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“Great Location, Inept Front Desk Staff. Broken Shower, TV & AC + Other Issues Abound”
Review of Ivy Boutique Hotel

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Ivy Boutique Hotel
Ranked #86 of 190 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Portland, Oregon
Level 6 Contributor
168 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
“Great Location, Inept Front Desk Staff. Broken Shower, TV & AC + Other Issues Abound”
Reviewed July 16, 2012

First off, I apologize to the readers for this very long review, but the details below are necessary. PLEASE READ IN ENTIRETY IF YOU PLAN TO STAY here and want basics such as a working shower, TV or room with quality climate control.

OUR STORY: My wife and I were really excited when we booked our stay at the Ivy Boutique Hotel, looking forward to celebrating our anniversary at what looked to be a very promising hotel. We had researched the hotel here at Trip Advisor and read the positive reviews. The reviews compared to or exceeded the Fairmont, Swissotel, Westin Mich Ave, Palmer House and other places we've stayed at in Chicago, so we were really excited. The location appeared awesome (it was) and the hotel being new, but open over a month, made us think the hotel would be in great condition (brand new) and some of the bugs others had pointed out in reviews here would be fixed!

Oh, wow, were we wrong!

First, as it was our anniversary and we would be arriving at 1pm, so I asked and arranged (and reconfirmed the night before) and arrival at 1pm, asking our room be available then. I denoted it was our anniversary, as well. The hotel said they'd be happy to accommodate. Great! Well, our room wasn't ready as promised at 1pm. Actually it wasn't even ready at 4pm, the official check in time of the hotel. It's pretty frustrating to pay $350 for 20 hours time (4pm check in, 12pm check out) at a hotel, only to have the hotel not even have your room ready on time! 2 star hotels can manage this. Remember, we arranged early check in and were told it would be no problem!

When we approached the front desk (a tiny 6ft long, basic counter - yes, that's it), it was staffed by two young ladies, both likely in their early 20's. One, Ilana, looked up and was very polite, welcoming us to the Ivy, but told me the young lady to her left (I don't remember her name) would check us in. I gave this young lady my name and she replied "Your room is not ready, unfortunately". I told her we had arranged early check in and confirmed the night before. Her reply was "Many people have checked in in front of you." Huh? What does that mean? She then said she'd check on our room, grabbed a radio and just walked away, leaving us at the check in. What is this all about?

That was hurdle one. She returned 10 minutes later and said she'd found a room and it would be ready shortly. No apologies of the room not being rady, no "Why don't we watch your bags and you can have a drink on us in the lobby bar for the delay." Nothing. Just stand here at the check in and wait on your room that is now 3 hours delayed and isn't even available at check in time!

Finally, our room is ready and we are given keys. We go to our room and walk in. Nice room, but it's hot. Maybe 80f. The elevator was far cooler. It also seems that the hotel hallways are not air conditioned, or perhaps the AC is woefully insufficient. It was likely 80F in the hallway, too. Hot enough to sweat getting to your room. Definitely not a place to stay during hot Chicago summers.

We place our bags in the room and I go down to move my car, as the stated by the hotel benefit of "Valet Parking" simply does not exists (this was complained about by others here on TA). That's correct. They say they have it, but don't. They can tell you where a garage is. Hmmmm, really? You can tell us? What a service! This is a 4-5 star hotel and they say they have an important item, but don't? I tell tell the same young lady that I have medical condition that makes it necessary for the room to be much colder (severe asthma). I also ask for a second comforter, as my wife and I like to have separate blankets. Front desk lady (nor Ilana, the polite young lady, but the other again) says she'll send up a blanket and check on the AC (we found the coolest it can be set to is 67F. Again, climate control "controls" are not 4-5 star hotel controls, but that of a budget hotel). It's 4:40pm.

We return to the hotel at 10pm and the room is now about 75F in our room, getting better, but still warm, and the extra comforter has not been delivered, as requested. I head down to the lobby to discuss the comforter still not being there and heat situation and see a maid in the hall, ask for a blanket (very friendly, brings to our room in 1 minute). Frustrated with the hotel lack of response at this point from the front desk, I conclude front desk will not be fixing the AC at 10pm on a Saturday and it's futile, so I return to my room and get ready for dinner.

