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“Would stay there again, not for people with acrophobia.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Embassy Suites Hotel Chicago Downtown Lakefront

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Embassy Suites Hotel Chicago Downtown Lakefront
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   511 North Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL 60611 (Near North Side)   |  
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Warm Winter Rates: $89/ni
Ranked #71 of 174 Hotels in Chicago
New Jersey
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Would stay there again, not for people with acrophobia.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2011

I stayed at this hotel in July on a work-related trip. The hotel is centrally located minutes from the lakefront, Navy Pier, downtown attractions, the Magnificent Mile shops, etc. I arrived on a Monday afternoon by an airport shuttle bus, which dropped me off at the main entrance, which is surprisingly located in the back of the hotel. The reception is located on the third floor (you have to take elevators to get there). The hotel lobby was nice and bright and very open (from reception floor all the way to the top). It was very noisy, however, as there were a great number of people waiting in line at the bar for the daily manager's reception. The registration process was quick and painless. My room was on the 13th floor, and set in a little corridor off the main balcony facing the open lobby. This was great two-fold: 1) no noise and 2) better for someone who is afraid of heights. The reason I mention acrophobia is because almost all of the rooms face the open lobby, separated only by a walkway and a plexiglass barrier (low). I was getting vertigo every time I had to walk to and from my room to the elevator. Although I didn't visit with my child, as a parent, I Would have been concerned about the kids safety as they could easily lean over the banister and plunge 10+ stories down. The suite was nice and clean. The living room had a wardrobe closet with a flatscreen tv, a sofa bed, coffee table, an armchair and a table/desk with 2 chairs. There is a little wet bar/kitchenette area in the hallway separating the living room from the bedroom with a sink, coffeemaker, mini fridge and a microwave. Opposite the kitchenette is a bathroom with standard features. The Bedroom was nice and had a TV armoir with yet another sink. I found myself not really using the living room as I was staying there alone, but it would have been great for entertaining or hanging out with family if more people were sharing a suite. There is a window with shutters facing the hallway and I did have some privacy concerns as they are not completely impermeable to light.
The daily breakfast in the lobby was nice. Average selection and it does get crowded if you sleep in as all of the families with loud hungry kids flood the lobby before heading out for their daily adventures. But if you're there before 7:30AM, it's fine. The swimming pool is really small and if you get at least 1 kid in there, it becomes impossible to swim in. There is also a whirlpool that gets filled with kids as well. Did I say it was a family friendly hotel? There is also a sauna, which seemed to be the only kid-free place in the pool area. Having given up on swimming in the hotel, I ended up walking over to the lake beach, which is only a 5 min walk from the hotel. Hotel reception staff were very friendly and gave us pointers about dining options and local attractions.

Now about the business facilities. The 2nd floor of the hotel is a conference center with large ballrooms and smaller rooms for breakout sessions. The facilities were nice, but one MAJOR complaint I have is the internet. There is no WiFi signal in the business area and I was disappointed that after paying $15 for WiFi, I could not use it most of the day while attending meetings on the 2nd floor. The signal in the rooms was a little stronger, but the connection was very slow.

Overall, if you are visiting with a family and want to have a central location to all of the attractions, this is a great hotel! The free breakfast is nice, there is a restaurant on the first floor and a supermarket across the street. Daily manager's reception is also nice with free drinks and snacks. It is a noisy hotel, so if you want a quiet retreat, it may not be for you. Also, if you are afraid of heights like me, you may have a difficult time adjusting to the open lobby concept.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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United States
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2011

Nice hotel. The rooms were clean, all the staff were friendly and helpful. I must say, the lines for both breakfast and manager's reception were about 10 minutes or longer, but the bartenders were moving quickly while still very nice. They had as many stations as possible for the food and coffee at breakfast.
I also used the fitness room and it was better than most hotels, but got hot with six of us in there and though all treadmills worked, mine had an issue with the speed control.
I would stay here again, the location is tough to beat. We did eat breakfast out once at the top rated Yolk restaurant.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2011

