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-   -   LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton {US-IL} (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hilton-hilton-honors/1723507-londonhouse-chicago-curio-collection-hilton-us-il.html)

jerry a. laska Nov 10, 15 12:13 pm

LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton {US-IL}
 
The LondonHouse Chicago, a Curio Collection Hotel, is scheduled to open Spring 2016. Located at 85 East Wacker Drive At North Michigan Avenue Chicago IL 60601. The website is up and running:
http://londonhousechicago.com/

The LondonHouse is currently accepting reservations for arrival on June 26, 2016.

As a frequent visitor to Chicago I'm looking forward to the opening. The rooftop space looks like it will be popular in the summer. Additional pictures and discussion here:
http://chicago.eater.com/2016/2/12/1...taurant-lounge
http://chicago.curbed.com/archives/2...pdate.php#more

Miesque May 28, 16 8:08 pm

LondonHouse must be either ahead of schedule or doing a small soft opening because I did a last minute check this morning on availability for downtown Hyatt and Hiltons for Monday night and low and behold the LondonHouse popped up at the same rate I was paying for the Hyatt Regency Chicago so I promptly switched. I already had a reservation for LondonHouse for the Fourth of July so I booked the same room I did that evening "King Vista Room" Will be sure to post about the stay.

Did some googling and it does appear they are doing a soft open starting yesterday http://chicago.eater.com/2016/5/26/1...pening-gallery

Non-NonRev May 28, 16 8:27 pm

What a good location for both Loop and River North - looking forward to the on-site report.

Miesque May 30, 16 7:03 pm

I am in the midst of my one night stay. I booked a Vista room and was upgraded to the Vista suite. It is well decorated and apportioned but the one thing that is noticeable to at least me is the room/suite is definitely on the narrow side (it was especially noticeable to me since I was in an Executive Suite at the Hyatt Mag Mile which has an open spacious feel to it).

The elevators are different here in that there are no numbers in the elevator, you press the floor you are going to on a pad to summon the elevator (I had never seen this before and curious if others have). Complimentary HHonor water is two bottles of small Voss. Room service was good, had the filet mignon and truffled mashed potatoes.

I just went up to the Rooftop bar area to check out the action and was not allowed to see the actual rooftop bar, just the inside bar area adjacent to the elevator. I was told it was already pretty full (it was just before 8 PM Chicago time) That left a bad taste in my mouth as an actual hotel guest. I was annoyed because I actually made an effort to change to a blazer and pants to head up there (had been in robe and slippers).

Non-NonRev May 30, 16 7:56 pm


Originally Posted by Miesque (Post 26703383)
I just went up to the Rooftop bar area to check out the action and was not allowed to see the actual rooftop bar, just the inside bar area adjacent to the elevator. I was told it was already pretty full (it was just before 8 PM Chicago time) That left a bad taste in my mouth as an actual hotel guest. I was annoyed because I actually made an effort to change to a blazer and pants to head up there (had been in robe and slippers).

Thanks for the report so far.

Just guessing, but it's possible that management of the rooftop bar is contracted out to a separate entity. If so, that management has control of admissions and being resident in the hotel does not override that. Still, it would bug me if it happened to me, you'really not being over-sensitive.

MDtR-Chicago May 30, 16 8:10 pm


Originally Posted by Miesque (Post 26703383)
The elevators are different here in that there are no numbers in the elevator, you press the floor you are going to on a pad to summon the elevator (I had never seen this before and curious if others have).

We have that kind at my office. Theoretically, the elevator control system learns the travel patterns in the building and makes the operation more efficient.

Never seems to work out that way for us, tho.

Non-NonRev May 30, 16 9:20 pm

OK, detective NNR reporting in. Here's part of the explanation:

Guaranteed access to the rooftop is being sold through an online ticketing system.

The system is Tock, which was developed for Michelin 3 star restaurant Alinea.

You select a time and designate your party size. Minimum 4.

$50 per person, and you get the table for 2 hours.

Still in soft opening, officially opens on June 1.

Over and out! :)

Truffles May 30, 16 11:08 pm

So apart from the Lobby bar, there is nowhere to eat or drink without booking in advance?

I was going to try this instead of The Wit, but I don't think I will now.

