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“Not great so far...” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Waldorf Astoria Chicago

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Waldorf Astoria Chicago
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   11 East Walton, Chicago, IL 60611 (Formerly Elysian Hotel Chicago) (Near North Side)   |  
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Ranked #6 of 174 Hotels in Chicago
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Not great so far...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012 via mobile

We arrived today just past the 3:00 p.m. check-in time and our room was not ready for another hour. No apologies and the service was quite brusque. But the front desk was slammed, so we just hung out. Our luggage, which included our coats we placed on the bell cart not knowing we would have such a wait (so we couldn't go walk around) arrived about a half hour after finally getting into our room.

The warm apple cider and cookies in the lobby were a nice touch but were gone and not replenished 10 minutes into our hour wait. Our room is lovely, but there are little things, such as a greasy face-print on one of the windows (disgusting) and the tv channel guide, which was actually so filthy it stuck to the glass-topped dresser, that disappoint.

And although we booked our suite for two adults and two children, we still had to call for turn-down service to make the fold-out sofa, and when my husband called he was told he should've requested the service at check-in....Hmmm, he wasn't asked and, since they saw my children mighn't the front desk staff clued in? Little things in all, but as a former Four Seasons employee, I expected better of the top-ranked hotel in the U.S.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WAChicago, General Manager at Waldorf Astoria Chicago, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Dear LeahMI,

Thank you for your feedback regarding your present stay with us. I would like to offer my apologies for the inconsistencies you have experienced so far during your visit, especially with regard to your room not being ready at the time of check in, the delay in the delivery of your luggage, and your concerns related to our Housekeeping services. Your feedback is a valuable tool for our continued pursuit of excellence. Unfortunately, these valuable lessons have come at your expense.

Should you wish to discuss your stay any further, I invite you to contact me directly. I look forward to the opportunity to regain your faith in our ability to properly serve you.


Sincerely,
Richard R. Evanich
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,378 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (259)
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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

By way of background, I'd read raves about the Elysian (the name of this hotel before Hilton took it over), and in 2012 suggested to a colleague that he and his wife check it out during a weekend trip they'd planned to Chicago. They loved it, and couldn’t say enough about it.

I paid $450/night (room rate plus taxes) for an Astoria suite, but as an HHonors gold member was upgraded to the Luxury Suite.

My partner and I chose to stay at the Waldorf Astoria (the new name for the Elysian since the property was sold to Sam Zell and Hilton took over the management of it) during our Christmas visit. We were there for four nights this week.

We arrived very early, and found out that our suite had been upgraded to a "Luxury Suite" but they needed time to finish prepping it. Completely understandable, as we got there in the morning. Upon returning we were given keys and were informed our luggage was waiting for us in the room; we made our way upstairs.

The suite was very cleanly decorated, very sleek, and highly functional. The B&W speakers in the bedroom worked with my iPhone, wireless access was complimentary with no passcode required, Ferragamo toiletries were provided, the fireplace was a wonderful touch, the room rates include long-distance telephone calls within the USA(!), the views terrific (we were on a high floor, and could see all the way to Lake Michigan between the One Mag Mile and 900 North Michigan Ave. buildings) from the bedroom windows as well as the balcony, and the service mostly exemplary. I called down to ask that all the drinks and shelves for the refrigerated minibar be removed (I like to stock the fridge with things I like when I'm in hotels), and someone was up in under five minutes. Additional pillows were delivered promptly. There is a small fleet of Lexus automobiles to drop off guests within a two-mile radius of the hotel. Solid training is clearly given; when I called the hotel to ask if they could do pick up, the person who answered the phone let me know that it was only a drop-off service (which makes sense - this is a hotel, not a limo company, etc.) without having to transfer the call to another department.

Three niggling observations of where they can improve:

1) I'm a weirdo in that I curl up into a ball when I go to bed, and wrap the covers under my body. In almost all hotels (In the USA I'm mostly a Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt customer) housekeeping makes the bed by tucking in the top sheets, meaning that I have to pull them out, which means the bottom sheet comes out with it, and then I have to tuck in the bottom sheet again. This was fine when I was 30, but now I'm a number of years older and it's killer on the back. Night one, I dealt with it. Night two, after the bed was made, I dealt with it but called the service desk to ask that the top sheets (the bed top consists of sheet, comforter, sheet, with the “bottom” top sheet tucked in) not be tucked in, as that would spare housekeeping, as well as me, needless back strain, and I was assured this could be accommodated. Night three, I noticed that it was not accommodated so called down again. This time I was told that the person to whom I spoke would contact housekeeping personally to make sure night four was rectified. Night four rolled around and it was only partially right - the top sheet was tucked in from about the middle of the bed all the way around the bottom and half way up the other side. I would suggest to the Waldorf Astoria Chicago that this is a particularly easy request to accommodate. I was not asking for a tree from the tundra, or a koala from the Sydney zoo. I was asking for the top sheet to remain untucked.

