Shiny and beautiful at first glance, but scratch the surface and something is missing. As a qualifier; I have stayed at many top hotels around the world including The Peninsula NYC, which this is NOT. Basically, this isn't my first time at the rodeo. Please see my other reviews.
I booked this property for 3 nights through the American Express Platinum Fine Hotels and Resorts program. Typically, this entitles you to a room upgrade, free continental breakfast, early check-in/4pm late check-out, and a hotel amenity specific to the property. In this case, that was a 100 dollar credit to be used at the spa. At the time of my booking, there was a promotion for "stay 2 nights, get the 3rd night free".
Check-in was very smooth. When our car arrived, someone was waiting curbside to take us to our room. The driver had clearly given them the heads up about our arrival. Very slick. We were taken directly to the room (we did NOT receive an upgrade) with a view of Rush Street, and the tourist hot-spot/pizza joint across the street. We were not really told any specifics about what was included with our package or other details about the room/hotel; we were given an envelope and asked if we had any questions.
Room: The room is pretty and spacious for an entry-level room. The closet is very small, but there is plenty of room for suitcases. The bathroom is large and well-lit but has only one vanity, which is odd in a hotel of this caliber. There is a full desk with fax machine (people still use those?), and small sitting area with loveseat and cocktail table. There is a central control system for lighting, phone and privacy that works pretty well, but seems antiquated. The one at St. Regis Bal Harbour, for instance, is touch screen, and much more advanced. The whole time I was here, I thought, "this thing would give my parents a coronary". Negatives: single vanity, uncomfortable bed, flat, lifeless pillows, torn sofa cushion and stained desk chair.
Getting in and out of the hotel onto the street is A PROCESS. The location of the hotel is fantastic, but to utilize it, you must take the elevator down to the lobby, walk past the front desk and concierge, down another hall, take another elevator down to another lobby, and go out the door onto the sidewalk. Admittedly, it's kind of a "princess complaint", but it's not very well thought out, and I thought it would prove problematic if there were a fire in the hotel. Just my opinion.
Room Service: Ordering was easy, the food came within the window they specified, and by room service standards, the food was above average for taste and presentation.
Service: A month before arrival, someone from the hotel called to see if there was anything special I needed. I set up car-service from the airport, and also explained that we would be celebrating a birthday and I would like a cake for the room on our first night when we returned from dinner. I was told that I would get a call back that afternoon, after she spoke with the pastry chef. A week passed with no call, so I called the concierge, spelled out all the details again, feeling confident that it would all work out. Three days before our stay, I got another call from the hotel saying that someone had spoken to the pastry chef, and did I still want a cake. I said, "yes, I want a cake, but I never heard back from you, so I worked it out with the concierge." She said, "oh, I will contact the concierge and cancel their order and put this one in instead." I said they could work it out between the two of them since I had given both the exact same details about the cake.
Day of arrival: The car service was wrong. I specified a type of car (because we were celebrating I wanted everything top-notch), which wasn't there; although the staff at the airport from Metropolitain were very friendly and efficient. After going out for lunch at Pierrot Gourmet (hotel restaurant) where the service was poor if I am being nice, and shopping before dinner, we returned to the room to find the cake on the table waiting for us. Nothing like a big piece of chocolate cake BEFORE dinner!
Check out: I was charged for the third night on my bill, which they would not adjust, despite the fact that I had confirmation from AMEX. Instead, they offered the use of their phone so I could hash the issue out publicly in their lobby while other people are checking in and checking out. I declined, and said I would address it when I got home. It felt very... Econo-Lodge.
Bottom line: Blame me, blame AMEX, but at the end of the day it falls to The Pen to coordinate their programs, and that wasn't the only issue. The bar is chic and beautiful, room service is above average, the rooms are spacious and quiet. We did not receive an upgrade, despite the hotel not being full, which I confirmed with a staff member. I thought the service was inconsistent, I did NOT feel valued as a guest, and since I am spending my first day home after the trip squabbling with the hotel and AMEX about 600+ dollars in charges, instead of basking in the memories, I would probably not return. I hear the Waldorf-Astoria is gorgeous, with similar rates and larger, newer rooms with fireplaces!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located at Water Tower Park on the "Magnificent Mile," the city’s premier shopping district, The Peninsula Chicago is the city's most luxurious and sophisticated hotel, offering guests all possible amenities and services. The Peninsula Chicago is a proud recipient of the Five-Star, Five-Diamond Award, and was also recently awarded "#1 Large City Hotel In US And Canada" by readers of Travel + Leisure. The Peninsula Chicago's 339 luxurious guestrooms and suites are among the largest in the city and are exquisitely furnished in a contemporary yet classical style, with a state-of-the-art electronic system that provides guests the ability to control guestroom features with the touch of a button. At the top of The Peninsula Chicago, you’ll find the world-renowned Peninsula Spa. An intimate, indulgent environment featuring innovative spa treatments, gracious service and magnificent facilities including a half-Olympic length swimming pool on the 19th floor overlooking the Chicago skyline. With three distinctive restaurants and a bar, guests can choose from a diverse array of superb dining options. Shanghai Terrace is notable as much for its intensely flavored Shanghainese and Cantonese delicacies as for its matchless service and 1930s supper club atmosphere; The Lobby provides an incredible breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, live entertainment and delectable afternoon tea in elegant surroundings; The Bar offers a sophisticated menu of cocktails, port; and Pierrot Gourmet is a European-style cafe ideal for casual, light fare. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- The Peninsula Chicago Hotel Chicago
- Peninsula Chicago
- Chicago Peninsula