Miesque May 30, 16 11:08 pm

Thanks for the scoop NNR. ^

That sort of arrangement automatically excludes someone like myself. There are more things I capriciously spend money that I wish were the case, but unless it was a very special unique circumstance, I am not spending $200 to reserve a cocktail table for myself and up to three other friends for a mere 2 hours. I somewhat feel like I have given up some sort of hipster card for making such a comment, but I am now old enough to also comment "Whatever":rolleyes:

Back to the actual hotel analysis. I took an evening shower and the water pressure and water temperature were more lacking for what one would expect in such a nice hotel bathroom. Temp was "strong lukewarm," which is probably fine with many but I like it hot. Also, the showerhead is non adjustable, but one of those wide heads which by definition needs strong water pressure to be at its optimum flow.

There is a Nespresso in the room, there are Nespresso tablets by the machine but no cups other than the water glasses in the bathroom.

ORD-TGU May 31, 16 6:41 am


Originally Posted by Miesque (Post 26703383)
I am in the midst of my one night stay. I booked a Vista room and was upgraded to the Vista suite. It is well decorated and apportioned but the one thing that is noticeable to at least me is the room/suite is definitely on the narrow side (it was especially noticeable to me since I was in an Executive Suite at the Hyatt Mag Mile which has an open spacious feel to it).

The elevators are different here in that there are no numbers in the elevator, you press the floor you are going to on a pad to summon the elevator (I had never seen this before and curious if others have). Complimentary HHonor water is two bottles of small Voss. Room service was good, had the filet mignon and truffled mashed potatoes.

I just went up to the Rooftop bar area to check out the action and was not allowed to see the actual rooftop bar, just the inside bar area adjacent to the elevator. I was told it was already pretty full (it was just before 8 PM Chicago time) That left a bad taste in my mouth as an actual hotel guest. I was annoyed because I actually made an effort to change to a blazer and pants to head up there (had been in robe and slippers).

Your profiles stats HH Diamond, besides upgrade and water, any other benefits? Does the hotel have a lounge? How about breakfast experience?

arlflyer May 31, 16 6:53 am

Would definitely be curious to hear if there are any Diamond amenities beyond the suite you lucked into...I have a stay booked in a couple weekends just because I was interested in this new property but if they're not doing anything for Diamonds I would rethink that and just go with an old standby like the PH or WA.

Kacee May 31, 16 8:46 am


Originally Posted by Miesque (Post 26704110)
There is a Nespresso in the room, there are Nespresso tablets by the machine but no cups other than the water glasses in the bathroom.

Brilliant! They can advertise Nespresso in the rooms without having to ever buy any more capsules.

pauleeepaul May 31, 16 9:05 am


Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago (Post 26703577)
We have that kind at my office. Theoretically, the elevator control system learns the travel patterns in the building and makes the operation more efficient.

Never seems to work out that way for us, tho.

The London Hilton (PL) has it too, frightfully annoying.

Miesque May 31, 16 9:20 am

I just got back from Breakfast which was down in the lobby bar and the breakfast voucher which indicated (full breakfast on it) basically you could chose whatever you wanted off the list which was not very long (I went with the ham and cheese quiche and it was done attempting to be fancy). The coffee is really good coffee, very smooth, I had several cups. I noticed last night the room service menu was also pretty lean in terms of options. There is not a buffet or anything like that if you were looking to eat and run.

To answer a post above which I missed last night, it does appear that lobby bar is the only option that is not reservation in advance (the stuff up top). The set up is very casual there (two lounge type of chairs with a small table in between), you are not sitting at a real table. I did flip through the wine list and at least for the Champagne I thought the pricing was reasonable. Incidentally, a side impact of the real restaurants being upstairs is was a pretty distinct aroma of broiling meat in my room starting about 5-5:30 PM. I am on the 18th floor and the first food area is on 21. If you were a vegan (which I am definitely not eating medium rare filet for dinner) or if you were on a strict diet, I could see it driving you crazy.

There is no lounge at the property to answer another question.

Miesque May 31, 16 9:24 am


Originally Posted by arlflyer (Post 26705197)
Would definitely be curious to hear if there are any Diamond amenities beyond the suite you lucked into...I have a stay booked in a couple weekends just because I was interested in this new property but if they're not doing anything for Diamonds I would rethink that and just go with an old standby like the PH or WA.

The suite was actually the next available level room since I had booked a Vista Room which is at a premium to their regular King room. Its not as big of an upgrade as it might first appear.