2) The beds are kind of "springy" and you may want to test some of them out...

3) A slightly bigger deal: Am I supposed to tip or not? I asked someone early on if the strict no tipping policy was still in place, and was told that "No tipping is expected" in reply. Which seems altogether ambiguous. Either the "strict no tipping policy is in place," or tipping is at every guest's discretion, which would, frankly, put it in line with every other hotel. So, Waldorf Astoria Chicago manager (you seem to read a lot of these reports), could you clarify the hotel's position on tipping? I'm not opposed to it - I was born and raised in the USA and have no problem navigating tipping customs, however a clear statement on whether or not this old Elysian policy is still in place would be helpful. One of the things that attracted me to the property was the lack of nickel-and-diming, and all the rules were laid out. I appreciated the 18% gratuity automatically being added to the restaurant bill and explained clearly, as it took so much of the “thinking” out of the stay.

So, all told, the Waldorf should be giving the Peninsula (I've not stayed there), The Ritz (I've stayed there), Four Seasons (I've stayed there), and Park Hyatt (I've stayed there) a good run for their money, and I hope this property keeps up their standards (and please fix the bed tucking thing and clarify the tipping!). Overall this was one of the most memorable stays I’ve had in any Chicago hotel.

Room Tip: Rooms ending in 04 are on the southeast corner of the building and house some of the "Luxury Su...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WAChicago, General Manager at Waldorf Astoria Chicago, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Dear William G,

Thank you so much for taking the time to post your review of your recent stay at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago on TripAdvisor. We truly value your feedback, for it enables us to continuously strive for improvement in the quality of our products and services.

I am delighted to read that you enjoyed your Luxury Suite, including its various amenities and the view from your balcony. I regret, however, to learn about the inconsistencies you experienced with our Housekeeping services, including our mattresses. I have brought your concerns to our Director of Housekeeping’s attention for further review. The Waldorf Astoria Chicago has indeed a no tipping policy, like the Elysian did. I truly apologize for not providing with a clear reply when you first inquired about it.

We will look forward to our next opportunity to properly serve you when your travels next bring you to Chicago.

Sincerely,
Richard R. Evanich
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

We live in the Chicago area, so if we're going to stay downtown, it has to be worth it. This hotel is beautiful. The staff was incredible, our room was gorgeous and the room service breakfast was delicious! The hotel is located in the Gold Coast area of the city, so it's clean, safe and there are many wonderful shops, bars and restaurants near by.
We had a fireplace, seperate bedroom, giant bathroom with tv in the mirror and a balcony you could actually walk out onto.
We booked through the Lexus drivers website and got complimentary room upgrade, breakfast and valet parking. The parking alone was worth it because it would've been between $50-$60 for one night.
If you can swing it, definitely stay here - it's worth it!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WAChicago, General Manager at Waldorf Astoria Chicago, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Dear LuvTrvl31,

Thank you so much for your feedback regarding your recent stay at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago and for choosing our hotel when you stay downtown. I am delighted to learn that you enjoyed your suite and all of the perks that are included when booking though the Lexus drivers website. We truly appreciate your patronage and we will look forward to welcoming you back in the very near future!

Sincerely,
Richard R. Evanich
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

I stayed at the Waldorf for 3 days last week during Xmas and was very pleased the hotel and it's staff, particularly Chad Gordon. It is the top rated city hotel in the US, and while I am not sure I totally agree with that it was a pleasant change from the large/conventional megahotels in Chiacgo and elsewhere. The location is perfect, rooms are very quiet, food is very good, and the SPA is wonderful. Only issue is not being able to use the fireplace in the room because of the order generated.
I will return.

