Radisson Blu Chicago - Master thread

Old Jan 27, 12, 3:52 am
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Thumbs up Radisson Blu Chicago - Master thread

The bonus point promotion lured me away from my normal Chicago choices of The Westin Michigan Avenue and The Park Hyatt. After one stay, the Radisson Blu Chicago has earned my business.

I have no status with Club Carlson, so I had no leverage for any kind of consideration in that regard. I think that's what impressed me the most.

After some travel upsets, I arrived in Chicago at 5AM on the day of my reservation. After some time in the United Club, I decided to make my way to the hotel and simply buy an additional night (as in, the night before) so I could make my way to my room for some much-needed sleep.

The cab driver didn't know the property, so I was glad I had the address handy. It's helpful to know that they hotel is part of a larger condo product called "Aqua". It's a brand new, beautiful building located behind the Hyatt, just south of East Wacker on N. Columbus.

Walking in was a sight. I'm not very good at describing decor, but it's very modern and very beautiful. I guess it should be, as a brand new property. The hotel, while modern, is still very warm.

Speaking of warm, I arrived at the front desk and was greeted by a delightful young lady. I told her my situation and that I'd like to add a night to my reservation and get into a room right away. She explained that the hotel had been sold out the night before, as it was this night, and there were no rooms ready. It surprised me, because I only paid $169 for my room; cheaper than the Westin MA, and most certainly cheaper than the PH. Nonetheless, there were no rooms. Keep in mind this was 6:15AM.

At that moment, a woman came and checked out. My agent told me that she was leaving a room that was the same type I reserved, and I could have it as soon as it was cleaned. The housekeeprs didn't come til 8, but she thought she could have a room for me at 9.

Oh - and by the way, she insisted that she would find a room for me; and that she didn't plan to charge me for a 2nd night. They wanted to ACCOMMODATE me. Wow.

I find it interesting that she made this commitment without calling anyone. Empowering a front desk agent to make decisions is smart on the hotel's part. Immediately, I'd gone from first-time customer to knowing I'd be back at some point.

I went and ate a delicious breakfast in Felini, their restaurant. The menu is very European. For example, no pancakes. No waffles. The waiter commented that they were discussing that, particularly for when children were there. The menu wasn't particularly kid friendly. I had perhaps the best French Toast OF MY LIFE, and OJ that tasted fresh squeezed, but I can't be sure. Entree, bacon, juice, coffee - $22. Reasonable, if not comparable to other hotels of the same level. The menu was expansive, inventive, and gave lots to try.

At lunch, Felini turns into its normal Italian restaurant. I ended up here for lunch on the second day with my business acquaintances who picked it without my knowledge or input. The meal with no booze for 4 was $130 with tip and worth every penny. Even my Chicago-native dining partners raved that it was on the "really good" list of restaurants for them. All of us had soupls and pastas, none of which were the standard spaghetti-and-meatballs fare. It was a rich, delicious menu that truly made decisions difficult. The restaurant gets an A from me, despite the aluminum chairs that were quite cold on the seat on a brisk Chicago Winter day.

As promised, at 9:15, my room was ready. I was put in a room on the 6th floor with a view of buildings, but not an unpleasant view. Again, having reserved their lowest-price King room, I wasn't expecting much. I was surprised. It was large by many standards, and at the risk of a backhanded compiment to Radisson, it was refreshing to be at one of their properties that wasn't worn down. It's brand new, after all. Like it's name, the Hotel has rooms that are based in blue - in many shades, and very tasteful. My room had a good size desk and work area, a chair with ottoman, and a very comfortable king bed. The bathroom was also above average in size with slate floors and shower, sink, and toilet all able to be separated by sliding doors. The shower was big enough for three. and was one of those "right-over-the-top-of-your-head rain types. On the wall was a shower wand as well.

I was tempted into room service by the standard "special" they were offering, which they called "continental". For ONE, it was a basket of breads including a roll, pain au chocolat, a danish, a croissant, and some nut bread. It also came with a serving of yogurt with granola and a bowl of fruit, mostly berries; and a plate of ham and swiss cheese. Coffee and OJ were included. It was $20, if I remember. Truthfully, there was enough for two people to have dined. I ordered from the menu card the night before, and it arrived exactly as I had requested.

The hotel has a business center where internet and printing are free, and where there were 8 computers that I counted. It was an easy place to print a boarding pass.

There is a beautiful fitness center, steam, sauna, and an outdoor pool. All of this is shared with the condo residents. I didn't have time to experience any of these facilities, but they looked great.

After 13 years on the road, I'm not concerned with suites or gigantic rooms like I used to be, unless my other half is with me and we are on a multi-night stay. That said, I was impressed with the type of standard room I received as a no-status CC member.

Checkout was smooth as could be. Truth be told, I was sad to leave.

