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“Nice hotel, excellent service, but overpriced and overhyped”

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The Peninsula Chicago
Ranked #3 of 190 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Miami, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Nice hotel, excellent service, but overpriced and overhyped”
Reviewed August 2, 2009

I stayed three nights at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel for a business conference. This was my first stay at a Peninsula Hotel. I stayed as part of the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program. I had an executive suite (no upgrade) and spent a great deal of time in the room working. Perhaps it was all the hype I heard about this chain of hotels in advance that truly raised my expectations, but I was a bit underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very nice hotel, but there are areas that could use improvement. Here are my observations about this hotel:

GOOD:
* The service is, predictably, excellent. The very best. You are greeted by everyone with a smile. Responses to your requests are immediate. The housekeeping is the best I’ve ever experienced. They are like “service ninjas” who somehow detect those rare moments when you may not be in your room and they make it immaculately clean within 10 minutes. Laundry as well was very quick. When I arrived at the hotel, my suit and a couple of shirts I packed were a bit wrinkled. They took care of them all within an hour.
* Free wireless internet throughout the hotel.
* The food was pretty good for the most part. The kobe burger was good, as was the creamless tomato soup. The afternoon tea service is great.
* The fitness center was nice (not as large as hotels like the Four Seasons, which have a Sports Club LA in them) but sufficient, and very well kept. There were only a couple of other people in there when I went to work out, so I got to use all the equipment I wanted without a problem.
* The desk in the room was good. I like a big desk when I travel for work. It gives me room to use my laptop, open up binders, and multitask. I was easily able to do that. I wish, though, that they would position it in a way that would allow you to take advantage of the views while you work. (See my comment below about how the bottom drawer should be used for a printer, not a fax).
* The bathroom was very nice. Good standup shower and nice bathtub that overlooks the city. Having a small TV screen next to the bath was great as well. Only complaint in that part of the room was that the stopper in one of the two sinks didn’t work and the water took a while to heat up.
* The bed was very comfortable, as were the pillows. A+ in this department.

BAD:
* When I arrived there were two gnats in my room. Not a big deal, but I was surprised. One of them was killed when it took a nose dive into my soup at lunch (which I had fortunately pretty much finished).
* The technology in the room is a bit outdated. True, there is the high tech control panel that you can use to change the lighting, TV channels, and air conditioning. On the other hand, there were no flat screen TVs in my living room or bedroom, no high definition or HDMI, no iPod radio, and the telephones (not portable) are old -- one of mine had to be replaced because it didn’t work properly. There’s a fax machine in the desk drawer, but quite frankly I don’t know of many people who use those very much – most communication is done by e-mail these days. The space would be better used by a printer. There’s a stereo in the living room, but it looks like something my father owned in 1980.
* Prices were RIDICULOUS! I expected to pay a decent amount of money because this is a top notch hotel, but some things were laughable -- $13 for a cappuccino to be delivered to my room. Two course meal for one person - $100 (no alcohol). Spa was outrageously overpriced.
* The room was not well insulated from the noise. I constantly heard sirens, car horns, and beeping noises from the street 11 floors below. I also heard when people above me were turning on their water.
* There was a horrible air freshener smell on my floor. It’s not throughout the whole hotel and I only traveled to my floor so I don’t know whether it was an issue with my floor or all floors but it was clearly a scent that was there on purpose.

CONCLUSION:
The Peninsula hype I received before I arrived was a little too much. This is a nice hotel but I’ll probably try a different one next time I’m in Chicago. The service is excellent but the rooms are a bit dated, which results in some minor annoyances. More than anything else it is very overpriced. I realize that you pay a lot for a top flight hotel, and I'm willing to do that, but I think I probably could have paid less and received more at the Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Aj74mia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Germantown, Wisconsin
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed July 13, 2009

This is a spectacular hotel. There isn't one thing I could complain about. The service, ammenities, location and room were all great.

It is very expensive but you get what you pay for. Flat screen in the room, iPod dock, free wi-fi, the most comfortable bed I've ever slept on and one of the best showers I've ever had in a room. Everything is first class.

