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“The Ultra Swanky, Uber Cool James Hotel” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The James Chicago

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The James Chicago
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   55 East Ontario, Corner of Rush and Ontario, Chicago, IL 60611   |  
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Ranked #25 of 178 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
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1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“The Ultra Swanky, Uber Cool James Hotel”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2009

I recently stayed 3 nights in the ultra swanky James Hotel. Located in Chicago’s premier shopping district, The Magnificent Mile, this hotel is the epitome of cool. Upon entering the hotel you are greeted with the sounds of jazzy deep house dance music. The decor and the ambiance of this hotel reads uber chic. At check in I’m given an environmentally friendly room key card made out of recycled cardboard. This is the first of many environmentally friendly features that this hotel has to offer. I do have to admit that I was not fully impress by the customer service that was given at check-in. The front desk attended was very dry and unwelcoming, he didn’t say much to me and did not explain how to get to the hotels hidden elevators. However I was determined not to let one persons dry attitude affect my over all view of the hotel.

Entering the Apartment Suite (room number 1108) my first reaction is to be turned off by how small the suite is. At only 650 square feet the Apartment Suite isn’t much larger that the standard rooms. However my disappointment is short lived after seeing the amazing view from the bedroom. The room looks straight out to Michigan Ave. and looks even better at night. As an amenity you will receive a plate of gourmet petit fours, cookies, a 350 ml bottle of wine and a personalized hand written welcome note. The room comes complete with a fully stocked bar. The bar has everything from vodka, pop, water, nuts and even a vibrator. Thats right. If you look hard enough you’ll find an adult pleasure kit hidden inside the bar.

In your room you can access free wifi if you bring your computer. Internet is also available through the rooms television for a charge. If your traveling for business and internet is a vital part of your stay be prepared to be frustrated as the hotels wifi is really slow. The few times that I did use my computer I found myself quickly giving up due to slow loading speeds. You can also rent tons of movies but at around $14.99 a pop, what’s the point? Go enjoy the city of Chicago and buy that movie for $9.99 when you get home. When you get to the hotel try channel 42 on the TV. Can someone tell me what’s that all about? Strange but funny.

My favorite feature of the room is the huge spa inspired bathroom. It was expertly designed as has plenty of storage space if needed for extended stays. The shower has two heads. One that allows for the overhead rain effect and another that is handheld but can also be prepped up as a regular shower head. The shower also has a small window that houses a spectacular view of the city.

There are many other areas of the hotel for you to enjoy. There’s the JBar that is open Wednesday through Saturday (I didn’t get to enjoy it because my stay was Sunday to Wednesday morning). However at night the hotel lobby becomes some sort of a bar in it’s own right. They serve drinks in the lobby and it seems the place to be after dusk. Inside the James Hotel you will also find a high tech gym with personal trainers available, a full service spa, and the well known David Burke's stake house (sorry that I can't tell you how the food was, I'm a vegetarian so I didn't bother).

Here are a few tips to make your trip even more enjoyable:

1. Although the in room bar looks great and is very tempting avoid the urge. At $3 for a can of coke and about $42 for a mini bottle of Grey Goose it’s not worth it. Directly across the street from the hotel is Trader Joe’s grocery store. Trader Joe’s is famous for their cheep wine shop and organic foods. If organic or wine isn’t your thing, less than a block and half way you’ll find a Jewel Osco for hard liquors and ready to eat foods.

2. Are you looking to spend a night out on the town? While the James Hotel is in a great location, there’s tons of shopping and restaurants nearby, but there are not a lot of bars or clubs. If you are looking for a great night out don’t worry. Just walking distance from the hotel you will find Chicago’s Red Line subway train. From there you can easily access the best bars and clubs the city has to offer. Take the red line to the North/Clyborn stop then take a easy walk to Weed Street there you will find a plethora of nightclubs. If your looking for Gay/Lesbian bars take the red line to the Belmont stop and you will be in Chicago’s GLBT neighborhood where you will find bars/nightclubs, lots of shopping and tons of late night restaurants.

3. Just a small heads up, this hotel charges you for your entire stay at check-in. This really isn’t a huge deal but what they don’t tell you is that they add an extra $100 per night for incidentals which you get credited back to you when you check out. I stayed three nights and payed with my debt card so imagine my surprise when and extra $300 was taken out of my checking account.

