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“Generous service”
Review of Carlton Inn Midway

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Carlton Inn Midway
Ranked #44 of 188 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
28 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Generous service”
Reviewed May 17, 2014

They let us check in early which was nice. We also had free & safe parking. The staff at reception were extremely helpful & went out of their way to help us with all enquiries. Our room was spacious and very clean. It was roughly a 5 minute stroll to the Orange Line to the city and we felt safe even at night. There were restaurants and shops nearby too. It was very convenient.
We found their staff extremely honest and gracious as they not only found my husbands memory cards but also posted it out to us in Australia & didn't deduct the cost of postage from our account even though we gave them permission to do so as it wasn't cheap. Breakfast was included and we enjoyed the cheese and egg croissants. The staff always made us feel welcome and we had a very wholesome stay.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank pstanslaus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (115)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
Midwest U.S.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed May 4, 2014

I stayed at the Carlton Inn Midway for three nights in mid-October as I was running the 2013 Chicago Marathon. The hotel is basically a value motel, with doors opening outdoors onto parking spots. While some used to paying less than $100 a night will consider the rate high, I found a better rate on its website than Hotels.com, so I booked directly with Carlton online. Its rate is substantially lower than the rates of downtown Chicago hotels. This is by no means a luxury hotel, but it may be one of the best values in town.

It's at a convenient location, a five-minute walk from the Orange line Pulaski station, one stop away from Chicago Midway Airport and about a 20-minute ride to Roosevelt station south of the Loop. It provides one of the best balances between location and affordability. If you want to stay in downtown, you will pay much, much more. I chose it because it was the most affordable way to get to the marathon starting line within Grant Park within 30-40 minutes. The hotels around the airport aren't within easy walking distance of the airport's Orange Line station and you'll have to take a shuttle. (Carlton also provides on-call shuttle service)

The thing that distinguishes Carlton from any other hotel is the attitude of the staff, especially head manager Gary and the other manager (I believe Valerie). They're outgoing, friendly and they go WAY out of their way to address any issues. When you often read hotel reviews, you often come across the stereotypical hotel clerk or manager who's indifferent and couldn't care less. The managers and staff at Carlton are the opposite of this. Even the shuttle drivers are very friendly.

They take the initiative to ask how your stay is going, offer you amenities like early check-in, if a room is available, and shuttle service and in my case, even one night's refund due to excessive noise by a wedding party the night before the marathon. Valerie even called to speak with me while checking on the noise situation while she was out of town on a personal trip. (See more details below)

I arrived very early on the Friday morning (around 7:30 a.m.) before the marathon on Sunday morning. I called ahead, and the friendly shuttle driver was kind enough to wait for me outside baggage claim. (Alternatively, I could have taken the orange line train one stop and walked the five minutes but with the shuttle that's unnecessary). I asked but did not expect early check-in to be available. The clerk said there wasn't a room available. But when Gary, the manager, came in, he found me an available room, and I was able to take a four hour nap, hours before the official check-in time. (No guarantee this is always available). You'll also find Gary's dog Buddy often camped out in the lobby. He's a very amicable, friendly dog and adds a nice home touch to the motel. In fact, the Carlton room art consists of photographs of Buddy.

The room was of sufficient size. The bed was comfortable. Everything was clean. I got a fridge, microwave and TV, which I did not use. There might have been a coffee maker, but I don't drink coffee (I'd call the hotel to ask). There was plenty of furniture to put stuff on. When I was stretching later to go out on my run, Valerie who was walking by asked how my stay was going, and I said good.

The neighborhood is a working-class area with signs in English and Spanish. Lots of mom and pop businesses mixed with franchises. A Walgreen's drug store is about a 10-minute walk away. But this is not a tourist destination. During the day, it felt absolutely safe. At night when walking from the subway station, I felt safe, but I felt isolated. I never saw any menacing characters, like I did while walking from Chinatown to McCormick Place a few months before. But around the Pulaski Station, there was no one else on the sidewalks at night except a few walkers from the station. There were no panhandlers or anyone trying to hustle me. Due to the isolation, I would recommend that women by themselves call Carlton and they will gladly pick you up in the shuttle at the Pulaski station.

