behind first class, that they charge a bit more for (approx 30.00). Worth it IMO, bc you get more leg room and boarding priority, which is good to make sure that you can put your carry on in the overhead bins, especially on a full flight. Took the blue line from the airport to the red line stop (Jackson) and then took the red line toward Howard and got off at the Chicago Avenue stop. Very easy, faster than driving in traffic, but still took about an hour. Then it was about 4 blocks to my hotel, The Hotel Affinia. In the pouring rain, it was not fun, but train only cost 2.00, so I was ok. The Hotel Affinia was great. Right in the middle of the Miracle Mile, but not on a busy street, it is on Superior Avenue, next to Neiman Marcus. It has a hip boutique feel to it, but not at all pretentious. Staff was friendly, young, not obnoxious as sometimes happens in the boutique places. The rooms are large and have flat screen tv's and the place definitely has a cool vibe. Beds were very comfortable, with luxurious linens. Bathrooms, clean, big, good water pressure, robes included. Did have to pay 10.00 per day for wireless internet. Because there were only 6-8 rooms per floor, hallway noise was infrequent, which is very important to me. I DID ask for a room on a higher floor than originally assigned and on a quieter side of the building to avoid street noise. I ended up on the 27th floor, and was not at all bothered by street noise. Room service menu smaller than usual, and pricey as one would expect. The hotel bar, C-View, is pretty well known and the elevators were always filled with non-hotel guests going up to the 29th (top) floor. The first night, I went to Coco Pazzo Cafe for dinner, as suggested by the concierge. It is a lower-priced version of a respected Chicago restaurant and was only 3 blocks away, but absolutely terrible. Almost inedible Italian food. Supermarket spaghetti sauce on boiled pasta would have been better. And the place was definitely not cheap. There did not seem to be a lot of choices for eating out on the Miracle Mile, except hotel restaurants and steak houses, which are great if you are on an expense account, but I was not. The second night, I walked the 4-5 blocks to the Whole Foods supermarket, where one can buy hot prepared entrees, pizza by the slice, soups, sandwiches. salads and desserts. Not a bad choice, since I was on a business trip alone, and kind of enjoyed just watching tv in my room and relaxing at the end of a very long day. For those on a real budget, I would not discount the idea of eating a meal in the Northwestern University Medical Center cafeteria. I have eaten in many hospital cafeterias in my lifetime, and this was the best by far. I was there for a conference, so had to eat there for lunch, but realized that it is the only place a block off the Miracle Mile where two people could eat a decent lunch for about 10.00. When I was not in my meetings, I checked out the shopping. Even on the Miracle Mile, a good-sized Filene's Basement beckoned. I also took advantage of the 11% Bloomingdale's discount by going to the Visitor's Desk on the first floor and just asking for the 11% one-day savings pass for visitors. The next night, I took the redline 2 stops south (5 minute trip) and shopped in the State Street theater district. Went to the original Marshall Fields (now a Macy's), Sears, and Loehmann's. There were a number of other stores in the area, most open until 9pm on a friday night. Made sure to grab a bag of the famous Garrett's popcorn, which was a perfect snack. Touristy, sure, but I was definitely a tourist. There were a fair number of panhandlers everywhere I went and they were fairly aggressive, even right in front of police officers (in the theater district). Trip back to the airport - decided to share a cab directly to the nearest blue line stop. Cabbie very unhappy when he heard we were going to the airport and kept trying to talk us into taking the cab all the way to the airport. I was not in a rush at all, so stuck with plan to take train. Cab to blue line (Clark/Lake) was about 6.00, but unfortunately, there was track work and midway through our travels, we were deposited off train, and had to make way to shuttle buses, which then took us on a slow route through the outskirts of the city and then put us back on the blue line. And once you get to the airport, you may have to walk a good distance to your terminal. A bit aggravating with luggage, and if I was in a rush, I may have missed my flight. I would definitely take a cab or airport shuttle if track work is going on in the future. I am trying to be "green", and take public transport whenever possible, but have my limits. So that is all for my trip. The Hotel Affinia is a great new option in Chicago. Avoid Coco Pazzo Cafe.
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Old Sep 10th, 2008, 07:12 PM
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Ohmygosh, Barb. Would love to read your trip report, but because there are no paragraph breaks, I couldn't do it. Could you please break it into paragraphs and post it on this thread again?
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Old Sep 10th, 2008, 07:20 PM
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As requested, now broken into paragraphs.....hope this helps.

