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“Great but with a few gripes-just can't decide!”

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The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile
Ranked #47 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 9, 2011

I have taken my time in writing this as I just couldn't decide what I felt about The James! In many ways it was fab and could so easily be excellent but a few things annoyed us and it is never good to have your guests annoyed as it is difficult to shake off those negative vibes! There were a number of reasons for our mixed feelings.

Firstly, the whole reason for the week long trip was to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday and when I emailed them to ask about emptying the mini bar, (I'm vegan and need the space to store soya milk and other bits and bobs,) I did tell them it was a birthday celebration and we were so excited and looking forward to being at The James after a lot of research. Incidentally, that was the first thing that annoyed me-my very polite and friendly request was met with 'sure-that will be $25'..... hmm! I told them not to bother. After a few days I decided that wasn't cool so I tried again and another person said they would do it free of charge....better response!

When we arrived at The James, we had a great view from the room which was really lovely-sparkling clean, spacious, bright and quite luxurious. The bathroom had a brilliant walk in shower where you could look at the view at the same time-nice! There were fluffy towels and high end toiletries. Strangely, the wardrobe was in there too-unusual but fine. We had to go down and ask for more hangers-who only uses 6 hangers between them on holiday? Annoying.

The sliding bathroom door which doesn't quite protect the modesty of the person using the bathroom was a silly choice but we coped-not so good for those who don't know each other so intimately though! Annoying.

The room was adjoining another one and through this you could hear every noise next door- my heart did sink when I could hear plates clattering, the kid next door and the tv and all the conversations! It is my pet hate. Annoying.

About 6am the next day, my boyfriend's birthday, we were woken by the alarm going off in the adjoining room. It went on. And on. And on. Until we phoned down for someone to fix it-the people had checked out but forgot to de-activate the alarm. Annoying.

Then, the toilet, for no reason, overflowed when I flushed it. And it kept on. And on! The water was flooding into the wardrobe so we had to quickly scoop up and rescue our belongings before they were soaked-it was chaotic-I phoned several times before but nobody came so I had to get dressed and go down to report it again. I'm not sure they even apologised at all-they asked what I had done to the toilet! Annoying.

I again explained that all this was not a very good start to my boyfriend's birthday but they just seemed a bit miffed. Eventually, after quite a lot of umming and ah-ing, they offered a free breakfast. I asked to change rooms as didn't want to risk another 'toilet incident' but they were not that happy about it as they had to upgrade us. The upgrade was to a larger room but with no view at all-looking onto the internal courtyard which was so dingy, you couldn't even tell what the weather was and each day I had to go downstairs to go outside to see what to wear!

When we returned to our new room later, there was a little card on the side which apologised to my boyfriend, (but not me!) and offered by way of apology, a tiny box containing a tiny bottle of mineral water, a miniature sachet of granola and one banana. Between two of us-or maybe just for my boyfriend-who knows? They didn't mention birthday or anything. Bizarre....but very amusing!

TV by the bed didn't work. I reported it about half a dozen times over 3 days before it was fixed. If there is one time of the year I can watch tv in bed, it is when I am on holiday! (To be fair, there were two tv's in the room but I wanted to treat myself to the bed/tv thing. Annoying!

So, they are the negative things but they are still niggling me as they were so unnecessary in an expensive hotel-great customer service goes such a long way even when minimal effort is involved but lack-lustre service leaves a furrowed brow!

Positive things-great location, cool boutique style, fantastically conmfortable beds, squeaky clean rooms, cool ipod docks, fab art installations, some very friendly staff, some good touches like complimentary filtered water and turndown service including ice and quality bedtime nibbles! Complimentary internet. Complimentary bicycles. Complimentary newspapers. Good gym. Really buzzy lobby with 'sink-into after walking around for hours' sofas. As I say, many things were excellent but it was a bit hit and miss for us.

Having said all that, I would recommend it AND would go again.....but with reservations.

Could be brilliant!

Room Tip: Ask for an external view.
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Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
Thank Kitty7London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheJamesGM, General Manager at The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile, responded to this reviewResponded October 13, 2011

Kitty7London-

Thank you for your thoughful and detailed account of your experience at The James Chicago. I am terribly sorry that we let you down on so many occasions during your holiday.

I am pleased that you would stay with us again and thanks to your feedback, will have the opportunity to address our lapses in service and correct for future visits. Seems like we have several great service recovery opportunities that we missed. I will reach out to you off line to get more specifics about you rooms and service requests so I can properly address.

Once again, thank you for your review. While I don't like getting marginal or "undecided" reviews, I appreciate the opportunity to challenge our team to be excellent all the time.