Miesque May 31, 16 9:51 am

Funny side note about the towels, I noticed on of the handtowels was Conrad towel (new) so I looked at the some other towels hand and bath towels and the label had been cut off :D

Miesque May 31, 16 9:59 am

5 Attachment(s)
Here are some pictures (hopefully this works have not posted pics here before)

Miesque May 31, 16 10:05 am

2 Attachment(s)
Apologies for the bathroom shot in the above post being sideways. If you look straight out you the big Trump letters of Trump International are facing you smack in the face since its right across the from the London House. However if you look sideways there is a nice view of the river.

I do want to reiterate that this room/suite, while nicely appointed, is narrow in a Midtown Manhattan sense (which I personally do not like). The suite area of the suite is very tight you could only put two people there on the coach as its a small loveseat. There is a small fridge under the desk which is on the bedroom side.

Room came with robe (comfy terrycloth) and slippers. Toiletries are Malie +Goetz.

Non-NonRev May 31, 16 10:09 am

Good pictures.

The long-term plan is for a "destination" restaurant on the ground floor.

As for the Nespresso capsules, if you want to restock on your own, there is the big Macys (formerly Marshall Field) about 4 blocks away. :D

Miesque May 31, 16 10:19 am

By the way, the set up of this suite is a great illustration of why I for the same sq ft would prefer a junior suite set-up because its more open making you feel like you have more space.

arlflyer May 31, 16 10:59 am


Originally Posted by Miesque (Post 26705782)
I just got back from Breakfast which was down in the lobby bar and the breakfast voucher which indicated (full breakfast on it) basically you could chose whatever you wanted off the list which was not very long (I went with the ham and cheese quiche and it was done attempting to be fancy). The coffee is really good coffee, very smooth, I had several cups. I noticed last night the room service menu was also pretty lean in terms of options. There is not a buffet or anything like that if you were looking to eat and run.

Interesting. Well, better than a continental-only option. Since it's so early, I wonder if they're just getting the F&B going. The website mentions some sort of actual restaurant on the 21st floor; that strikes me as a more logical place to serve breakfast. However it just calls it "LH on 21" and links only to a rendering. So maybe they haven't secured a chef or built it out yet?



Originally Posted by Miesque (Post 26705800)
The suite was actually the next available level room since I had booked a Vista Room which is at a premium to their regular King room. Its not as big of an upgrade as it might first appear.

Yeah, interesting. I'm using a cert so just the base level room for me. Not expecting much of an UG. Also, all of the times I've searched I've never seen a suite for sale so it seems like they've sold them out or are holding them back for something (Upgrades? Haha!)


Also, regarding earlier posts on their rooftop bar, I inquired how guests might have access, and they responded by linking to a website for paid reservations - which are sold out through June 30 - and then saying that they also take "walk ins from our guests based on availability". Though given that reservations are sold out I would not think there to be much of said availability. Either way seems somewhat distasteful IMO given the room rates they are asking. I am sure others will disagree as is always the case. :D

KENNECTED May 31, 16 11:40 am


Originally Posted by Miesque (Post 26703383)
I am in the midst of my one night stay. I booked a Vista room and was upgraded to the Vista suite. It is well decorated and apportioned but the one thing that is noticeable to at least me is the room/suite is definitely on the narrow side (it was especially noticeable to me since I was in an Executive Suite at the Hyatt Mag Mile which has an open spacious feel to it).

The elevators are different here in that there are no numbers in the elevator, you press the floor you are going to on a pad to summon the elevator (I had never seen this before and curious if others have). Complimentary HHonor water is two bottles of small Voss. Room service was good, had the filet mignon and truffled mashed potatoes.

I just went up to the Rooftop bar area to check out the action and was not allowed to see the actual rooftop bar, just the inside bar area adjacent to the elevator. I was told it was already pretty full (it was just before 8 PM Chicago time) That left a bad taste in my mouth as an actual hotel guest. I was annoyed because I actually made an effort to change to a blazer and pants to head up there (had been in robe and slippers).

Yes this is very popular in Europe and recently here in NYC. The only other Hilton, in the States (I know of), to use this elevator feature is Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

Truffles May 31, 16 11:54 am

I'm struggling to see any real positives here, which is a shame as I was really hoping a Curio in Chicago would be good. Things like no cups for the coffee will be sorted out pretty quickly, but the lack of eating and watering holes and the small rooms seem more permanent.