After some of the reviews here on this forum I was nervous what our stay at the Embassy Suites Lakefront would bring. Three of us where in town for the Lollapalooza event at Grant Park so we wanted a hotel was we could walk from. We flew in early into Chicago and wanted to swing by the hotel just to drop off our bags and make our way on to Lollapalooza. To my surprise our room was ready for us at 10:50am. Being a Diamond HH member they let me check in early (way early). Everything was fine with our room, very big room for being right in the middle of downtown. We had a slight issue with the coffee maker and tub draining, but I continue to give this hotel 5 stars as I reported issue and 15 minutes later we had a brand new coffee maker and the engineer (Ron I believe, nicest guy!) was fixing the tub. We had no problems at breakfast (8:30ish each day) and only did the managers reception once. The lines move quick for both and the food/drinks where pretty good. The hotel tries very hard at breakfast setting up additional tables and two additional buffet lines for those not wanting to do the “cook to order”. Our walk to Grant Park was about a mile but it was fine and nice to see the city at night. The day we left we took a towncar from the hotel back to airport, it cost a bit extra at $45 but sooo much more comfortable then a taxi. Overall we enjoyed our stay and would go back.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Michigan
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2011

This is my third stay at this property. The reason I choose this hotel is the extra amenties, such as the cooked to order breakfast and manager's reception every night. The rooms are nice, which a small fridge and microwave.

Sometimes the rates at this property can pretty high. We booked a different hotel because we found the Marriott on Michigan Ave at $120 LESS a night. I just happened to check the rates again, and found one at $199.

My only issue was checking our bags. We got to the property very early, and of course our room wasn't ready. We were told to bring our bags back downstairs to the bell man who would hold them in a secure location. Well, we waited for about 10 minutes along with several racks of other luggage until the bell man even showed up. I didn't feel comfortable leaving my luggage unattended, but luckily it arrived safely to the room.

I would definately stay at this location again if the rates are reasonable.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Dorado, Puerto Rico
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2011

Part of the decision to stay here was the free breakfast and happy hours. Had I known that we were going to have to stand in line for 10 minutes to get to the poorly stocked buffet table, we would have stayed elsewhere. On our last day, we even opted to walk around the corner any pay for breakfast than to battle the lines and finding a table at the hotel.
One of our room's bed was (I do not exaggerate), the most uncomfortable bed I have ever slept in. The center of the mattress was about 6-9 inches lower than the corners. It was a challenge to sleep because of the decline towards the center. I eventually found that sleeping at a 45 degree angle minimized the pull.
As a family of 5, we could have squeezed into one room (double beds + sofa bed), but opted to go with two rooms. Unfortunately, there are no connecting rooms, forcing my wife and I to split up between the rooms (kids too young to stay alone). I don't think it would have been too difficult to have some rooms connecting in the living area; all it takes is a door.
The location is OK; about a block and a half from Michigan.
I will definitely not stay here again, but look to alternatives ON Michigan Ave for a little more money.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Collierville, Tennessee
2 reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2011

Booked this hotel a month ago, when we arrived they did not have the room I reserved four weeks ago. Hotel was so busy and loud....Loyola University had booked most of the rooms for interviewing purposes and it seemed they had priority over us.

Our new room had one bed and the couch for my son. Carpet had black duct tape on each threshold. Icky.....and the carpet was so gross. I would not walk on it without flip flops.... The pull out bed in the couch had disgusting stains on the mattress.....I did not want my son sleeping on that bed.

I sat up most of the night on the computer to book another hotel for in the morning. We paid $405.00 a night there and I called the Ritz Carlton( at 1:00 am) and booked a room for the morning. I got a room at the Ritz Carlton. Discounted($600.00 instead of $1000.00) by the Ritz because we told them we were transferring from another hotel. The Ritz Carlton was incredible!