Carlton provides a very basic breakfast. Nothing fancy here. There are breakfast sandwiches you can microwave, pastries, doughnuts, bagels along with jelly, peanut butter and some variant of butter. They did allow me full use of the lobby toaster to toast bagels I had brought along for carboloading. People who have high expectations of hotel breakfasts -- may be disappointed. You're not going to get scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs or potatoes. I don't remember there being a waffle-making machine that some hotels have. Since I don't care about hotel breakfasts, this didn't bother me in the slightest. There is a useful ice machine by the lobby.

The Friday night went without incident. I got a crucial good night's sleep.

On Saturday night, I got back from the Chicago Marathon pasta dinner downtown around 9:30 p.m. I didn't really start falling asleep until around 11 p.m. Then I heard the noises of people talking in the parking lot. I heard people pushing coolers across the parking lot. They were congregating around the outside of a room across the way from me. They were holding a party and making a ruckus. I called the woman at the desk and complained about the noise. She said she would get it addressed. After several minutes, the noise didn't stop. I called again. She said they weren't cooperating. The hotel security guard, whom I was told was an employee for a contractor hired by Carlton, came by my room and told me it was a wedding party. Apparently, they rented their wedding hall for only a limited time (apparently to save money) and brought the party back to the motel.

The guard, a little man, seemed to be happier for the bride and groom then interested in stopping the noise. He seemed to have no interest in asserting himself. To make a long story short, I kept on calling the desk as the chatter wouldn't stop. (Because the motel rooms are all along the small parking lot, any gathering of people there will result in noise for the nearest rooms). The woman apologized but said the guests were not complying. I said I would call police if necessary and that it was an unacceptable that the night before the marathon, there was this noise level. I tried to go to sleep but couldn't. Apparently, a lot of people were congregating outside the bride and groom's room so they could smoke outside. Enraged, I went to the lobby a couple of times to complain.

The hotel staff tried to tell them to keep it down and go into the room, but the guests I guess determined to smoke refused. The groom, who was extremely intoxicated, and his friend came into the lobby. When I returned to the lobby to complain again, determined to sit in the lobby until they resolved the issue, the groom confronted me. He said he had been planning the wedding for 2 1/2 years, and it wasn't anyone's place to interfere with the festivities. "You're not going to win the race anyway," he said, slurring his words. Then he tried to lunge at me. HIs friend had to restrain him.

A new security guard came on duty, but he wasn't able to get them to go in their room. Valerie called from out of town and profusely apologized. The staff offered the party another room farther away and many of the guests started making their way there. But then they insisted on coming back to the original room. Chicago Police showed up, but after they left, the noise level went up again. At this point it was 1 a.m. and I had to get up at around 5 a.m. to make the 7:30 a.m. race start time. Chicago police officers made a second appearance.

At this point, I turned on my Black noise app on my ipad, which produced a background noise to help drown out the partiers. I eventually fell asleep and got three tough hours of sleep. The clerk at least did make a wakeup call to ensure I woke up at 5 a.m. When I woke up, the party was over. Carlton did bring me and some other guests running the marathon by shuttle to the CTA station. And I did make it to the race on time. I was pretty angry about what happened. But I ran the best race of my life, so by the time I got back to the hotel I was in a much better mood.

After returning at 5 p.m., I did crash that Sunday night and had a pretty good nap. When I woke up around 9 p.m., the clerk provided a list of restaurants nearby that I could have a late night dinner, and I found a decent but not great Mexican place that closed at midnight near the Pulaski station. I slept well that Sunday night.

The next morning, Monday, before I checked out (I think around noon), I discovered that Gary was unaware of the late Saturday night/early Sunday morning wedding party. When I told him about it, he expressed indignation and immediately offered to refund me one night's stay without me even asking.

To be fair, I talked with other guests at the hotel who ran the marathon, and all of them slept through the noise. It could have been my proximity to the wedding party's room and the fact I went to sleep later than they did.

I would give the hotel another chance. I would chalk up what happened that night to really bad luck. Valerie said she had been planning the wedding with that group for months, but there was no indication they would do what they did. And the fact that Gary gave me a refund and showed he was willing to do whatever it took to make the situation right.

Gary was more than happy to store my bags after checkout when I made a last foray into the city. When I returned at around 5 p.m. Monday to pick my bags up, the shuttle driver gave me a ride to Midway Airport and even gave me some advice on dealing with some plantar fascia that had cropped up after the race. I easily made my flight home with plenty of time to spare.

