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Monday Morning Consultant – Westin North Chicago review

Chicago is one of my favorite towns in the US, hands down. There also happens to be a few Starwood properties here and we ended choosing the Westin Chicago River North – this would be the first time staying at this hotel, as my preferred hotels are the W City Center or Chicago Hotel and Towers – but there is the 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting of Rheumatologists going on this week. Who knew that 14,000 rheumatologists descending on a city would take up all the upper tier hotel rooms?

I booked a room with the “better half” under her account which is a “Preferred Plus” membership account i.e. “One of those paid accounts through your credit card that gets you a free room, but is actually worthless to hotel staff”. When one does this, I’ve learnt that the front desk has the right to treat the reservation as a normal check  in, even if a “Plat” guest is the second person in the room. (This has personally never happened to me, but I’ve read about it?)

The check in process was painless and they recognized my “Plat” status immediately and upgraded me to the Westin Executive Floor i.e. Club Floor with a Deluxe Suite, even though they were completely sold out.  This is always a big plus, since they don’t have to do this, if the hotel is completely sold out.

  • Room

The suite was  in line with a Westin suite. Entrance was into a dining/living area with an odd hall down to a half bath. The room was standard, along with an iMac (this is the first time I’ve been in a room with a hotel computer in years), and a sofa/chairs facing a large flat panel TV on the wall. One thing – a decent TV with crappy reception is stupid – they could definitely fix that.

The bathroom is was stocked with traditional Westin White Tea amenities … nothing special in this bathroom. Double toiletries in the bathroom; shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower gel, mouthwash, shoe shine cloth, and shower cap.

  • Club Lounge

After unpacking in the room, it was time to head over to the Westin Executive Lounge. This is located also on the 20th floor, so it is definitely convenient for anyone on the “Club Floor”.

The club lounge was definitely a notch above the usual lounges in Chicago hotels. Comes with continental breakfast and evening snack fare. Great coffee machines there and wine machine!

Service and Amenities

  • Lounge is open from 6 AM to 10 PM
  • Continental Breakfast Hours
    • Monday – Friday 6 AM to 10 AM
    • Sat & Sun 7 AM to 11 AM
  • Evening Hors d’oeuvres 5 PM to 7 PM, beverage service continues to 9 PM
  • Other services
High Speed Wired/Wireless Internet Access Only Wireless Internet access on the Club Floor. Upload and download speeds were consistent with my expectations. Free for Platinum members – didn’t actually inquire to the cost.
Concierge
We didn’t use them but there is a concierge on staff located in the lobby, to your left as your enter.
Parking/Valet Absolutely ridiculous
– $38 Self Parking
– $52 For Valet Parking
This should be a crime. However parking in downtown Chicago can be extortionate … be warned about this.
Dining Restaurants are onsite, but as usual, I never eat in a hotel restaurant.
Pool None onsite
Gym Excellent facility onsite – had all the machines and free weights I needed, along with 10+ elliptical and cardio machines.
Business Center Hotel has one and offers typical services in there. Can’t offer much advice, since I always have my own laptop
  • Overall thoughts

This is a good business class hotel and personally rates a strong 7 for me, which is the expectation that I have for the Westin.

Staff attitude, conduct and support
Professional, courteous and very helpful – which is the standard expectation, nothing above and beyond for me
Hotel Cleanliness
Met with the Westin expectations.
Location Definitely a good location.
Easy access to the loop, Michigan Avenue, the lakefront and public transportation. You really do not need a car if you are staying at this property.
Would I return? Definitely
Family friendly?
I didn’t see any families onsite, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t be family friendly.
Good for business travellers?
This is a business hotel and is geared to those travellers and their expectations.
Value for price paid?
Using Cash and Points, I don’t think this is a value for 4800pts + $90 – however with the upgraded room, you can’t go wrong with thisone.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at [email protected]

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