KENNECTED May 31, 16 11:56 am


Originally Posted by Miesque (Post 26705977)
Here are some pictures (hopefully this works have not posted pics here before)

Posting in a Fluffy Terry Cloth rob! ^ ^ ^ For a min I thought you were going to go (fill in any D list celebrity bathroom selfie) style and break the internet! :eek::p:D

I love pictures with reviews as visuals always help.

KENNECTED May 31, 16 12:03 pm


Originally Posted by Truffles (Post 26706605)
I'm struggling to see any real positives here, which is a shame as I was really hoping a Curio in Chicago would be good. Things like no cups for the coffee will be sorted out pretty quickly, but the lack of eating and watering holes and the small rooms seem more permanent.

It's Chicago, there are plenty of restaurants over various style and price point within a mile of the entrance. Dining options is not an issue.

Small rooms? We've had a report about a narrow room. Without seeing more reviews on more guest rooms, I don't understand how this is a negative.

arlflyer May 31, 16 12:25 pm


Originally Posted by KENNECTED (Post 26706658)
Small rooms? We've had a report about a narrow room. Without seeing more reviews on more guest rooms, I don't understand how this is a negative.

For some context:

The LH rooms page states that a regular King room is 316 ft2 and a regular King Vista room is 360 ft2. Whereas the Vista suite is 402 ft2 and the regular King suite is 530 ft2 (yes that seems backwards but it's what it says...).

At the Waldorf-Astoria Chicago, the regular King room is 371 ft2, the Deluxe King room is 632 ft2, and the suites are 775 (Waldorf), 1124 (Luxury), and 1264 (Gold Coast) ft2.

At theWit, a Classic King room is 315 ft2, a Spa King room is 445 ft2, a Spa Suite is 585 ft2, and a Paramount Spa Suite is 815 ft2.


So the base rooms themselves do not seem small; however the suites - of which the OP was in one - are, quantitatively, small compared to similar Chicago properties, not even to speak of the palatial suites one would encounter in many Asian, Middle Eastern, etc. properties.

jerry a. laska May 31, 16 1:34 pm

Story about the soft opening of the rooftop (mostly photos of the view):
http://chicago.curbed.com/2016/5/27/...ftop-deck-view
http://chicago.curbed.com/2016/5/26/...-hotel-opening

arlflyer May 31, 16 1:41 pm

Another article, including a scan of the bar menu:

https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2016...er-is-now-open

Miesque May 31, 16 2:12 pm


Originally Posted by arlflyer (Post 26706774)
For some context:

The LH rooms page states that a regular King room is 316 ft2 and a regular King Vista room is 360 ft2. Whereas the Vista suite is 402 ft2 and the regular King suite is 530 ft2 (yes that seems backwards but it's what it says...).

At the Waldorf-Astoria Chicago, the regular King room is 371 ft2, the Deluxe King room is 632 ft2, and the suites are 775 (Waldorf), 1124 (Luxury), and 1264 (Gold Coast) ft2.

At theWit, a Classic King room is 315 ft2, a Spa King room is 445 ft2, a Spa Suite is 585 ft2, and a Paramount Spa Suite is 815 ft2.


So the base rooms themselves do not seem small; however the suites - of which the OP was in one - are, quantitatively, small compared to similar Chicago properties, not even to speak of the palatial suites one would encounter in many Asian, Middle Eastern, etc. properties.

Thank you so much for the suite size quotes. When I stay at the Waldorf I stay in either the Waldorf or Luxury (the later of which is quite an experience). I stay at the Drake a lot in their Lakeview Junior Suite (awesome views of Lake Michigan) and that is 600 sq ft of open space on a corner of the hotel so it feels very spacious. (by the way I think the Drake is the best bang for the buck, no its not as fancy as the Waldorf or LondonHouse, but the service is excellent and it has a nice older charm to it and the rooms are decent sized and the views of Lake Michigan are hard to beat) The night prior to my stay at the LondonHouse I was at the Hyatt Mag Mile in the Executive Suite which is 735 sq ft and it has an open spacious sort of layout. When in NYC I stay at the Conrad which the regular suite is 430 sq ft but its a bit wider and a bit more open architecture so it doesn't feel as constrictive as the Vista Suite did.