We go to take showers to head out on the town and the latest hotel problem props up. The shower is "defective". How can this be? Well, the water actually stops flowing out of the shower head about every 45-60 seconds, and repeats itself, all shower. Take a 10 minute shower and the shower will cut out for 15-30 seconds, every minute or so, offering literally no water flow for roughly half a minute at a time. In other words, 10-12 cut outs in a 10 minute shower. It's like someone is on the other side of the wall, turning the pressure from 100% to 5% and back, every 45-60 seconds! Pretty frustrating. Now throw in that the water was merely luke warm and would fluctuate from cold to warm and back, like someone was flushing a toilet every 30 seconds, and even showering became quite a frustrating experience! I travel 300 days per year + for almost two decades and have never, ever seen a shower as bad as this at any hotel.

We go to dinner and hit the town and he next AM we decide to watch some movies on HBO. Well, that's not going to work well, as the TV cuts out every 15 minutes or so for 3-4 minutes at a time. All the channels fail to work during the "blackouts", regardless of which TV is being watched (two in room). Others on our floor and that I spoke with on the elevator are having the same issues.

We go to check out on Sunday AM. I never complained at check out, as I felt the mentioning much to the front desk was a futile experience at this point, so I simply asked for the managers name when picking up our $350 bill. Ilana, the efficient and nice girl (the less friendly, less efficient lady who checked us in is not at the desk), digs through a drawer and countless business cards looking for one of the manager. After a minute, she gives up and writes the managers email on our bill. We check out, walk two blocks to the car in 90F heat to drop off our bags and head out on the town sweating from carrying the bags.

3 hours POST CHECK OUT, James, the manger calls us out of the blue to explain the climate control situation. I explain to him we checked out hours ago and that any explanation is futile, as we are already gone! He apologizes for the problems we had and said he would personally write me an email of apology (I did not ask for this) and would give us a "very generous discount to have us back to show us the true quality of the hotel".

So, in review, the hotel has failed in:

- Not having the promised valet parking
- Not having our room ready as promised and not even at the check in time
- Providing an unbearably hot room with a climate control the wouldn't adjust to an acceptable temperate.
- Providing a room with a broken TV system
- Providing a room with a broken shower
- Dropping the ball on the comforter and response to the hot room, only addressing any issues hours after we've checked out and left the hotel!

All of these problems are apparently not worth a single dollar discount on the effected stay. Their position: Spend more money with us and just trust us we will make it better. Wait until you hear about the "generous discount" offered as detailed below!


Folks, there are truly embarrassing levels of maintenance/build at this hotel, trumped by totally inept responses to problems within it. At a 4-5 star hotel, one should be able to sleep in comfort, not sweat all night, watch a TV that works, take a shower that doesn't cease working every 45-60 seconds and have their reasonable requests (temperature and blankets) met.

Besides the above, we found problems others have noted as well:

- Rugs: The area rugs are sharp on your feet, even in socks, and peel up from the floor, causing you to trip (others noted this many times). It sounds stupid, but you do trip over these. They are a total liability to this hotel and the complaints here will be evidence of non-response should someone get hurt. Taping down the corners as they did and write about on TA, did not work, as the tape was peeling off on our rugs and the corners were pointing up. These must be changed out for the liability alone. Are you listening owners, as your manager isn't!!!!

- TV in bathroom behind mirror: How is this controlled? We could find no remote (there definitely wasn't one in bathroom) or room. A feature you can't use. Not good.

Bathtub - Stains in the bottom of the bathtub. Red spots all over had me trying to wipe them off. They seem permanent, but it's quite odd to have 15-20 spots of red, black and yellow in a brand new tub.

We stayed in: Room 1402

Don't take our work, watch the below videos of the TV and shower flow.

Problematic TV system at hotel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7giqRzLHKfU

Problematic shower at hotel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IezXcZXXcY


So, back to the "generous offer": James, the manager, offered not a penny reduction on the room. He offered us to come back to Chicago, something not available to us due to our travel schedule any known time in the future. Yes, he wanted us to spend more money with the hotel, offering basically a $75 discount in the form of promising us a $199 room rate. When I didn't accept his offer and wrote I would take my complaints here to Trip Advisor, he wrote a rude and rambling, grammar poor letter, in which he claimedI was "defaming him" with my complaint to him per the documented facts of our stay. Apparently, to James, not having a properly working TV, shower or climate control, not having your rooms ready on time and not delivering things to the room as promised is par for the course and if you bring them up, you are "defaming". Watch out!