If you are planing a trip to Chicago I would highly recommend a stay at the James Hotel. It’s in a great location and has many services and amenities to please even the discerning of travelers.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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2,369 reviews from our community

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  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2009

I stayed at The James for almost a week in January of 2009. To my surprise, I very much enjoyed this boutique hotel. The rooms were spacious, well-kept, and modern. The staff at The James were attentive and courteous. The location is ideal as it is one block off of Michigan Avenue at Rush Street. Besides the obvious close location to top-notch shopping, there are many restaurants nearby. This place is a steal in terms of value. I recommend this place to tourists and business travelers.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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New York
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2009

My husband and I went to Chicago for our 1st Anniversary. We stayed at James Hotel and it was a wonderful experience. It was close to all the shoppings, resturants, the trains and buses. We only took a cab once to another area and other times, we either walked or hopped on the trains. The staff was wonderful, they cleaned our room at least twice a day. All the equipments at the gym were new and very clean. And you must try the David Burke Prime steak house. We went there on Sunday night and they have the Super Prime Sunday dinner for only $42 per person. It was a four course dinner and it was worth every penny of it. We couldnt even finish it. There is a mini bar in the room but it was pretty expensive. So i suggest you to buy drinks from cross the street where they have a Trader's joe and they have a great selection of wines too. There is also 7/11 on almost every corner. If you are travel by plane and with only couple of people, I don't suggest to rent a car since the parking in downtown is a pain and the parking in the hotel is very expensive. There is a train from the Ohare airport directly to the downtown area. We took the train from and to the airport and very conveninece and inexpensive. Overrall, this is a great hotel if you are looking for something trendy and close to everything.....

Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
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New England
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2009

The service at the James Hotel was top-notch. When we arrived, it was 99 degrees in Downtown Chicago and our air conditioning didn't work. Every single room was booked, so we had to stick it out for the first night. The next morning, they moved us into a beautiful (larger) room while we were out on the town. We ended up spending the week in a king loft suite and it was incredible! And the bed is incredibly comfortable.

I can't stress enough how amazing the service is. Everyone has stayed at a hotel and felt like just another guest, but this hotel takes the time to give superior service. Every single employee of the hotel greets you and is sincerly helpful and nice. The spa was fantastic, and the gym had everything you could need! The rooms were spacious, clean, and fun! Also, loved the bath products (Kiehl's) and the extra touches like cookies at bedtime.

It was our wedding anniversary, and the concierge arranged for a fantastic dinner with a surprise at the end... a lovely dessert with "Happy 5th Anniversary" painted in frosting on the plate.

I would never stay anywhere else when I come to Chicago, and we are definitely planning on returning. The location was prime... just seconds from Michigan Avenue, a mile from Millenium Park (easy walk) and blocks from the river. Worth every penny.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Northern California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2009

I loved The James Hotel. It was perfect. Upscale, cool vibe with out being pretentious. Experienced, and very pleasant staff. I loved the low key, humor these hard working representatives of the James Hotel displayed. On two occasions I heard sirens outside my window (fifth floor) but on the whole it was very quiet. Perfect down town location. Good wine selection in the bar. The bed was divine ! The bathroom beautifully designed, and very clean. Frankly I have no suggestions on how to improve the James. They had me at Hello!!!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Boston, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2009

We stayed here when we flew in to celebrate our daughters - college graduation. Couldn't of been happier with our accomodations or the excellent service we received from all of the staff.

Rooms are very clean and comfortable - only wish that they had 2 queens in a double room rather than double beds as our daughter stayed with us.

Looking forward to our return next month in a king room to celebrate a milestone birthday.

Stayed May 2009
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2009

The staff at the James was unbelievably accommodating and friendly. They went above and beyond. I've stayed at many of the fine hotels in Chicago and the rooms here were much roomier and the decor was so hip and cool. Great for a getaway.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The James Chicago

Address: 55 East Ontario, Corner of Rush and Ontario, Chicago, IL 60611
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Spa Hotel in Chicago
#16 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#21 Luxury Hotel in Chicago
#25 Business Hotel in Chicago
#32 Family Hotel in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The James Chicago 4.5*
Number of rooms: 297
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The James Chicago offers a stylish and engaging alternative for the contemporary business or leisure traveler. - Ideally situated right in the heart of downtown Chicago, just steps from Michigan Avenue and celebrated cultural attractions - Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel - Early check-in, late check-out - 24-hour room service provided by David Burke's Primehouse - Triple-filtered water - Twice-daily housekeeping with turndown (upon request) - Environmentally thoughtful local car service - Experience The James as a culinary destination with David Burke's Primehouse, named the #1 Steakhouse in Chicago by Chicago magazine, Primehouse Bar and JIMMY Chicago, an intimate and unique cocktail lounge. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
James Chicago Hotel Chicago
James Hotel Chicago
Chicago James Hotel

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