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“basic Embassy Suites - no reason to be disappointed” 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 #68 of 174 Hotels in Chicago
malawimike
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“basic Embassy Suites - no reason to be disappointed”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2010

Came here for business. If you have ever stayed at Embassy Suites you will know what to expect. Nice room with separate living room. Big hot breakfast. Managers reception in the evening. My only complaint was with the people staying there -- parents letting kids take food at the reception with their bare hands, people rushing to get food like they had not eaten in a week, taking excessive amounts and then leaving half of it on the plate when they leave the reception. I wish people could act a bit more respectful!

The hotel is in a good location. Walk to Millenium Park, Grant Park, Navy Pier, and Lakefront. Great grocery store across the street with a fantastic salad bar/deli/hot food selection. I saw a lot of guests bringing food back from there.

If you are looking for a nice pool, just know that there is a pool but it was pretty small. Don't go expecting a big pool for the family to splash and play around in. But it is fine -- it's just small.

All in all, you should have no reason to complain about this hotel. It's all good!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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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Austin, Texas
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2010

The location of this hotel is close to almost everything. Walk to Navy Pier, Millennium and Grant Parks, museums, Magnificent Mile, and lots of other attractions. The rooms are not cheap, but nothing in this area is going to be cheap given the location. The service was great, my room was clean, breakfast is the best I've had at a hotel. If I could make one suggestion, I would ask that they improve the fitness center. It's quite small, and I've stayed at lower-rated hotels with better (and more) equipment.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2010

Went there for a long weekend with two girlfriends. Had a beautiful partial view of Lake Michigan. Suite was spacious and clean. Two double beds with a pull out sofa worked perfectly for the three of us. Doormen were extremely helpful and pleasant when we arrived and welcomed us back every time we returned at the end of the day. The managers reception staff were so friendly and attentive. They remembered our preferences and gave great drink suggestions when we didn't know what we wanted. Breakfast/Managers Reception attendants were attentive and unobtrusive, keeping a very busy area clean and welcoming. Hotel is in great condition - bright, fresh, clean, open atrium with lots of natural light. Location is wonderful - close to the L, Navy Pier, Mag Mile and has great restaurants and activities in the immediate area. Also just two blocks away from a stop on the Double Decker Tour bus line. Would go back there again and again and again.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 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
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Cincinnati, Ohio
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2010

We always stay with Embassy Suites when traveling. This location is nice, it was a bit of a walk to Michigan Ave but other wise not bad. There is a Dominicks grocery store & Starbucks just across the street which made the stay even better (you can buy your bus passes there). Breakfast and the Evening Reception were insanely crowded. We seriously waited in line 20 minutes just to get a drink. The front staff was VERY helpful. The parking attendants on the other hand were so unbeilieveably pushy and $50/day to park. Also, $15/day for in-room internet access!! The hotel was very clean and pretty quiet considering the number of guest rooms and children in the hotel that weekend. The best part....$76/night for New Years!! We would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
306 reviews 306 reviews
128 hotel reviews
Reviews in 129 cities Reviews in 129 cities
442 helpful votes 442 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2010

We stayed here for three nights over a weekend in mid-July. The location of the hotel was excellent; it was about three blocks to Navy Pier, the Ohio Street Beach, and Lake Michigan, and about two blocks to the Chicago River. There is a grocery/store pharmacy called Dominick's across the street, so it's easy to buy drinks and snacks for your room, although that is almost unnecessary with the free hot breakfast served every morning and the nightly manager's cocktail party (even on weekends). Because my spouse has priority with Hilton, we were upgraded to a corner suite on the 17th floor (the highest floor), with excellent views of the river. The standard suites weren't quite as large as the corner suites (there's an odd window from their living area to the hotel atrium, so one could see in), but were still a great size, with a separate bedroom, bathroom, wet bar/microwave/fridge area, and living room with sofa bed and desk (the corner suites also had two chairs as part of the sofa grouping). There is an indoor pool and fitness center, as well as a gift shop, bar, and large lobby lounge area. There is no outdoor space at this hotel, which was the only drawback for me. A little sundeck, or other outdoor relaxation area (no matter how small) would have been welcome. The hotel spans an entire block, so it is possible to enter from multiple locations. There is an AMC movie theatre right next door, along with a bowling alley, PJ Clarke's restaurant, a Japanese restaurant, and a Walgreens pharmacy. There aren't many non-chain, unique restaurants in the immediate two block area, which was another slight drawback, but it was a quick walk to more cuisine-friendly streets. It is necessary to take two sets of elevators to reach the guest rooms. One set of elevators only travels three floors, from the street to the mezzanine (meeting) level to the sky (lobby) level. Then you must get off and walk to the other side of the hotel to catch another set of elevators that goes from floors 5 to 17. I understand that this set-up discourages non-guests from hanging out in the lobby and using the restrooms, but it is slightly inconvenient. I must say, though, that this hotel has the fastest elevators that I've seen in a long time! If you hesitated the slightest bit before trying to board, the doors closed and the elevator whisked away. (But that's probably why we almost never waited for an elevator, even being on the 17th floor during a busy summer weekend.) I would definitely stay here again, even considering all the other hotel options nearby.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Maryland
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2010

As parents with two small children, we've always enjoyed the privacy of suites when travelling, and the Embassy Suites has delivered a consistently good stay whereever we can find one when we travel.