The hotel is obviously brand new. It's easy to love something so new and beautiful. But what I really loved was the friendliness of the staff. The air of the hotel is what I always wished the W brand were like.....fashionable and modern, but with ZERO attitude. I tell people I'm not fabulous enough to stay at W properties, even though I do sometime. The brand experience at Radisson Blu Chicago had what I believe W has always gone for.....chic, modern, elegant, stylish; but I didn't have to endure the phoniness of "welcome to whatever whenever what is your wish?".

The hotel was just friendly people doing friendly business. And they won my frequent business in Chicago.

Give this place a try!
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Old Jan 28, 12, 11:54 am
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Thanks for the great review!
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Old Jan 28, 12, 9:45 pm
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Glad you had a great time! My wife and I stayed there at the beginning of Jan and were disappointed with the service but really enjoyed the room. It was beautiful, modern, and had a fantastic view of the park. I'm really glad you had a great front desk agent. Ours was very flustered, and seemed very bothered to check us in, while we were the only ones there. Additionally, our status wasn't acknowledged (which isnt a huge issue, but is nice) until i asked about the lounge and was told it was only for people who had status within their company, which is when I had to point out my status and she looked again and responded "oh you do have status." We probably wont go back because of the poor service, but again the rooms were beautiful and the I'm glad you enjoyed your stay!
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Old Jan 28, 12, 11:05 pm
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Many thanks for the review! I was considering a weekend stay, and your review means that I almost certainly will.

This point in particular won me over:

Originally Posted by shinbal View Post
I find it interesting that she made this commitment without calling anyone. Empowering a front desk agent to make decisions is smart on the hotel's part.
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Old Jan 30, 12, 11:59 am
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Thanks for the great review!

Originally Posted by shinbal View Post
The menu is very European. For example, no pancakes. No waffles. The waiter commented that they were discussing that, particularly for when children were there. The menu wasn't particularly kid friendly. I had perhaps the best French Toast...
Is French Toast European because it's from France? Of course, in France, they just call it "toast."

Mike
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Old Jun 9, 12, 6:12 pm
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Radisson Blu Chicago review

We just got back home from the Radisson. This place is just awesome.

Parking is underground, as with most of Chicago's hotel, it is $43 daily and does not offer in/out privilege. Valet parking is $53 daily. A bit high in my opinion and unfortunately I will not get CC points for parking as it appears that it is being handled by another entity. The underground parking was a bit of a maze, as it handles more than just the Radisson, and depending on where you are parked, you may not be close to the elevators that are for the Radisson, otherwise you come out from the side and have to walk around the building.

The lobby was beautiful, nice fresh light brown/cream color, the lighting was soft, not overpowering. From the lobby you have access to Filini restaurant and bar. It seems that it was always busy with people walking in and out all the time. The bar was all white, with all sorts of bottles throughout the wall. I did not have a chance to try the bar or restaurant. Check in was fast and quick, I was greeted by my name and thanked for being a CC member. I was asked if I have stayed before at Radisson, which I haven't. The check in area was lightly colored and very bright lighting. I booked a executive/business room package, which allowed me early check in, I actually checked in @ 11am. ^ Our room was on the 17th floor with lounge access. The common hallways where light green/gray in color with soft lighting. I got 2 queen beds, overlooking Chicago River and navy Pier. Room decor was modern, European style, carpeting on the bedroom was actually light blue, also the comforter. It took me some time to get used to the color, but it was not bad at all. Bed was comfortable, 2 plushy pillows per bed, with 2 extras on the closet. The mini bar was completely full with amenities and the prices I found them to be reasonable. The mini bottles were around $5-$6, soda $3. My only complaint is that they did not give you any room to cool a bottle of water or can of soda. The bathroom was very spacious, the shower and toilet where side by side, like in a closet, sharing a glass sliding door. The shower is similar to those of Aloft hotels by Sheraton, with a rainshower head, and a shower wand. This hotel does not skimp on towels, we got 4 each, large, medium & small. They were very soft and heavy. The whole bathroom floor was dark with glass crystals that gave different colors as the light shined. My wife was very pleased with the amenities kit in the bathroom, though I forgot the brand name. The coffee machine was a Nespresso and it came with 6 pods of coffee.

The lounge was in the 17th floor also, by the elevator area, overlooking Millennium park, it also has a deck too. It was also lightly colored with blue chairs. It is open from 6am-10pm. You need room key for access to it. It is unmanned between 10am-4:30pm. They have a wide selection of magazines and a tv viewing area. You can rent out free of charge an ipad if you have a business package. Breakfast is from 6am-10am, it consisted of oatmeal, plantains, hard boiled eggs, pastries and fruits. Refreshment had juice, soda, water (gas and no gas) a coffee and tea area. Lounge is still open after breakfast, except they only leave the tea, coffee (Nespresso machine), soda water and the fruit tray. From 4:30pm they have a welcome reception with wine, champagne and beer. They also had some chips, crackers and nuts. Beer was Bud, Bud light, Stella, Lagunita, and 2 local Chicago craft beer from Argus Brewery.

The third floor gives you access to the indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, exercise room, and an outdoor recreation area with a park like setting. Nicely landscape with a .5 mile softly padded exercise track that goes around the hotel, and pool area. There are some bbq grills throughout the area for the residents, cabanas, and benches all around.

