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.
- 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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