Every once in awhile, a frequent traveler comes across a hotel at which they have such an amazing stay that they feel the need to share their experience with the world in great detail. For me so far in the last six months of travel, that hotel is the W Chicago City Center. What makes this even more special is the fact that this is my second time staying here. I thought my first stay was splendid, so to have it be even better the second time around is something I wasn’t expecting. Or maybe I should have.
My last stay here was in late December 2011 for NYE, and this time around, I was back in Chicago for business. I arrived a little later than expected on a Wednesday night, tired from a day full of travel, delayed flights, missed connections and other annoyances that come with frequent traveling. The only thing I had on my mind when arriving here initially was to take a quick shower, get something to eat as I had eaten nothing for several hours, and then get some much needed rest. At the front desk - Amanda Sweetman, a talented Welcome Agent welcomed me back and got me checked-in…she had actually checked me in when I was here the first time in December, so to once again be greeted by the same person who is able to recall your previous stay is a very positive (and rare) thing. It makes you feel more comfortable, and the stress from a busy day of travel eases up a bit as well. I had mentioned that it’d be nice to get some deep-dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s at this hour and even before I could check the restaurant hours on my phone she quickly checked for me. Not only that, but she checked other options as well, before I even asked what else was around the area since Lou’s was closed. Just like my previous stay, she once again went above and beyond what one can usually expect from a Welcome Agent and took the customer service experience to a higher level that is so rare these days. My stressful day was starting to turn around within the first few minutes of arriving here….
I had been upgraded to a Fantastic Suite on the 5th floor, and this hotel does a great job of recognizing SPG Platinum guests. The room itself was large and in immaculate condition, the modern furnishings in line with other new W’s around the country. I took a quick shower and headed back downstairs to have a quick bite at IPO per Amanda’s suggestion. Since she suggested the Tofu sandwich, I decided to go ahead and give that a try and it turned out to be an excellent choice! I’m not really a huge fan of Tofu but IPO makes a terrific sandwich and the prices here for any dish is very reasonable. I went back up to my room to call it a night and had a wonderful nights sleep on the incredibly comfortable W bed.
The next day when returning to the hotel from business, I needed to take a couple business partners out for dinner and drinks. One of the other things this W has that make it special is Laurelin Hefter, the W Insider for Chicago. Laurelin had reached out to me prior to my arrival regarding anything I needed in terms of dining reservations or getting suggestions for an evening, and even gave me plenty of options to pick from. I needed a nice place to take my partners out to, so I let her pick for me since I have a hard time deciding when being given several options that all look amazing to me. She made reservations on such short notice at Roka Akor for dinner, and then The Aviary for drinks afterwards. I’ve had some good Japanese before in NYC and L.A., but her suggestion was the best Japanese food I’ve ever had. My guests and I were raving about the food all evening, and Laurelin (once again) delivered on a dining suggestion that remains one of my best dining experiences of the year. I thought the dining experience was amazing, but the drinks experience at The Aviary was one to remember as well. I’ve used Concierge at other W’s and other hotels, but have experienced nothing like the W Insider in Laurelin Hefter and the concierge team at the W City Center. She knows the city about as well as anyone, and promises to deliver on a level that is far superior to any concierge experience one will ever have. This has been the case a couple times now, and the W Insider here is among the best of all W’s. Let her and the concierge team plan an evening for you, and it will be one you will remember (and only in a good way).
When checking out the next day, I came across Amanda again who made checking out quick and effortless, then asked me how my stay was and that they look forward to welcoming me back again next time and to reach out in advance if I never need anything prior to my next stay. The little things like this make this hotel stand out from others, and since I had a great experience the first time around this latest experience shows that this hotel is consistent on its service. Brian Herro, the Welcome Desk Director has an incredibly talented staff here and Welcome Agents like Amanda Sweetman set a new standard for guest services. The Concierge team here is no ordinary Concierge team, and W Insider Laurelin Hefter is a superstar that will make sure you have an incredible experience. My business partners still thank me…days later about their experience at Roka Akor and The Aviary, and it’s all due to the W Insiders actions.
This stay convinced me that the W City Center is a hidden gem of the W Hotel brand. Many hotels out there have nice rooms, nice facilities and amenities that will impress any guest, but the talented staff members here have redefined hospitality and taken it to new heights that I have never experienced before. The W Chicago Center is all about the complete experience, and I can’t wait to be back here again!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to that toddlin' town. Set in the middle of the famed Chicago Loop, W Chicago - City Center is close to the Willis Tower, the Chicago Art Institute, Millennium Park, and the theater district. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- w Chicago - City Hotel Chicago
- w Chicago City Center
- w Hotel Chicago
- w Hotels Chicago