Chicago was our first stop on our epic USA trip. After a really long day of flying and waiting, and flying, and waiting, we arrive. Only thing is we arrive in Chicago the Thursday before the Chicago Marathon. The airport is packed and the hotels are all booked up. Luckily we did book our hotel in advance on hotels.com and got a pretty decent deal, but even then our options were limited. Accommodation in Chicago is expensive at the best of times so add in a marathon and you will be paying over the odds for basic accommodation. So we went over our budget and booked Hotel Chicago in the Illinois Medical District. Here are our thoughts.
I could barely keep my head up in the shuttle bus as we drove through downtown Chicago to get to our hotel. We chose to pay the $94 return for two of us on the GO Airport Express to get dropped off right at the hotel door. We ended up spending over 1.5 hours on the shuttle because we got stuck in some pretty heavy traffic. You could also get on the subway for a lot less money and time. The closest stop is Racine station, and the hotel is about a 10 minute walk from there.
For jet lagged first time visitors the location really isn’t ideal. There is not much around the hotel at all. We arrived at around 8pm and we were tired and hungry but couldn’t see a lot of places to go eat. Instead we feasted on Cheetos and Dr Pepper from the hotel vending machine before crashing for the night. That being said the subway station isn’t far and it is only a few stations until you are surrounded by the city’s skyscrapers again.
Our check in experience was pretty uneventful. The hotel seemed pretty busy at the time so we didn’t get the opportunity to speak to staff for long before being pointed in the direction of our room.
Considering the hotel is a three star, the room was actually ok. Don’t get me wrong it was really basic and space was quite limited. But it had everything we needed including a comfortable bed and clean bathroom. Overall the level of cleanliness was ok. There were a few stains on the walls, but I guess you do get this in hotels. One thing to bear in mind is that the floorboards are wooden. That means you can hear every creak from the room above you. It wasn’t an issue to begin with, but someone made a noise complaint against us when I got up to go to the toilet in the night. I mean really!
We paid over £500 for 3 nights. I think this is more to do with the marathon than anything, but I can tell you now if it was any other time of the year it would not have been worth it. It was way too expensive for what we got and the location of the hotel.
For me the staff really made the hotel. On our last morning one of the reception staff went above and beyond to help us find our shuttle bus back to the airport. Due to streets being closed off because of the marathon we couldn’t get picked up out the front of the hotel. He actually came out with us to try and help find out where we were supposed to be. This was really appreciated.
I’m not going to be one of those people who complains about staying in a 3 star hotel but expects 5 star service. This hotel really did have everything that you could need, and it was clean and comfortable enough. We were slightly disappointed with what we paid but in hindsight maybe we shouldn’t of planned a trip around the Chicago Marathon. If we had the choice we wouldn’t stay here again unless it was a LOT cheaper. The location wasn’t great and there really wasn’t a lot of anything in this area.