This hotel has a very narrow, alley-like two-lane driveway so it was very congested when our taxi pulled up. Very awkward for those arriving by vehicle.

One immediate downside of this particular hotel is that it is built on top of retail and thus you have to take an elevator to what is essentially a fifth floor lobby. Then, after checking in, you have to traverse the length of the hotel to get to the main hotel elevator banks. The bottom line is that there is lots of walking to get to your room. Not a problem if you are okay with walking, but if you are mobility challenged or want quick street-level access to your room, this is not the ideal hotel.

Check-in was friendly, smooth and quick. Front desk offered some typical toiletries if you forgot something.

This is one of the newer Embassy Suites so most hotel areas and rooms were in great condition. The main lobby has the expected huge atrium contributing to the nice airy, albeit noisy, feel typical of Embassy Suites.

A few complaints in the room:

1. The bathroom shower rod was one of the new curved type that gives people more room, but the mount was broken so gravity made the curtain open whenever we showered. This led to lots of water spilling out onto the floor.

2. Walls are paper-thin and you could clearly hear conversations in the next room. Much worse than other hotels we've stayed at.

3. On the second of three days, housekeeping didn't replace enough towels or supplies. The other days were fine.

4. The single power outlet integrated with the desk lamp is too close to the switch so you can't plug in a flush-mounted power strip's plug.

5. Charging for internet access in this day and age is simply ridiculous.

Breakfast was also typical of other Embassy Suites: it's free, the food is mediocre, and it gets crazy busy if you go late. To their credit, they keep the food and lines moving, kept it open longer than the stated 10 am cutoff, seating was plentiful and the service was quick and friendly. The manager's reception offered a decent selection of drinks and beers. Personally, I'd rather have free internet access than free breakfast or drinks. The best would be for Embassy Suites to offer all three! :-)

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 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
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Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2010

We left Chicago early on our last day of a weekend trip mainly to get away from this hotel. The night before, as I was trying to rest before late-night plans, I could hear a baby in the next room and a constant din from the hotel's atrium, and I went to a movie next door just to escape. I was disappointed to say the least. The service was great, room quality decent, crowds barely tolerable, double-elevator thing annoying, but the real problem is the atrium-style design. I'll never understand it. Every room overlooks the cacophonous atrium, as though every guest wants to hear what is going on in the atrium at all times.

Walls were thin; heard babies crying on both sides at various points of the stay. On a sold-out weekend, the breakfast buffet was a madhouse. Waited 25 minutes for an omelet. The lobby is on an upper floor of the building, so you take on elevator to the lobby and then, across the atrium, another elevator to the room. The manager's reception, a daily perk, is good for the drinks but not worth the time for the snacks - nachos and cheese sauce, and sweet-potato fries, both mediocre at best.

I didn't love the location. It's convenient to Navy Pier, which I didn't need, but families with kids must enjoy. It's also close to Michigan Avenue, but you have to climb steps to reach that street, because the hotel is set on one of Chicago's lower-level streets. A little confusing to reach, too. It wasn't a bad walk to Michigan Avenue, but it felt a little removed.

The crowd is kid- and family-heavy, because it's a suite hotel. Be prepared for that. Lots of bodies crowding the driveway, buffet, elevators, etc. On the other hand, the atrium is very spacious with lots of couches and chairs.

The pool is a lap pool. The hot tub is decent sized. Both are located off the atrium, not a rooftop or top-floor location like many hotels have.

The rooms were okay, though a little on the small side. Hilton Suites, Omni, and Doubletree Suites are much larger. There's a window with shutters in the living room to the hallway outside, and since every floor is open to the atrium, light comes in through the shutters at all times. It was never fully dark in the living room. Also, the window makes it impossible to feel secluded in your room. The living room is in the front of the room, with small hallway to the back bedroom. The two-bed suites have double beds, not queens. There's a sink and an armoire in the bedroom. The bathroom is of decent size, but not nearly as big as those at Hilton Suites. On the plus side, the beds were cushy (but not Heavenly Bed cushy), and the AC worked great. The back bedroom was cool and pitch dark, for a good sleep.

There were some positives. The service was very good. Buffet breakfast was more than satisfactory, with cooked-to-order omelet. The rest of the food is just okay, but you can eat a big breakfast that might cost $20 easily at a restaurant. There is a bike rack on the block, which we used overnight. A bike rental place at Navy Pier is close.

I will avoid the Embassy Suites Lakefront in the future, but if a family needs the space and can take advantage of the good breakfast value, a stay here makes some sense.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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:
#51 Business Hotel in Chicago
#59 Family Hotel in Chicago
#67 Romantic 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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