Conclusion: The Ivy Boutique hotel needs quality management and responses to issues that pop up. It seems understaffed and "yes" is not an answer that rolls off anyone's tongue. They showed absolutely no ability to resolve issues during our stay which damaged our stay and anniversary night. The property has far too many electrical and water based issues to stay currently. Manger just blames these items being new. The problem is, customers pay full price and are heavily inconvenienced while they sort their issues, causing poor sleep, showering and poor stays at the hotel. What more do you want from a hotel then TV, SLEEP AND BATHING!

Take your business elsewhere.

Room Tip: Avoid this hotel and especially room 1402 until they have fixed all their problems! Avoid in general...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
18 Thank sidelinesports
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JamesCazares, Guest Relations Manager at Ivy Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, July 31, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to give your thoughts on the IVY Boutique Hotel and I'm sorry to hear that your experience was not to your liking. As a newly open hotel, we recognize that there is always the chance to improve on our aim to deliver the very highest standards of service and we will continue to strive for this.

Sincerely,

Albert Pino
Guest Relations
Tel: (312) 335-5444
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (174)
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English first
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 13, 2012

Ivy hotel staff were very polite and helped us with all our questions.

3 days stay at there hotel was very pleasant

very nice and clean rooms. good place to stay for bucks spent

thank you

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank culvre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JamesCazares, General Manager at Ivy Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, July 31, 2012
Dear Guest,

I am so delighted to read that you enjoyed your recent stay at the IVY Boutique Hotel and I'm glad you enjoyed our rooms. Thank you for taking the time to post a review on TripAdvisor. We hope to welcome you back to the hotel in the very near future.

Sincerely,

James Cazares
General Manager
Tel: (312) 335-5444
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed July 12, 2012

I was expecting a glorious stay, and things like the bed & shower were top notch. But i did have a few concerns to share...the thistle rugs are uncomfortable on bare feet. Ours had been taped & velcro'd to the bamboo floor, but still turned up a full inch at the corners, causing us to trip repeatedly. They advertised valet parking, ipad check in, a personal staff escort to the room, and a fitness center. On July 9, none of these advertised perks were available. Nor were we given anything for the inconvenience. That was a disappointment. I could go on about the fridge that is prefilled, and not really meant for any of your leftovers. Or about the hole in the ceiling outside of room 504. Or the part of the fifth floor ceiling that looks like someone spray painted some plywood silver and nailed it up there. But I'd rather wonder out loud why a new upscale boutique hotel would get chitzy on the turndown service and give any guest a half of a small muffin. Not one of those big bakery muffins. And not an intact muffin. A small muffin that had clearly been removed from its wrapper, cut in half, and laid cut-side-down on a plate. It somehow felt like an insult.
I get that everyone else is in love with this hotel. Believe me' i was in love with the idea of it until I got there. It was not a horrible place...I just would never pay that kind of price for an unfinished property that knew it could not offer what it had advertised on Groupon.
Oh, and watch the door if you stay in room 504. It does not close unless you force it shut.

Room Tip: Stay at the Omni
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank PrincessSusan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JamesCazares, General Manager at Ivy Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, July 31, 2012
Dear Guest,

I was sorry to hear that you found you recent experience at the IVY Boutique Hotel, Chicago disappointing. We appreciate all feedback and I would be delighted to discuss your experience with you in more detail. Please feel free to get in touch with me at your convenience.

Sincerely,

James Cazares
General Manager
Tel: (312) 335-5444
E: James@exploreivy.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2012

We came to this hotel only three weeks after it opened - the chap on the desk said disarmingly that there had been "teething troubles" but he thought they were all ironed out now. They were! It was a great h0tel, with excellent service. They suggested in a non-pushy way that as we were staying for five nights, we might prefer a suite to the small studio we'd booked, for only $30 more a night - they were right, it was a gorgeous suite. The only two things we would comment on is that it seemed pretty quiet - I hope it gets busier as a hotel as nice as this deserves to do well. And the internet connection was patchy. We slept gorgeously, in total quiet and in well-sealed darkness, and would come back any time.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LondonCleverTrevor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JamesCazares, General Manager at Ivy Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, July 31, 2012
Dear Guest,

I want to thank you for choosing to stay with us at the IVY Boutique Hotel during you recent visit to Chicago. We are always happy to read positive reviews and appreciate you taking the time to write about our hotel.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.
Sincerely,

