My company just landed a corporate account in Chicago, and with a small team we’ll be visiting the city quite often. I’ve been scouting various hotels for our upcoming stays, and was excited to try the Waldorf-Astoria, but I have to say they really blew it. With every place I’ve been in Asia and Europe, they know how to deliver all the details to help make a stay exceptional; but they dropped the ball here like my favorite football team in nearby Buffalo. Upon arrival, I walked up to the front desk and stood there for a minute before the girl raised her head from her computer to acknowledge me. I called the operator to have more towels sent up and she transferred me to have housekeeping do it. When I asked for a cab out front, the doorman didn’t bother to ask where I was going so he could inform the cab driver.
You may think these are silly little oversights, but it’s a dozen things like this that separate a four star hotel from a five star. I have to give this place two stars because for all it claims to be (and Tripadvisor rates it as the only five star in Chicago) this is absolutely NOT a five star hotel. I know five stars, I’ve stayed in five stars, and this place was a slap in the face to all those resorts and lodges from the Seychelles to Singita to Singapore that actually know how to greet a guest at the desk, on the phone, and in the driveway. Maybe this place used to be better, and it must have been once to be rated this high, but laurels aren’t given out to be rested on.
On a side-note, my scouting also took me to the Four Seasons for a two-night stay and I have to admit that was a phenomenal experience. It was everything the Waldorf probably used to be and no longer tries to be. Apparently being #1 for so long got to their head?
The king is dead. Long live the king.
- 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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