Miesque May 31, 16 2:30 pm

My overall sentiment after last night (as I sit at O'Hare watching a storm roll in) is that it is a property that has promise. The staff was excellent which is always a plus and it does have a lot of nice touches. That said, whether I stay here again will depend on what the rates are relative to the other properties I am prone to stay at. My gut pricing instinct is that the rates will be just under that of the Waldorf and if that was the case I would either splurge for the Waldorf or go the Drake. The feeling I had this morning was that I rather missed the old Conrad, I loved their rooftop bar (which was obviously less grand but I could just wander up and enjoy a nice cocktail and bite to eat at the end of the day). Admittedly, I have become a big Conrad fan based on the limited US exposure I have had and hope the new Chicago Conrad fits the bill.

Even after I got used to the elevator scheme I still did not like it. The rooftop not being accessible (at least as far as I was concerned also irked me).

One thing I did really like was the relatively close proximity to the Blue line so no transfer needed to the Red line such as is the case with the Mag Mile/Gold Coast properties (unless you walk from the Blue Line, which I actually did on Sunday to get to the Hyatt Mag Mile because I just hated dealing with the transfer with luggage)

ORD-TGU Jun 1, 16 7:19 am


Originally Posted by Miesque (Post 26707467)
My overall sentiment after last night (as I sit at O'Hare watching a storm roll in) is that it is a property that has promise. The staff was excellent which is always a plus and it does have a lot of nice touches. That said, whether I stay here again will depend on what the rates are relative to the other properties I am prone to stay at. My gut pricing instinct is that the rates will be just under that of the Waldorf and if that was the case I would either splurge for the Waldorf or go the Drake. The feeling I had this morning was that I rather missed the old Conrad, I loved their rooftop bar (which was obviously less grand but I could just wander up and enjoy a nice cocktail and bite to eat at the end of the day). Admittedly, I have become a big Conrad fan based on the limited US exposure I have had and hope the new Chicago Conrad fits the bill.

Even after I got used to the elevator scheme I still did not like it. The rooftop not being accessible (at least as far as I was concerned also irked me).

One thing I did really like was the relatively close proximity to the Blue line so no transfer needed to the Red line such as is the case with the Mag Mile/Gold Coast properties (unless you walk from the Blue Line, which I actually did on Sunday to get to the Hyatt Mag Mile because I just hated dealing with the transfer with luggage)

Disappointed too. I like the WA and the huge spa. Did this hotel have a spa?

Crossing my fingers for the Conrad. Although due to its location I doubt any nice views, but if they have a lounge and a full breakfast, I will be stopping by.

arlflyer Jun 1, 16 7:55 am


Originally Posted by ORD-TGU (Post 26710988)
Disappointed too. I like the WA and the huge spa. Did this hotel have a spa?

Nope. Some marketing release somewhere said something about an "arrangement" with the WA to let LH guests use their spa. As if the two properties are close to each other...and I am sure it will be at a cost, if everything else is an indicator...:rolleyes:

The LH seems like a nickel-and-dime fest. Room rates look to be $500 and up, up, up and you're paying for location, newness, and buzz. No real amenities that I can see other than breakfast. Can't even get into the hotel bar on a $500/night rate. I'm going to give it a try with an open mind using one of my certificates in a couple weeks, but for the rates they're charging I don't see myself coming back.



Originally Posted by ORD-TGU (Post 26710988)
Crossing my fingers for the Conrad. Although due to its location I doubt any nice views, but if they have a lounge and a full breakfast, I will be stopping by.

Me too but I am not optimistic given that the trend has been away from more included amenities and towards more paying for everything. I think the Palmer House is going to remain my good friend in Chicago.

Miesque Jun 1, 16 8:42 am


Originally Posted by ORD-TGU (Post 26710988)
Crossing my fingers for the Conrad. Although due to its location I doubt any nice views, but if they have a lounge and a full breakfast, I will be stopping by.

Looking at the website for the new Conrad it does not appear that there will be a lounge, but the prior Conrad did not either.

I also noticed it looks like they reduced the number of suites at the new Conrad.