To sum up, it's really rare to find a hotel staff this friendly, outgoing and a willingness to please as this one. It doesn't feel corporate at all. Unless there's evidence to the contrary, I'm inclined to consider what happened with the wedding party an anomaly and so I highly recommend this motel for travelers on a budget who fly into Midway Airport.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank WhiteFone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elizabeth, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 29, 2014

I checked in the hotel at around 7am and I had noticed they were serving breakfast. I asked if my husband and I could have breakfast before we entered the room. The hispanic man at the front desk told me I had to pay $15.00 for breakfast. My husband paid the $15.00 even though I thought that it was a little weird. I called down to the front desk and asked if everyone pays for breakfast because it said complimentary. The young lady who answered said that it was complimentary. I asked if I could have my breakfast sent to my room. She said we do not send breakfast to the room but for the misunderstanding she would make an exception. I was also given my money back but what kind of people do you have working there that charges for breakfast when it is suppose to be free. How many other times have they done this and gotten away with it.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank Madonna B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gary G, General Manager at Carlton Inn Midway, responded to this review, April 30, 2014
Dear Madonna B.,
Thank you for your review. I do apologize for any misunderstanding or possible miscommunication regarding breakfast –the facts are as follows:

As many hotels around airports do- we offer an unadvertised daytime short stay airport layover rate based on availability for guests between flights. The deeply discounted rate is roughly 50% of our regular rate and includes a short stay as well as round trip transport to and from the airport but does not include breakfast.-which can be purchased for $7.50 per person, the same price we charge for a non hotel guest visiting a guest

We did refund your money not because the charge was wrong but because your understanding was that the breakfast could be served room service style. Our breakfast is a continental, buffet style, self serve breakfast and we are not set up to deliver food on serving trays with covered plates to guest rooms. We were more than happy to have our Courtesy Car Driver bring you breakfast, just not in a room service style manner that you may have expected. As we did not want you to be disappointed we elected to refund your money even though you did not make such a request.

Again, I apologize for any misunderstanding and thank you for staying with us.

Very Truly Yours,
Gary F Gray
Gen. Mgr.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed April 19, 2014

I needed to find a place close to downtown and affordable. Best front desk staff I have ever met. So helpful and informative. Ask and they bent over backwards to help us. Free parking and they let us leave our car there after check out to do our last day of sight-seeing. 3 min walk from the orange line. @ 1.5 miles from Hwy 55. Clean, free WIFI, free breakfast-which included Dunkin Donuts sandwiches & donuts. Cleanest tub I've ever seen in any hotel...actually was able to take a hot bath. Free cable including all movie stations. I loved it. My daughter & I felt safe and taken care of. I recommend anyone on a budget to give it a try.

Room Tip: ask for 1st floor if trouble getting upstairs.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Bzeebee65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Johns, Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 13, 2014

Clean rooms, comfortable beds,shuttle service to and from airport and on site parking. All great. Staff very helpful and even had their breakfast ready a half early to accomodate our early leaving time!

Grandad

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Paul G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2014 via mobile

Was flying out of midway for first time, found this little gem of a hotel. Shuttle to airport, clean rooms, nice breakfast, but most importantly GREAT STAFF! From check in person(Alex) to shuttle driver (Steve) all were helpful and very friendly. Not much from the outside but well worth it especially if traveling from Midway. Would do park and fly again in a heartbeat!

Stayed March 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank jpp715
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lexington, Ohio
Level Contributor
184 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
Reviewed March 25, 2014

The rooms are not fancy at all but its a great place to stay outside of the city. Fast walk to the subway station. Breakfast is included and it was delicious and there was free parking. It was very clean.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank brizee06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Carlton Inn Midway

Property: Carlton Inn Midway
Address: 4944 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60632-3623
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Best Value Hotel in Chicago
#26 Family Hotel in Chicago
#72 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#74 Business Hotel in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2 star — Carlton Inn Midway 2*
Number of rooms: 72
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Carlton Inn Midway offers the amenities and services of home or office. We are located 1.8 miles from Midway Airport with complimentary 24-hour transportation to and from. Whether you are in Chicago for a convention at McCormick Place or Shopping the Magnificent Mile we are 7 miles from the downtown area, with easy driving access via I-55 and around the corner from the Orange Line Elevated Train, a 15 minute train ride to downtown. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Carlton Inn Midway Hotel Chicago
Carlton Hotel Chicago
Carlton Hotel Midway

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