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“Contemporary Boutique Hotel in Chicago - Great Location!”

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The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile
Ranked #44 of 190 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
North Chicago, Illinois
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
“Contemporary Boutique Hotel in Chicago - Great Location!”
Reviewed September 12, 2011

There are so many great choices when it comes to hotels in Chicago, as a native Chicagoan, I have many favorites. When friends coming to visit are in the mood for a contemporary hotel with great customer service and unique amenities, I always suggest the James Hotel.


Location.
James in Chicago is located in a perfect spot for leisure and business travelers alike, one block west of Michigan Avenue (commonly referred to as "The Mag Mile") and a few blocks north of the business district "The Loop".


Dining + more.
Dining options are always on the top of my list when I am looking for places to stay and visit. David Burke's Primehouse (the steakhouse I most often recommend in Chicago) is located inside the James Hotel. Additionally, the bar at James is great, it is a low-key mix of smart travelers and sophisticated locals. Additionally, if you're looking for some late night entertainment, J Bar is also located on premise at the James.


Rooms.
The rooms are sexy yet comfortable. Though I am single, I can easily picture staying in the rooms with children. I most recently stayed in one of the Loft Suites - my suite had a media room with Bose surround sound and a projection DVD player and a huge couch / bed. My first thought was, "How fun would this room be for kids!" To curl up in that comfy room and watch movies all together - so cozy!

My loft suite also had a wet bar with a white, corian countertop, a dining area with contemporary furniture, large sofa in the sitting area (in addition to the one in the media room), a bed area that is separate from the sitting area, two televisions in addition to the media room (3 total). Oh... and I loved my alarm clock, I woke up to "sounds of nature".


Amenities.
Great towels, robes, and I loved the body soap / shampoo conditioner / lotion - a brand I had not previously heard of but will likely look for in stores. I did not visit the Gym or the Spa but the hotel has both. Quick note, the spa does not offer manicure / pedicure services, but they do offer in-room services for massages, etc.


Extras + Service.
I was very happy with the concierge service. I am a difficult person to please, I don't mean to be a jerk, it just happens sometimes. If I walk away happy, someone is really doing their job. I probably called the concierge and/or front desk 6 times within the first hour I was in my room. I needed a wine key, I couldn't figure out my phone, how late is the spa open, then I needed movies, then I didn't know how to use my projector....

Everything I needed was taken care of immediately. I even asked the concierge to help me make my movie selections because I couldn't make up my mind. They gleefully obliged and made great recommendations.


What's Important to Me.
I like hotels that are a reflection of my personality and I feel like this hotel is a great reflection of who I am and what I am looking for when I travel. I am a contemporary, urban professional and I like to walk into a place and see things that I would want to have (or do have) in my home. When I walked up to the elevators and saw a painting hanging from my favorite local artist (I also own one of his pieces), I was happy. When I walk into my suite and see a room that I would want to live in, I am happy.

All of this coupled with fantastic service, what more could one ask for? Meeting space? Oh, they have that too.

Room Tip: Go for the Loft Suite with the media room!!!
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank leylaa1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Painesville, Ohio
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 12, 2011

