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“need to work out some kinks ...”
Review of Ivy Boutique Hotel

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Ivy Boutique Hotel
Ranked #84 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 23, 2012

They only recently opened and there were some technical problems (TV, air con, internet). Worse, the room smelled like sewage a couple times! And there were some other, smaller issues.

But, the staff was nice (if not super competent), the room was large and mostly nice, the bed was really comfy, and the shower incredible.

It's in the real touristy section of town, surrounded by other hotels and near the Rainforest Cafe.

  • Stayed: July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank xyyzSF
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 reviewResponded July 31, 2012

Dear Guest,

We appreciate you taking the time to comment on your recent stay at the IVY Boutique Hotel and I am sorry to hear that you did not enjoy you experience to the fullest. I would be happy to discuss your stay further with you. Please feel free to contact me by email at your convenience.

Sincerely,

James Cazares
General Manager
Tel: (312) 335-5444
E: James@exploreivy.com

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670 - 676 of 732 reviews

Reviewed July 20, 2012

This hotel is a mixed blessing. Fantastic location, great hotel bar that's open late, super friendly doormen, friendly front desk.

Loved the room, at first. Electric drapes are a great feature. Hardwood floors in bedroom, marble floors in bathroom, top line fixtures, huge flat screen TV in the room. The bedding is fantastic. So soft, great mattress. The AC system was very cold, which was important as Chicago was very hot while we were there.

But this hotel just has problems with things that just knock it down a few levels. Hot water was non-existent during our stay (as many others posted. Wish I looked here before I booked). The best it got was JUST warm enough to shower. Pressure varied all the time, too. From really powerful to not enough to get the soap out of my hair. Literally, continually, changed by the minute.

The TV system was problematic, too. It stopped working randomly during our stay. Would just cut out for minutes at a time and oddly on all channels. You'd switch channels, thinking it was the channel itself, and all would be black. Gentleman at front desk said they were aware of the problem and were looking into it, but we never heard back and the problems persisted. The TV system also has very few channels, inexcusable for a hotel of this level. I'd guess around 20 in total! No Speed Channel, no ESPN (both to the dismay of my husband), no Fox News (some may see this as a positive), etc. The Holiday Inn we recently stayed at in St. Louis had far more selection, at 1/3 the price.

The internet was also an issue. I could not log in with either my iPad or mabook, my husband couldn't log in with his dell. This wasn't a big deal, as we weren't here on business, but this could be a problem for many.

Lastly, the rugs! Oh the rugs! They are made out of some material that literally hurts your bare feet to walk on them. You honestly can't walk on them! Plus the rugs are area or throw rugs, so you cross from the beautiful hard wood floors onto these rugs. The problem with this? The rugs edges stick up and catch your feet, whether barefoot or wearing shoes. Have throw rugs in our home and live with them elsewhere. Neither of us had ever seen anything like this.

Lastly, as a gal, I was a bit shocked when there was no ironing board or iron in the room! Also (gal again), the bathroom soaps/conditioners provided were awesome. Top quality stuff. Best of any hotel I've stayed at.

Overall a nice hotel suffering from niggling problems that would have been much more upsetting, had we spent any major time in the room. Once the rugs are replaced and the water pressure/internet/tv problems fixed, this place will be awesome.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank GoGators24
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 reviewResponded July 31, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your comments regarding your stay at the IVY Boutique Hotel. Your feedback is extremely important as it helps us to continually improve our service and provide a memorable experience to our valued guests.

Our relationship with our guests is of great importance to us and we hope that you will present us with the opportunity to better serve you in the future.

Sincerely,

James Cazares
General Manager
Tel: (312) 335-5444

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Reviewed July 19, 2012

I just stayed at the Ivy for two nights and it was fantastic. When I came in there were other guests in my assigned room, so the very apologetic staff sat me in the bar and gave me a free (large) glass of wine. After no more than 5 minutes I was escorted upstairs to my new room and was given an upgrade to the king suite for free.
The room was absolutely beautiful. One wall was a large window with automatic curtains. The king bed was up on a pedestal, had individual reading lights on each side, and had a large flat screen tv. The bathroom was the best part - a huge bathtub and a waterfall shower.
I was in and out of the room on my first day and missed the first housekeeping time. I left at 5:00 and returned at 10:30 and to my surprise the room was immaculately made up with a plate of cookies and a brownie waiting for me. I also loved the Keurig coffee machine with flavored creamers in the room.
The only small problems were (as mentioned in the last review) the hot water never got super hot, and the tv screen in my bathroom mirror wasn't working (talk about first world problems).
The location of the hotel is great - there's tons of shopping and restaurants within easy walking distance. I got there from the airport easily on the blue line train and a bus.
I absolutely loved the Ivy and would recommend it to anyone who wants to be near Northwestern and/or the Magnificent Mile.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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3  Thank FiercestCalm
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 reviewResponded August 16, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for staying with us at the IVY Boutique Hotel and of course thank you for sharing your experience on Tripadvisor. We are so glad that you enjoyed the amenities in our rooms. Did you know at the IVY hotel each item in our guest rooms was designed with functionality and luxury in mind? If you get a chance to visit Chicago in the future we would love to host you again!

Sincerely,

James Cazares
General Manager
T: (312)335-5444

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2012

I can only compare my stay so far at the Ivy Boutique Hotel to that a few weeks ago at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess (Gold Room) in Bermuda—historically renowned for its outstanding hospitality. If the Ivy continues with its formula for excellence, it will surely establish itself as one of the top choices for hospitality in Chicago. When I checked in, I was informed by the front desk attendant that I had been upgraded to a king suite. When I walked through the room, my son and I pulled out our cameras. My son called his girl friend and exclaimed, "This place is crazy!" I took pictures of the entire suite to show off to my wife when I get back to Bermuda—the room is magnificent, with original art on the wall, a television in every room (3), including one that is a part of the bathroom mirror. The bathtub is huge—I could actually stretch out the legs of my 6’1” frame. The king bed is wonderful. I slept like a baby using all four of their wonderful pillows. The only thing that I found as a drawback is that the closet is small. Perhaps that stands out because I just left a king suite in Silver Spring, MD that had a walk-in closet. But other than that this place is over the top. The service has been solid. Room service was quick. The food in the restaurant was great. I actually ackniwledge several hotel personnel by first name. I am definitely going to have to bring my wife to the Ivy on our next trip together to Chicago.

Room Tip: The hotel has only been open for five weeks and is privately owned. The entire hotel is classy.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Joseph W
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 reviewResponded July 31, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you so much for sharing your experience at the IVY Boutique Hotel on TripAdvisor. We are so glad you enjoyed the rooms and please feel free to share your photos on our social media pages. We would love to see them! We look forward to welcoming you and your wife on your next trip to Chicago.

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.
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
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 reviewResponded 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.
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
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 reviewResponded 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.
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
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 reviewResponded 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

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

Address: 233 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611-3214
Phone Number:
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 #84 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Price Range: $124 - $302 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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