Second floor gives you access to the restaurant.

We were very pleased with this stay, the hotel is beautiful, fresh, crisp and hip. I will certainly recommend it to anyone. it is within walking distance to Millennium Park, Michigan Ave, and State St. ^^^^^^^^^

Last edited by arollins; Jun 9, 12 at 9:08 pm
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Old Jun 10, 12, 9:29 pm
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Thanks for the review:-:^:-:
Originally Posted by arollins View Post
Parking is underground, as with most of Chicago's hotel, it is $43 daily and does not offer in/out privilege. Valet parking is $53 daily.
highway robbery
Originally Posted by arollins View Post
There are some bbq grills throughout the area for the residents, cabanas, and benches all around.
so a guest could grill out?? Pretty amazing for a city location of a hotel.
Originally Posted by arollins View Post
The lounge was in the 17th floor also... Breakfast is from 6am-10am, it consisted of oatmeal, plantains, hard boiled eggs, pastries and fruits. Refreshment had juice, soda, water (gas and no gas) a coffee and tea area.
Plaintains??!! wow, I would have never guessed plaintains to be served at a Chicago hotel, San Juan sure, but not Chicago.
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Old Jun 17, 12, 10:04 pm
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Where would be a better place to park for 3 days (Thurs- Sunday) if you didn't plan on using your vehicle after driving downtown?
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Old Jun 18, 12, 2:15 pm
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Staying at the hotel tomorrow night and looking forward to it. Bummer about the very high parking rates...but you are in the city I guess. Any favorite spots to eat a fairly casual dinner within walking distance? Nothing real fancy (read: no tablecloths), just trying to keep it under $50 or so for a table for two. Heck, I'm happy with a burgers, chicken, and salad type place even.
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Old Jun 18, 12, 3:19 pm
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Originally Posted by arizonawildcat View Post
Any favorite spots to eat a fairly casual dinner within walking distance? Nothing real fancy (read: no tablecloths), just trying to keep it under $50 or so for a table for two. Heck, I'm happy with a burgers, chicken, and salad type place even.
I rarely eat in this area as the property is located in the heart of over-priced/iffy quality restaurants, the cheapest eats have to be from the African food truck that normally sits on the corner of Columbus & Randolph (just south of the Blu). Don't get me wrong, there are some very good restaurants in the area, just not cheap ones.

One can get pricey to go &/or food items at the market www.fox-obel.com which is 1/2 mile away and has a bistro/cafe besides the grocery area.

I'd personally take public transportation (or a quick cab ride) & get out of the nearby vacinity if looking for reasonable dining but I'm very picky when it comes to shelling out $ for dining, if I'm paying some top dollar for food I know I can get cheaper elsewhere, it better be worth it, mediocre to high dollar paid doesn't cut it for me.

A nearby, recent pricey (in my opinion) restaurant that made the grade with me was Henri www.henrichicago.com but you will be well north of your $50 mark.
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Old Jun 18, 12, 4:56 pm
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I love Fox & Obel. Forgot that was an option...thanks!!

Last edited by arizonawildcat; Jun 18, 12 at 6:03 pm
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Old Jun 21, 12, 7:17 am
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NYT review of the Radisson Blu Chicago: http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/06/17...-chicago.html?
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Old Jun 22, 12, 12:14 pm
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Originally Posted by arollins View Post
Bed was comfortable, 2 plushy pillows per bed, with 2 extras on the closet.
Any have any more input on the beds? Just wondering if they are sleep number beds or not - I don't really care for them.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 12:19 pm
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No, no sleep number

Just regular beds. No sleep #. Very comfortable.
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Old Jul 7, 12, 3:05 pm
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Originally Posted by arollins View Post
Just regular beds. No sleep #. Very comfortable.
agreed, the comfort of the beds/linens & bright/clean look & smell to the room was the highlight of our recent stay at the Radisson Blu Chicago.

We had some issues with our stay:
1) room AC goes only to 65 degrees, at which point the AC & fan shuts off, I woke in a pool of sweat in the middle of the night, crappy AC system.

2) signage from the car garage to the lobby is spotty at best, there should be very bold & clear signage & there is not.

3) no pay per view/movie selection

For someone making use of activites/attractions in the Loop/N Michigan Ave area/Millennium & Grant Park, this property has a great location.

The outdoor common areas are very inviting (however not during the recent 100+ degree days and very warm nights). As a Gold we ended up with a corner room w/a nice wrap balcony, but no chairs on the balcony

For water, booze & other food items, one block away is a grocery market open 7 days a week, 7am to midnight, on the corner of North Stetson & South Water: www.bockwinkels.com

For a low priced sandwich/burger/bar option, 3 blocks away on Michigan Ave is SweetWater Tavern & Grill. www.sweetwatertavernandgrille.com For brunch they serve a killer mushroom hash & eggs.

Last edited by Sweet Willie; Jul 25, 12 at 3:06 pm
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