Was in town with a buddy during Labor Day week to catch a White Sox/Indians game at U.S. Cellular Field. Came across multiple write-ups on The James in various guidebooks (Fodor's, Forbes/Mobil, Unofficial Guide, etc. + TripAdvisor), that, in general, seemed overwhelmingly positive. After also discovering that the hotel had a decent summer promotion rate available when we were going to be in Chicago, I booked four nights at The James. Wise move. The hotel is centrally located to every possible tourist destination worth walking to and only 4 blocks to an "L" station to take you to even more. The hotel also puts you in the midst of the restaurants and stores of N. Michigan Ave. and the bars/restaurants/galleries of River North. Our room was larger-than-expected (all we had to do was ask for it) and was kept spotlessly clean throughout our stay. Beds were exceptionally comfortable. Only minor grumble was the fact that we had to make due with the same small bar of soap in our bathroom (couldn't housekeeping see that it was melting down to a sliver and place a back-up bar on the sink counter?). The James has done away with Kiehl's in-room products (darn!) and has instead gone with eco-friendly large pump-dispenser bottles of shampoo, conditioner, & body wash that stay in the shower. A selection of almost-full-size bottles of booze were provided in the room's minibar, and a bucket of ice was left in the room every afternoon. Bathrobes & slippers were also provided. Didn't partake in the hotel's restaurant, spa, or gym, but the small bar was lively every night and decent drinks were served by a friendly bar staff. A selection of complimentary daily newspapers was available at the hotel's front desk each morning. Both check-in & check-out were a breeze. All-in-all, The James is a hip, friendly, non-complicated, well-located hotel that is well worth looking into, particularly if you are able to snag a promotional rate. I recommend it.

Room Tip: Ask for a high-up room facing west. Those rooms provide the only unobstructed city views in the who...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dalohr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed September 11, 2011

We stayed at the James for four nights and loved it. The hotel was modern and was in a great location. The room was large and well equipped, massive bed, large TV and had nice touches through out. Our room overlooked the city as we were on the 15th floor with an amazing view.

The customer service was good, concierge helpful and always on hand. We went to the hotel bar every evening before we went out and the only negative point for the whole of the hotel was the cold temperature of this area. It was so chilli that we sat there with our jackets/cardigans on which meant we often only stayed for one drink.

Chicago is a great place and we loved the city buzz. We would definitely stay at the James again without hesitation.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank holidayfan1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2011

I stayed in The James for 2 nights. I was looking for a smaller design/ boutique hotel as I wanted to avoid the standard choices like Hilton etc. Hence, I ended up in The James which made a good impression from the website and the reviews.

However, it was a very big disappointment. The overall impression of the hotel is that it's already a bit "worn down" and needs a make-over. Despite having booked a kingsize room including a confirmation from the hotel, I was put in a double twin room. Apology of the hotel was very standard and they didn't offer me anything to make up for it despite an upgrade to a room at an additional rate of more than 250 USD a night.

Up in the room I was shocked from the poor design and the general layout of the room. It wasn't up to design hotel standards at all and I was rather disappointed. However, this might be rather a matter of personal taste.

The broken window, the broken a/c, the loud noise from the street despite being in 11th floor and the dirt on the flow however aren't a question of personal taste. This was just unacceptable. I complained immediately at reception, however, they couldn't offer me an alternative room. An engineer came to fix the a/c. He didn't really succeed. It was extremely loud when switched on, has only one fan speed and when you switched it off it got hot in the room very quickly (although outside temperatures were in the low 60s). Moreover, the street noise was very loud and you could hear the traffic during day and night.

Furthermore the walls of the room rather reminded me of a cheap youth hostel instead if an upscale hotel. You could clearly hear when the people on the neighboring room were watching TV or just closing the curtains. The maids on the floor also were very noisy and you could hear them talk from 7am in the morning. Doors and walls are just very thin and just seem to serve as a visual and not voice protection.

In general the staff was rather arrogant and not very helpful.

Having travelled the whole world and having stayed in countless 4 and 5 star hotels, this experience was one of the more disappointing ones. Clearly no recommendation.

  • Stayed September 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sebovoh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterloo, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed September 7, 2011

Long story short...the James Chicago was probably my first ever stay at a luxury hotel and it was great! Near perfect. It contributed positively to my wonderful vacation to Chicago.

Now the story...I stayed at the James Chicago for 5 nights, Aug 25 - 31, 2011 with my girlfriend. We booked a one king bed suite and just walking into the room was enough to make my day. The bed sheets were folded in an esthetically-pleasing way and the bed was so comfy. There was a small bench in a small cutout in the wall with a desk, a nice feature if you want to read a book or use a laptop. The washroom and closet were combined and separated from the rest of the room with a sliding door, better than and not as boring as your ordinary washroom door. Curtains did a good job blocking out the sun when we slept in on a morning.