HI, Thanks to those who helped me by giving information, especially how to take the train to the Miracle Mile area from O'Hare. Brief trip report...I flew on United Air from Hartford CT to O'Hare on a Thursday morning. United now has a section, immediately behind first class, that they charge a bit more for (approx 30.00). Worth it IMO, bc you get more leg room and boarding priority, which is good to make sure that you can put your carry on in the overhead bins, especially on a full flight.
Took the blue line from the airport to the red line stop (Jackson) and then took the red line toward Howard and got off at the Chicago Avenue stop. Very easy, faster than driving in traffic, but still took about an hour. Then it was about 4 blocks to my hotel, The Hotel Affinia. In the pouring rain, it was not fun, but train only cost 2.00, so I was ok.
The Hotel Affinia was great. Right in the middle of the Miracle Mile, but not on a busy street, it is on Superior Avenue, next to Neiman Marcus. It has a hip boutique feel to it, but not at all pretentious. Staff was friendly, young, not obnoxious as sometimes happens in the boutique places. The rooms are large and have flat screen tv's and the place definitely has a cool vibe. Beds were very comfortable, with luxurious linens. Bathrooms, clean, big, good water pressure, robes included. Did have to pay 10.00 per day for wireless internet.
Because there were only 6-8 rooms per floor, hallway noise was infrequent, which is very important to me. I DID ask for a room on a higher floor than originally assigned and on a quieter side of the building to avoid street noise. I ended up on the 27th floor, and was not at all bothered by street noise. Room service menu smaller than usual, and pricey as one would expect. The hotel bar, C-View, is pretty well known and the elevators were always filled with non-hotel guests going up to the 29th (top) floor.
The first night, I went to Coco Pazzo Cafe for dinner, as suggested by the concierge. It is a lower-priced version of a respected Chicago restaurant and was only 3 blocks away, but absolutely terrible. Almost inedible Italian food. Supermarket spaghetti sauce on boiled pasta would have been better. And the place was definitely not cheap. There did not seem to be a lot of choices for eating out on the Miracle Mile, except hotel restaurants and steak houses, which are great if you are on an expense account, but I was not.
The second night, I walked the 4-5 blocks to the Whole Foods supermarket, where one can buy hot prepared entrees, pizza by the slice, soups, sandwiches. salads and desserts. Not a bad choice, since I was on a business trip alone, and kind of enjoyed just watching tv in my room and relaxing at the end of a very long day. For those on a real budget, I would not discount the idea of eating a meal in the Northwestern University Medical Center cafeteria. I have eaten in many hospital cafeterias in my lifetime, and this was the best by far. I was there for a conference, so had to eat there for lunch, but realized that it is the only place a block off the Miracle Mile where two people could eat a decent lunch for about 10.00.
When I was not in my meetings, I checked out the shopping. Even on the Miracle Mile, a good-sized Filene's Basement beckoned. I also took advantage of the 11% Bloomingdale's discount by going to the Visitor's Desk on the first floor and just asking for the 11% one-day savings pass for visitors. The next night, I took the redline 2 stops south (5 minute trip) and shopped in the State Street theater district. Went to the original Marshall Fields (now a Macy's), Sears, and Loehmann's. There were a number of other stores in the area, most open until 9pm on a friday night. Made sure to grab a bag of the famous Garrett's popcorn, which was a perfect snack. Touristy, sure, but I was definitely a tourist. There were a fair number of panhandlers everywhere I went and they were fairly aggressive, even right in front of police officers (in the theater district).
Trip back to the airport - decided to share a cab directly to the nearest blue line stop. Cabbie very unhappy when he heard we were going to the airport and kept trying to talk us into taking the cab all the way to the airport. I was not in a rush at all, so stuck with plan to take train. Cab to blue line (Clark/Lake) was about 6.00, but unfortunately, there was track work and midway through our travels, we were deposited off train, and had to make way to shuttle buses, which then took us on a slow route through the outskirts of the city and then put us back on the blue line. And once you get to the airport, you may have to walk a good distance to your terminal. A bit aggravating with luggage, and if I was in a rush, I may have missed my flight. I would definitely take a cab or airport shuttle if track work is going on in the future. I am trying to be "green", and take public transport whenever possible, but have my limits.
So that is all for my trip. The Hotel Affinia is a great new option in Chicago. Avoid Coco Pazzo Cafe.
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 09:02 AM
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Sorry to be so pissy about this, but next time (not suggesting you re-do it again this time), in addition to creating paragraphs, it would help if you double-space between the paragraphs. Seriously.
 
Old Sep 11th, 2008, 09:06 AM
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You should also leave 2 spaces between paragraphs. In it's revised state it is still very hard to read.

Curious
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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Could you also translate it into Spanish, French and German? >)
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 10:03 AM
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I read it without problems; thanks for the great info. I have an upcoming conference in Chicago in October (hubby tagging along) & definitely useful information. I'll probably take the airport shuttle into the city if still track work in October!
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 12:25 PM
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I was so glad to read this trip report! Thanks so much for taking the time and all the detail. We'll be there the last weekend in Sept and are also staying at the Affinia and SO GLAD To hear all about it and that you were pleased!

I will for sure avoid Coco Pazzo and will be looking for budget places to eat also. But I have to admit, I hadn't thought of eating at the hospital!

We hope to eat our large meal mid-day and then find some places with small plates for dinner or maybe bars or clubs with snacks and drinks. Was there any other place fairly close by that looks promising?

Yikes, next to Neiman Marcus! Well, that sets the stage for the pricey meals I guess.

BUT

*I could never clothe my carcass
in clothes from Neiman Marcus!"

Couldn't resist.

By the way, if you wrote this on the word processor and then uploaded it, lots of times the paragraphs are lost, so don't worry about it.

We're coming by Amtrak, but have been warned that the RedLine and Brown Line (prob more) do all their construction from Friday afternoon until real early Monday morning!

And the bus schedules change on the weekend - so be careful if you are reading this for a future trip.

Transit Chicago will tell you all the latest work going on.

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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 02:49 PM
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Thanks, Barb, for reposting. I enjoyed your report!
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Old Sep 12th, 2008, 03:10 AM
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Thanks Barb for posting...I am slowly compiling info on Chicago and will bookmark The Hotel Affinia.
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