On a side note, it seems lounges are falling out of favor with new properties in these big cities (at least in the US). Of all the Hilton properties to open in NYC the past few years none have a lounge.

steve4031 Jun 1, 16 1:31 pm

Sounds like another version of the White. You pay a lot of money for the hotel to treat you like they are doing you a favor letting you stay there since you are not part of the beautiful people set who "belong in the bar". I can skip it.

jerry a. laska Jun 2, 16 4:07 pm

Another photo tour of the hotel:
http://chicago.curbed.com/2016/6/1/1...tel-photo-tour

IsleOfMan Jun 3, 16 10:06 am

Based on on the rates I'm seeing, I'll be sticking to Palmer House in the colder months, and one of the all-suites properties in the warmer months, and maybe theWit when my DT BMG cert arrives... I might pop into the lobby bar for a drink and look around, though.

Miesque Jun 4, 16 2:53 pm

Just went over to TripAdvisor to see what had been posted so far and got a chuckle out of the following comments based on my experience (glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read the Vista Suite comment :D):


So, as with most things brand new there are some hiccups they are trying to work out.
First, our room didn't have any cream or coffee cups to enjoy the nespresso machine our first morning. So, I go down to the lobby and see a spread of muffins, fruit, yogurt, plates, silverware and coffee urns. So I help myself. Well, it's not free - even though it sure looks like a help yourself. Even though nobody hassled me it was a little strange. However, the panoramic view from the hotel lobby while you sip on coffee is outstanding!

The LondonHouse has a fabulous rooftop bar! Or so, I've heard. Unfortunately, nobody informed us, upon check-in, that reservations are required and you HAVE to do them online. We weren't the only ones though. Several people got turned away like us only to be offered the indoor bar on the top floor which, if I'm going to pay alot for a drink and get slow service, I'd rather do it with a spectacular view!

I stayed at the new Londonhouse Chicago, and though I had booked a one Bedroom Suite, they put me in the Vista Suite, which is a suite in the way that Golden Corral is fine family dining. The living area is very small (my knees banged against the table). The shower temperature was lukewarm until I was finished (10 minutes), though I will chalk that up to growing pains, and there is no minibar or snacks available for purchase (since I did not arrive until 9:15 p.m. I was unable to order room service, as I had not eaten since noon).

The room was very clean and the bed was comfortable. I realize that this hotel just opened, but the room size reminds of rooms in Europe.

I also feel that this is another of the new line of hotels that is more interested in their Rooftop Bar, and the hotel portion is an afterthought.

toomanybooks Jun 9, 16 10:58 am


Originally Posted by arlflyer (Post 26711148)
Room rates look to be $500 and up, up, up and you're paying for location, newness, and buzz. .

Was considering a staycation downtown this Saturday. Checked ChicagoHouse and room $650 plus tax.

But only 70K HH. If worth anywhere near $700+, not too bad.

Blues Festival destroys deals here.

arlflyer Jun 9, 16 11:22 am


Originally Posted by toomanybooks (Post 26753477)
Was considering a staycation downtown this Saturday. Checked ChicagoHouse and room $650 plus tax.

But only 70K HH. If worth anywhere near $700+, not too bad.

Yeah, for sure, on a straight CPM basis that is definitely a good deal. But the operative question is, as you note, whether the hotel is worth what they're charging. The LH is $650 tomorrow night, but the PH is $250 and the Hilton Chicago is $200. Is the LH 3x the hotel of either of those? Dunno, but skeptical...

EDIT: Since the previous posting a couple hours ago, LH has dropped their rate to $350 for tomorrow night so perhaps they realized they were thinking a bit highly of themselves. :D

arlflyer Jun 13, 16 1:09 pm

So, as folks reading my above posts may discern, I went into a stay at this property with somewhat low expectations, thinking it was going to be a nickel-and-dime type of operation where no one would give me the time of day. I was 100% wrong.

Upon showing up at noon, we were greeted by numerous staff and politely directly up to the second-floor lobby. The lobby space is very modern and crisp, with the check-in desk and bar situated next to big bank of windows providing expansive views of river to the west. Upon my simply asking to drop bags until check-in, the agent insisted on checking available inventory and placing us into an upgraded room, and up we went. The room that we received was the "corner studio" layout. While not a true suite it is basically a large room with the living space partitioned off using a permanent swiveling divider containing the mirror on one side and TV on the other. This made the space feel quite large and open, whereas the "true" suites are long and narrow as Miesque has noted.