Room Tip: upgrade to corner suites
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WAChicago, General Manager at Waldorf Astoria Chicago, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Dear rsgtx,

Thank you for posting your review of your recent stay with us and for choosing the Waldorf Astoria Chicago as your hotel of stay during your Christmas vacation with your family. Thank you also for your kind remarks about Chad; he is a great asset to our team. I am pleased to learn that you enjoyed your suite, the hotel’s location and our Elysian Spa. However, I regret to read that you couldn’t use the fireplace in your suite. Your comments have been brought to our Director of Engineering’s attention. We will make sure that on your next visit with your family you are able to fully enjoy all the amenities in your room.

Sincerely,
Richard R. Evanich
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, MI
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

The most beautiful hotel room ever! My husband and I enjoyed a quick romantic getaway to Chicago during the holiday season. The Waldorf Astoria was as lovely as advertised. Everyone we came in contact with was happy, helpful and gracious. The suite was fantastic and featured a separate living area with fireplace and balcony. I never once noticed noise from other rooms or the hallway. I can't wait to return!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WAChicago, General Manager at Waldorf Astoria Chicago, responded to this review, December 31, 2012
Dear Irish89Mom,

Thank you so much for choosing the Waldorf Astoria Chicago for your quick romantic getaway during this holiday season. I am delighted to learn that you enjoyed your suite with all of its unique amenities, especially the balcony and its fireplace, and that our service team was able to efficiently assist you throughout your visit. We truly value your loyalty and will look forward to welcoming you and your significant other back in the very near future.

Sincerely,
Richard R. Evanich
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

The decor and friendly staff make this hotel an excellent choice. We walked all over town in the fabulous shopping districts, along the lake shore, to various great restaurants, to the Chicago river and Navy Pier.

Our bed linens were quite soft and the mattress very comfortable. Our views were lovely. It was quiet and relaxing. The bathroom was appointed in gorgeous marble and contemporary lighting fixtures with a huge shower and tub.

The spa, pool and fitness center were fantastic. Yummy & healthy snacks and drinks were made available as an extra nice touch.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WAChicago, General Manager at Waldorf Astoria Chicago, responded to this review, December 31, 2012
Dear Kathy G,

Thank you for choosing the Waldorf Astoria Chicago as your hotel of stay during your last visit to the Windy City. I am delighted to learn that you found the hotel conveniently located, our bed linens comfortable, the bathroom in your room comfortable and tastefully decorated and the Elysian Spa and Fitness Club enjoyable. Thank you for your kind words with regard to our service team. We will look forward to our next opportunity to serve you when your travels bring you back to Chicago.

Sincerely,
Richard R. Evanich
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

I have been here a number of times and I always enjoy it. The rooms were great and the attitude was mostly great. But I found the concierge desk to be lacking in attention. I asked them in very explicit terms to work on something, the task got dropped when one fellow handed over his work to the next at a shift change, and my late night dinner reservation which had been available, did not get made. My family had been wanting to try this restuarant for months and came into town for the weekend. He didn't seem terribly bothered by it either. Then the Plan B got botched as well. I finally just took care of it on my own. I was also not pleased when they did not accept gift cards which they should have, I was in a hurry and I did not have time to deal with it at check out. Not sure I will return again. But the spa is nice and the restaurant service was impeccable.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WAChicago, General Manager at Waldorf Astoria Chicago, responded to this review, January 1, 2013
Dear Chris D,

Thank you for your review of your recent stay with us and for visiting us again! I am delighted to learn that you enjoyed again our guest rooms, our Elysian Spa and our restaurant Balsan; however extremely disappointed and concerned that the remainder of this last experience, especially with relation to the dinner reservation for you and your family and the confusion regarding the use of gift cards was far below our standards.

We truly value your loyalty. I would love the opportunity to personally speak to you and discuss what we can do to have you visit with us again.

I look forward to the opportunity to regain your faith in our ability to properly serve you.

Sincerely,
Richard R. Evanich
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Address: 11 East Walton, Chicago, IL 60611 (Formerly Elysian Hotel Chicago)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Near North Side
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 174 Hotels in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Waldorf Astoria Chicago 5*
Number of rooms: 188
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The AAA Five-Diamond Waldorf Astoria Chicago(formerly The Elysian Hotel)is located in the heart of the prestigious Gold Coast neighborhood amognst the Magnificent Mile and Oak Street famed restaurants, retailers and lakefront. The award-winning 188-room hotel through innovative services and technologies, creates a new experience in luxury – energetic and fashion forward, warm and welcoming, and fresh and engaging. Amenities include a 14,000 square-foot spa & health club; 4,500 square feet of private event space; European-inspired bistro, Balsan; haute bar Bernard's. ... more   less 
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