I have stayed at Embassy Suites before and have been pleased with the service and hotel. Embassy Suites in Hot Springs and Little Rock were great. Chicago not so much...remember, you do get what you pay for in Chicago. It's a lovely city but it's expensive.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
San Antonio, TX
Top Contributor
140 reviews 140 reviews
60 hotel reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
229 helpful votes 229 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2011

Recently reserved 2 suites using Hilton Honors points. Called in advance to make sure son's name on one suite so he & family could check in prior to our arrival. Check-in was smooth for both suites which were next to each other.
Typical arrangement for Embassy Suites.... 2 rooms... one with sofa, chairs, desk, chairs and small wet bar with refrigerator and the other room with bed(s)... with bathroom being in shortl hallway dividing both rooms. Rooms arranged around center atrium. Overall hotel atmosphere - very bright, clean, modern decor. There are 4 glass enclosed elevators to access suites from the main lobby.

Of note, is that the lobby entrance is NOT on the street level. Street Elevator lobby, & valet parking attendants are on 1st floor (Self-parking - $41.00 daily but with NO in&out; Valet parking $49 daily... with in& out privileges). Valet service may take up to 20 minutes to get car... so call from the room & plan accordingly.

Breakfast buffet is very good, although lines are long if one goes down in the last hour. Suggestion... go early like at 7:30 or 8 a.m. Omelet station is run well, with one person taking orders and putting out the various ingredients for the chef to add to the omelets. Chef is amazing at the speed in which he makes omelets... fun to watch. Can also get pancakes, biscuits with gravey, hash browns and pancakes in this line.There is also a buffet line for eggs, bacon, etc on steam table. Assorted pastries, yogurt, cereals, and fruit... although fruit could have been expanded. During the week days, the fruit was sliced melons and pineapple. On weekend, fruit was limited to whole oranges and bananas but no pre-sliced melons. On the weekend the hotel was filled with families instead of business people... perhaps that made a difference in what was put out. There is a very large seating area and the tables were quickly cleaned with hotel staff.

Suites had 2 flat screen TVs plus sofa, & 3 chairs in living room, one of which was a very comfortable ergonomic chair. Our son's suite did not have an ergonomic chair. There was also a very large ottoman suitable for seating.

Directly across the street from the hotel is a large market - Dominick's that also has a Starbucks. Domick's is open until at least midnight and some nights until 1 a.m. In addition to the normal food supplies, one can purchase bus passes at Dominicks... we highly recommend... it's so easy to jump on and off a bus to Navy Pier... the buses are air conditioned, the free trolley is NOT! It's also an easy walk to Michigan Avenue where many buses can be picked up going to and from the Museum Campus and up and down the Magnificent Mile shopping district.

Many of the Chicago taxi's are NOT air conditioned. Be careful in flagging down a cab that has windows rolled down! Some cabs are hybrids and drivers actually USE their AC.
When we asked valet attendant about getting us a cab to the airport, he suggested we consider a town car as it would be more comfortable with only a slightly higher cost. We opted for this and he immediately called a town car and we paid a flat rate of $45. plus the tip.

This is our 2nd stay at this hotel and we'll definitely return here again.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Embassy Suites Hotel Chicago Downtown Lakefront

Address: 511 North Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL 60611
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 Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#53 Business Hotel in Chicago
#61 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#63 Family Hotel in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Embassy Suites Hotel Chicago Downtown Lakefront 3.5*
Number of rooms: 455
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown/Lakefront hotel is located just 2 blocks from Chicago's Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile Michigan Ave Shopping! This downtown Chicago hotel is within walking distance to many Chicago attractions such as Millennium Park, Water Tower Place and the Hancock Observatory. Our location and amenities make the Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown/Lakefront an ideal choice for the business or leisure traveler! Guests of the hotel stay in a upscale spacious two-room suite complete with a refrigerator, microwave oven and flexible work/dining space. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Embassy Suites Chicago
Embassy Downtown Lakefront Suites
Chicago Embassy Suites

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