James Cazares
General Manager
Tel: (312) 335-5444
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2012

Before I write my review I want to take the time to say thank you Ivy hotel for a perfect evening!
My wife was stumbling around on Facebook and found a new hotel that just opened up. We looked on their website and ending up calling them directly. The person that I talked to ended up giving me a better rate than their website showed and even an upgrade to a suite for just $75. When we arrived at the hotel we were in awe, the pictures on the website does not show how beautiful this property really is. Albert at the front desk was extremely helpful, he arranged reservations for us at Volare and even got us an anniversary package for our suite. My wife loved the champagne, rose petals on the bed and truffles that they brought us at night. We will have to visit soon for their opening of their rooftop lounge next week. If we ever get another chance to stay over in Chicago we will definitely be going to the Ivy Hotel!!

Room Tip: Ask for a GYM pass, their partners with a workout facility with an amazing pool and sauna. Try the...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SamRich45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JamesCazares, General Manager at Ivy Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, July 25, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for sharing your feedback on the IVY Boutique Hotel, Chicago. We are delighted to hear that you were impressed with both the service and the staff. I will pass along your kind words to Albert. We hope you will visit again and look forward to welcoming you!

Sincerely,

James Cazares
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
canada
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2012

This hotel is in an excellent location, great for walking to the pier, about 15 minute walk to pier, magnificent mile, and lots of dining and bars,
Hotel was only open 2 weeks before we arrived, and the t.v. that was in the mirror in the bathroom was not running yet, as the safety deposit box was not programmed yet so we could not use it , and they were suppose to have a complimentary bottle of champange for us when we arrived, it was there for a steep fee, room is very spacious in the king suite, a bit pricey for this price they should have a breakfast in the lobby, and get the crowd to use the dining room in the evening, just my thoughts,I would stay here again.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank johndeeregal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JamesCazares, General Manager at Ivy Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, July 25, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for sharing your feedback on the IVY Boutique Hotel Chicago. We would love for you to come back and visit the hotel now that we've been open for over month now. Please email info@exploreivy.com for special rates and promotions for your next stay in Chicago!

Sincerely,

James Cazares
General Manager

General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mundelein, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
89 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2012

Wow. I am almost at a loss for words. This boutique hotel is absolutely beautiful and it's less than a month old. From the moment you walk into the place and are greeted by both a wonderful staff, a beautiful place, and frozen grapes you know this is going to be an experience. Our room was breathtaking. You have your bathroom with the rain shower head and waterfall stick and a big soaker tub and a tv in the mirror. Then your king sized bed on a platform with another tv and then your sitting area with yet another tv and a beautiful view. Oh and did I mention the curtains and blinds controlled at the push of a button? The bar/small restaurant area is cute and the bartender Chris was an absolute sweetheart. We also met Frank (rooftop manager) who was so nice and friendly. Honestly - the entire staff overall is very friendly and accommodating. The rooftop lounge wasn't open yet but we went upstairs to check it out. I promise you I will be back just to hang out up there! Oh - almost forgot it is also located within walking distance of numerous nice restaurants and bars so take the train and don't worry about driving here!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Espo65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JamesCazares, General Manager at Ivy Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, July 23, 2012
Dear Renee E.,

Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback about the IVY Boutique Hotel on TripAdvisor. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay. I will be sure to pass along your kind words to Chris and Frank.

Thank you again!


Sincerely,

James Cazares
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ivy Boutique Hotel

Property: Ivy Boutique Hotel
Address: 233 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611-3214
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Streeterville , Near North Side
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #86 of 190 Hotels in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Ivy Boutique Hotel 4.5*
Number of rooms: 63
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chicago's newest four star boutique hotel located just steps away from the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Ave, Chicago beaches, Navy Pier, and the restaurants of Streeterville. Experience IVY a Hotel like no other... Look to the IVY as your luxury boutique hotel experience in Chicago... Elegant, sophisticated, stylish, incredibly comfortable and quiet, the IVY is everything you’re looking for. The IVY Hotel offers distinguished and discreet personalized service. You'll find its sleek modern decor refined and understated, complemented by works of fine art from local artists. Each room and suite has been custom designed with functionality in mind. Soaring 16 floors high and with 63 rooms mostly composed of suites with your comfort in mind. Amenities at the IVY positively define luxury. ... more   less 
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