We recently stayed at the Trump hotel in June.
I am originally from Chicago, and we wanted to visit our family who live further north, on Lake Shore Drive. We got a river view suite, and I think it was about $500.00 a night.
I have to say the hotel is STUNNING!!!!!! Our initial room was great, but noisy (there is still ongoing construction). The front desk at the Trump obliged in giving us a new room, and it was breathtaking. Everything is very modern and new (and in keeping with the sleek modernity that you would see at hotels like the Mercer in NYC--sleek, but not overwhelming or intimidating). The room had the BEST Chicago view--Navy Pier and the Chicago River and it was mostly unobstructed and endless. And a real bonus was that the windows open just a bit--we are sticklers for fresh air. That allowed just enough air in without there being a hazard for those of you with small children.
The room (one bedroom apartment?) was clean, and roomy and had everything you could want (we had a suite that had two full baths with absolute top of the line fixtures--amenities like a television in the mirror (I want that for home!), marble showers AND separate baths. There was a full kitchen with top of the line appliances (Miele dishwasher, for example, and also free Nespresso), which would be a real bonus for families for children.
Speaking of children, when we notified the hotel that we would have a baby visiting us for the day, they immediately put not only a great crib in our room, but a high chair, a diaper genie and soap and lotion, etc. for the baby. We really appreciated that gesture.
The swimming pool is also great for kids, and they are very friendly there and will provide swimming noodles and amenities for those with small children. Adjacent to the swimming pool (btw with a breathtaking view), the Spa/Fitness room is absolutely top of the line--brand new and plentiful equipment, Pilates classes, and fresh water (fruit infused and bottled. The last day we were there they replaced the bottled water with Trump Ice water, which had a picture of Donald Trump on it. We thought it very funny!). It is so neat to exercise in a great location (high up overlooking all of Chicago).
The restaurant, however, is a work in progress. The staff was not yet fully trained, the water tasted like chlorine (and they kept trying to fill my glass with it, even though we had bottled water), and the menu was HORRIBLY expensive ($50.00 for an entree), but not inspired. We actually had a hard time trying to figure out what to order, because nothing sounded interesting enough to pay for. Before we were finished, it was clear they wanted us to leave, and started to fold linens in our vicinity, which seems strange when you are paying $400.00 for dinner. But the view is great.
However, the fact that I liked the hotel as much as I did makes me sad to continue this review and end up only giving this hotel 3 stars. The first incident that blew our minds was what will be known in our family as the "racist doorman incident". On the early afternoon of Friday, June 20th, it began to rain, just as my family stopped by to pick us up for lunch. Earlier in the day, I had gone out and it had rained, and I asked for an umbrella at the first counter where the doorpersons are stationed. They happily obliged (one person was a nice older African American woman with braids). I returned the umbrella as we came in, and thought nothing of it.
At about 1p.m., however, when I asked for two umbrellas (we were now a motley group of 4 toddlers, and 6 adults without an umbrella amongst us), the same woman manning the door attempted to go behind the desk and retrieve them, but the man behind the counter, looked at us, stopped her, and said, “We are all out of umbrellas. If you need an umbrella, you will have to go up to your room to get one.”
Fair enough. We understood that if it was raining, umbrellas may be in limited supply. My husband went upstairs to get an umbrella.
But in the meantime, the same man behind the counter took out all these new umbrellas and started unwrapping them! They were there all along!
What was more HUMILIATING was that he came from behind the counter, and gave an umbrella each to two white women who hadn’t even left the lobby, and HADN'T EVEN ASKED FOR THEM YET! I was shocked, but I was actually more humiliated. Both my 4 year old daughter and my 65 year old mother asked me why the man said there were no more umbrellas, when clearly there were. How could I tell my daughter there were no more umbrellas for people like us?! Did he not like us because we were the wrong color, or because he didn't think we were worthy of the hotel? I have my suspicions, but don't you think that was awful??!?
At least the African American co-worker, who was clearly embarrassed, then proceeded to go behind the counter and give us all umbrellas. But he really ruined my day and I felt really low. I thought about why he would do such a thing in front of my family all day.
That same day, at 8:30 I went down to ReBar, their signature bar (that they tout as serving exotic cocktails) for a quick cocktail with my sister. I felt we were both dressed well (she was in a summer dress and I was in a pucci dress). When we sat down, a waitress came to us and said, "I'm sorry, but this table is bottle service only after 9:00pm). My sister responded that it was only 8:30. The waitress served us, but you could tell she wasn't happy about it. I can tell you that we looked like everyone else in the bar (the bar, btw, skews middle-aged and distinctly suburban; I definitely was one of the younger people there). My sister, who already had the "umbrella" incident, started talking about how she felt uncomfortable being there, and so as soon as the drink came, we took it upstairs. But the kicker is that my husband and myself came back an hour and half later, and guess what? The couple now sitting in the same seats we had earlier occupied was just drinking simple cocktails!!!! Where was the bottle service?!?!? Beats me.
Initially, I was willing to believe that these two incidents were an aberration and that there is no pattern. No one wants to accuse a hotel of something like casual racism in this day and age. But after speaking with the manager, I am not so sure. They say all behaviors emanate from the top, and if this is the case, I have to say the manager could do a better job at dispelling my suspicions.
When I wrote the manager about this, both he (T. Colm O’Callaghan) and his assistant manager (Jerome) tried repeatedly to contact me. I assumed that they were contacting me to apologize, but what actually ended up happening is that Mr. O'Callaghan at first apologized, and then tried to intimate that I had misread the situation. He kept trying to tell me that what happened didn't happen!!!! He said they simply ran out of umbrellas! HELLO??!! I was there!!! They NEVER ran out of umbrellas, the guy just didn't want to give us the umbrellas he had! He kept trying to spin it as a misunderstanding, but this guy just didn't want to waste his dwindling resources (umbrellas) on the likes of us.
As for the bar incident, he said that certain areas have bottle service after a certain hour. But when I told him that hour hadn't been reached (she didn't want to serve us at 8:30pm because she said bottle service starts at 9), and when I came back an hour and half later, the people now sitting at the same seats were just having cocktails, he didn't want to talk about it. Weird. Instead of diffusing the situation, he made me feel as if he didn't want to hear what really happened, and that he thought I was a silly deluded person.
So in the end, this hotel gets 3 stars: 5 stars for the hotel, amenities (spa/swimming pool/fitness center), view and most of the staff, and one or none for the racist doorman, waitress (?), and pretty insensitive manager. The restaurant was also not so great.