The hotel gives you a complimentary bottle of purified water on the night table along with two glasses. I enjoyed this civilized practice, better than drinking from the tap. Of course...in suite bar and snacks are in the drawer at extra price. There is free wifi in the room and free boarding pass printing (all other printing at a cost).

All staff were very nice and courteous to us. There were at least two receptionists at all time, bellmen, a concierge and even floating employees (not bellmen) who were there to assist with anything from holding the door to helping store luggage. I felt like a king when one employee opened the door of our taxi back to the hotel and another opened the door into the hotel.

My girlfriend and I were out and about a lot so we didn't have a chance to use the amenities. However, I did go downstairs to check out the fitness centre and it had an abundance of weight machines that any gym macho would feel satisfied with. There was a bar in the main floor that formal guests seemed to enjoy drinking at (even in the lobby), attached to a steakhouse.

Overall, it was a great stay and I am sure anyone who can afford this will consider this money well spent. Regardless, this was a near perfect stay, but not perfect. The only knock I give this is that the bellmen seem a little too pushy when it comes to assisting with luggage handling. When we wanted to get a taxi to the airport, the bellman pretty much snatched the luggage out of my hands, called the taxi and loaded the luggage himself, all actions that a young man like me could do on my own. I tipped knowing that it was standard to do so, but they bellman should back off a little bit because not all guests wish for their services.

Room Tip: King bed suite was great
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank thornhill_waterloo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed September 6, 2011

The location of The James was quite good and very conviniant with all the major sights within walking distance. It's easy to get to the hotel. Just take red line from O'Hare to The Loop and walk to the hotel. Front desk was friendly and their concierge extremely efficient and helpful. The room had some glitches. It seemed a little worn with an old damaged closet, inappropriately designed and too small for two beds. When ordering, I got a 40% discount, which ultimately gave good value for the price.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ToCall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
illinois
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed September 6, 2011

The James is ideally located just a block off Michigan Avenue near Water Tower. Walking distance to great restaurants, great shopping and museums. Decor is modern and hip, and very comfortable. The rooms are modern and comfortable as well. The best thing about the hotel is the service. The staff really go out of their way to make sure your every need is met. I have stayed at the James a few times. This time, I was traveling with a young child, and he was made to feel very welcome. They gave him a Paul Frank children's book, some pajamas, and had a wii available to borrow. The only drawback was some street noise, but that is to be expected in downtown Chicago. I did not hear any noise from the hallways or adjacent rooms, and the hotel was booked solid.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank loungedog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile

Property: The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile
Address: 55 East Ontario, Corner of Rush and Ontario, Chicago, IL 60611-2727
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection 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 Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#14 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#15 Spa Hotel in Chicago
#26 Business Hotel in Chicago
#30 Luxury Hotel in Chicago
#33 Family Hotel in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile 4.5*
Number of rooms: 297
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An urban hub on the Magnificent Mile and one of Chicago's most celebrated boutique hotels, The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile is a sophisticated nod to Windy City culture. It continues to garner buzz and accolades through its casually sophisticated blend of warmly modern design, intuitive service and thoughtful touches such as complimentary Wi-Fi, early check-in and late check-out, local car service and triple-filtered water. Enjoy convenience at your fingertips with The James Hotels Mobile App and in-room tablet powered by KEYPR offering an intuitive way to discover our amenities and services. Experience The James as a culinary destination with signature restaurant, Primehouse - named #1 Steakhouse in Chicago, Primehouse Bar, a perfect spot to enjoy weekly happy hour specials or a full meal, and The Patio, a seasonal alfresco dining spot. Also featured at The James is The Gym, open 24-hours, The Spa by ASHA, 7,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space, as well as seasonally rotating artwork from local and international artists. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
James Chicago Hotel Chicago
James Hotel Chicago
Chicago James Hotel

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