I'm not sure I'd take kids here although there were some around. The pool is nice but mostly set up for lap swimming and there is a hot tub as well. Both are indoor.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Brewer21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nyc
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed July 8, 2009

I booked this trip at the last minute so naturally the rate was pretty high. I've read so many favorable comments about the Peninsula that I just had to check it out for myself. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. The service I received from the moment I stepped in front of the hotel (greeted warmly by valet) until the day I departed was memorable. I am hooked. While there I visited the pool area and felt so relaxed I fell asleep in no time. The iced lemon water and iced strawberry water was a nice touch. Breakfast in the lobby restaurant was nice as well. I also visited the bar and received great service. The servers were friendly and offered great suggestions on where to view the fireworks. Fridays & Saturdays the hotel provides live jazz in the lobby area where you can enjoy cocktails and meals. The lighting was perfect for the setting. I must say the thing that I like the most was the control box that is placed on the nightstand. You can control the TV, the lights and the alarm clock. No more looking for the remote. I must get one for my bedroom. One other thing that I found favorable was the fact that the hotel places your newspaper in a small handled bag which is hung on the door knob. No more bending down to retrieve the newspaper. The money was well spent. I can hardly wait to return.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 2broadway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 223 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2009

These comments are a year delayed; we stayed in Aug, 2008. Peninsula Chicago is by far the best luxury in Chicago -- perfect location, boutique-like stellar personal service, gorgeous spa, beautiful marble bathrooms in the rooms, traditional rooms with modern amenities and superb linens. Absolutely the best in five-star luxury in Chicago. NB: We viewed our friends' room at the Four Seasons Chicago and, while perfectly adequate for a hotel in general, for five-star, it seemed a bit stale and outdated; the common areas of the Four Seasons were unimpressive for "five star" -- if you're spending this kind of money, absolutely opt for the Peninsula vs. Four Seasons => no contest.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RLA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Palm Beach
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 15, 2009

Probably the best hotel in Chicago considering the location and quality of the property.

  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank G8TR73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Malibu, California
Level 6 Contributor
120 reviews
98 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 291 helpful votes
Reviewed June 8, 2009

This is with out a doubt the finest hotel in Chicago. Everything about it 5 star plus. My room was large, the windows opened so you can let in fresh air and hear the city sounds. The location is right on Michigan Avenue in the middle of the Magnificent Mile. There is a great reception area, a large lobby restaurant and bar, a café with outdoor seating and everything else you could want. The indoor lap pool is huge, has a view from the 19th floor and has an adjacent outdoor seating/sunning area also with a spectacular view. The hotel lacked nothing. Everything it has is spectacular. And it was all priced accordingly, e.g. my room service breakfast of blueberry pancakes and coffee for one was $55. On the bright side the in room wifi is free and worked great. I cannot think of anything that was less than perfect. Needless to say I would highly recommend this hotel to others who want and can afford this luxury.
One more note on the area-right across the street is the Rosebud Cafe with some of the best Italian food ever with large portions, reasonable prices and great outdoor seating. A must go to in Chicago.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Taniquan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
1 review
Reviewed June 8, 2009

I booked a Fri and Sat Night stay at the Peninsula for my wife and my 1st wedding Anniversary. To simply put it, the Peninsula exceeded our expectations of luxury, service, and relaxation. Check-in was fine, it is a nice touch for the front desk attendant to peronally escort you to your room, give you a brief tour, and inquire of any other needs. The Deluxe king we booked was very clean, spacious, and comfortable. The kingsize bed was very comfortable with plenty of pillows and soft comforter.
The bathroom was very large, marble everything, the highlight is the tv/radio controls for use while in the bathtub. The deep soaking tub and seperate shower have excellent water pressure and space for two.
On Saturday night we went to the lobby for the Jazz at the Pen. The jazz quartet was very good, able to read and play off of the crowd.
The spa and finess center were top notch. The pool is very nice and sun filled, there is an outdoor sundeck, but it can get quite windy 20 floors up.
Room service, housekeeping, and the front desk staff are very efficient and accomodating.
Our weekend at the Peninsula Hotel was arguably the best we have ever had, aside from our honeymoon.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank henslcc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Peninsula Chicago

Property: The Peninsula Chicago
Address: 108 E Superior St, at North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2645
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Magnificent Mile , Near North Side
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Chicago
#3 Business Hotel in Chicago
#3 Family Hotel in Chicago
#3 Luxury Hotel in Chicago
#4 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Peninsula Chicago 5*
Number of rooms: 339
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 
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Also Known As:
The Peninsula Chicago Hotel Chicago
Peninsula Chicago
Chicago Peninsula

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