Let me preface this review by saying I'm often a business traveler who experiences average and superior hotels all around the world. When I stayed in mid-November for a wedding of a dear friend, I wasn't expecting the Taj Mahal or even the Four Seasons. However, based on the 4 1/2 star rating, I thought it would be more than it was. Even the discounted wedding guest rate was a bit much for what we found. First things first, checking in on a Friday evening was quick and the front desk associate (while not exactly warm) was polite and able to accommodate our request for a semi-high floor (we were on the 21st). The lobby was appropriately moody and the doormen always greeted us when we arrived or left.
It was the room that left a lot to be desired. I felt like I was traveling back to an IKEA showroom via 2002. The room was outfitted in light birch-colored furniture and trim, there's a whole wall of mirrors, and the "desk" is cluttered with a TV. There were very limited power sources, which is essential in 2012 with so many of our technological tools that accompany most travelers. There was nowhere to plug in a computer at the small desk, and phones had to be charged on the floor near the room's door. There was a halogen lamp (!!) in the corner, and a chair that faced the bathroom (basically, you can't sit in the chair if you want to watch TV). While the bed was comfortable and I appreciated the option of pillows, there's NO head board — only (a dated) abstract painting on the wall above the bed. So, if you cared to sit in bed, your head would undoubtedly hit the painting. My travel companion did this several times. The bathroom is a tad dated in decor, but I liked the large walk-in shower. If only the water pressure matched the awesomeness of the shower. Finally, there was peeling wallpaper everywhere in the bathroom and bedroom. I just don't think the decor of such a room is what I would call a 4 1/2 star experience.
Most of the employees I encountered were polite, and I greatly appreciated the young lady who was able to supply me with the name and source of the fig fragrance in the bar sitting area. The caterers who worked our friend's wedding were very rude and kept removing plates and glasses that people weren't even done with (not sure if they were hotel employees or not).
Check out was easy on Sunday morning. There was a valet charge on our bill (we didn't drive or rent a car), but it was removed without question.
The area is great, and there's plenty to see and do around the hotel. If I returned to Chicago, I'd probably consider a less expensive, but more high-end in feeling experience like The Westin.