The furnishings of the rooms were top-notch: high-end finishes, extremely comfortable bed, and a spacious bathroom layout with a big walk-in shower and a very large window looking out over the Michigan Ave bridge.

As far as the public spaces go, I think that they did a very good job from a design perspective. They did not try to go hyper-modern nor complete throwback to the jazz club that lends the property its name. I think it was very tastefully done.

With respect to amenities, they seem to have focused the efforts on maximizing guest rooms and not building in too much space for other things. The gym is quite small and limited (though flawlessly finished), and the spa is just treatment space without a sauna, etc. that you would expect in a full (European or similar) spa.

Other posters have noted the elevator system, and while it breaks against most people's ingrained intuition, once you get used to it it does seem to work quite well. Even at busy times we often had an elevator to ourselves and went straight to/from our desired floor. One thing I noticed was that they must not have a service elevator because many times there were numerous staff using the guest elevators, including housekeeping, servers going to/from the rooftop bar, etc.

Then there is the aforementioned rooftop bar...what an interesting experience. Let's just say that they take this very seriously. When we showed up right at opening time on a weekday (it worked out with our schedule), the hostess was quoting a 30+ minute wait. Mind you there was no one up there at the time. Her position was that they were "fully booked with reservations". Now I understand that the tables can obviously be reserved, but to just get a drink and stand somewhere and drink it (which we made clear was all we wanted to do)? I would think there would always be some room for this unless they were at capacity. Anyhow, we sort of tried to reason with this individual for a few minutes, then a manager happened to be passing by, overheard and realized that she was being somewhat ridiculous, then took us up ourselves where we proceeded to have a drink. Of course the whole time we were up there (~30 minutes) the place was at all of like 10% capacity. So sort of a weird setup but I guess it's designed for the assumption that they're going to be at full demand 100% of the time. Great views though!

Breakfast was done in the lobby bar. Basically they set up continental items (nice pastries, yogurts, fruit) on the bar and had a custom omelet station at the other end and wait staff doing coffee service. It was simple but high quality - the omelets were great!

During breakfast I got to chatting with a manager who had been involved in the hiring and launch. I noted that it seemed they had not ramped up their full F&B capacities and he said that was correct; the long-term plan is for a restaurant in the first-floor space but they are looking for the right partner (Can we have too much Brendan Sodikoff? I say they should try and find out.). So there should be an evolution in that space in the coming months/years. At a higher level, this manager was an absolute pleasure to talk to, and went into some detailed discussion of the work that he had done in staffing and launching the property. It's clear that the management team here is extremely professional and personally invested in success.

The service was on a level I have never experienced at a US hhonors property. We were met with a smile and greeted by every single staff member we ever encountered. Period. I noted this to the manager I chatted with and he said he simply made sure to hire the best people. Well done, I say.

In my opinion these folks are running the best hhonors property in Chicago at the moment. The hard product, service level, location, and hhonors benefits combine to create an offering that is tough to beat.

It will be interesting to observe the future of the hhonors property landscape in Chicago. This property just added 450 rooms to the top of the market. The Conrad is coming soon with 300 more. Can all this capacity be absorbed without a hitch? Will there be downward price pressure? Will the properties ratchet up benefits to fight for customers? Should be real interesting. I know this much - If I were the WA I would be feeling very nervous right now.

Some pictures:

Michigan Avenue entrance

https://c5.staticflickr.com/8/7046/2...db320f50_b.jpg

https://c5.staticflickr.com/8/7284/2...29f47b19_b.jpg


Elevator lobby

https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7441/2...00d02504_b.jpg


Main lobby

https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7714/2...5bedb7f0_b.jpg


Guest room hallway

https://c6.staticflickr.com/8/7308/2...044c8fb6_b.jpg


Corner Studio

https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7368/2...a6aab2f5_b.jpg

https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7726/2...0ddac6a9_b.jpg

https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7407/2...77f8f696_b.jpg

https://c4.staticflickr.com/8/7087/2...b8482516_b.jpg


Bathroom window view...

https://c8.staticflickr.com/8/7422/2...10d4cc02_b.jpg


Rooftop Bar Panorama

https://c5.staticflickr.com/8/7138/2...552a47e6_b.jpg

https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7355/2...4349e8fc_b.jpg

https://c5.staticflickr.com/8/7256/2...550e94c6_b.jpg


Sunrise from the room window

https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7332/2...640d8c0d_b.jpg


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