Best.
Patrick Hatton
General Manager

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2,682 - 2,688 of 3,395 reviews

Reviewed October 7, 2011

My friend and I came to Chicago for a girls weekend and had the most amazing experience at the James. We are both very well traveled and have probably stayed in over 1000 hotels between the two of us. We both thought the James was outstanding in every way. The location was great--near to everything. Our room was large and well-appointed. The housekeeping service was wonderful. The complimentary breakfast was delicious and elegant. We used the free bicycles to ride along the Lake one day, which was so exhilarating. The very best part of the stay was stepping outside to grab a taxi to dinner and having the hotel chauffeur Reuben say "I wlll take you ladies wherever you need to go" at no charge. FANTASTIC! I will always choose to stay the The James whenever I am in Chicago.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Thank gostanford19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheJamesGM, General Manager at The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile, responded to this reviewResponded October 13, 2011

gostanford19

Wow! Love your headline and your review. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience on Tripadvisor. Glad you enjoyed our location, rooms, breakfast, bikes and Reuben! He is the best. (and how'd you like our Audi Q7 TDI? Nice ride, right?)

Thank you again and look forward to welcoming you back soon!

Best.

Patrick Hatton
General Manager

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Reviewed October 7, 2011

Spent 3 nights, concierge was excellent in having wine orders upon arrival. Housekeeping was wonderful (remember a tip each day helps). Service a bit slow in the lobby lounge. Plenty of outlets to recharge batteries. Rooms seem a little sparse, could have used another chair. Bed was comfortable. Tub would not drain on the first day. Coffee delivered promptly each morning on request. 4 stars.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank 14,141,601
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheJamesGM, General Manager at The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile, responded to this reviewResponded October 13, 2011

Thank you for your kind words about our Housekeeping and Concierge teams. I appeciate the feedback on lobby bar serivce and room furnishings. We have recently added an evening Supervisor to our lobby bar in an effort to execute our standards with greater consistency.

We are in the process of completing a $1.7m refresh of the property. During the process, we are re-uphoulstering our in room lounge chairs. We are sending the chairs out in waves to expedite the process with minimal impact. We are getting the last wave back next week.

Thank you again for your review. I appreciate your feedback and look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Best,

Patrick Hatton
General Manager

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Reviewed October 3, 2011

We stayed at the James in Early October. You can't beat the location. It's within walking distance of anything in the loop and River North areas. The bed was the most comfortable hotel bed we have ever stayed at. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Tom S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheJamesGM, General Manager at The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile, responded to this reviewResponded October 13, 2011

derbius-

Thank you for posting a review of your experience at The James Chicago. Glad you enjoyed our amazing beds.

We appreciate your business and your feedback. Hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back in the not to distant future!

Best,

Patrick Hatton
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2011

I’m surprised by the number of good reviews for the James Hotel in Chicago. The hotel does have some stylish attributes but when you put it all together, the hotel is a disappointment. Maybe the good reviews come because the James is a good bargain; I don’t know…I didn’t comparison shop.

Here are just a few things for the traveler to consider:
The bathroom is small. It has a sink, a toilet and a tub shower. Hardly room for anything else. The sink has an extraordinarily small bowl. It’s shallow enough so that filling a cup or putting a toothbrush under the faucet calls your attention to it.
And why the portal door to the bathroom? Yes, it’s frosted but at night when you turn on the light you risk waking your mate because of the light that comes through.
No hook on the bathroom door. There’s a hook somewhere in the bathroom but only one and if it were over the portal, you could at least block some of the light.
The shower has large jars of lotions/shampoos/etc. Maybe that’s a good earth friendly feature but a bad idea. And, the body wash “invigorating” as it was billed to be, caused some minor irritation.

Like many stylish hotels, the James had a high tech alarm clock. Darned if I could figure it out to dim its light (a towel covering worked).

There is no coffee station in the lobby although you can ask for coffee in the restaurant (it wasn't good). Perhaps this is not a big deal; there’s a Starbuck’s just across the street.

The hotel says it has a spa and there are signs from the lobby to the spa. Spa? Yes, there are massage tables/rooms. But no steam. No sauna. However, there is a gym.

The hotel does have some good features. There’s the location: Excellent. The small desk/niche is a good idea. Plenty of plugs for powering iPods/iPads/Kindles/cellphones/laptops.

Service is fine; towels are plentiful and huge.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled on business
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2  Thank NoAxToGrind
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheJamesGM, General Manager at The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile, responded to this reviewResponded October 13, 2011

NoAxToGrind

Thank you for your feedback regarding your experience at the James Chicago. I am sorry that you did not like some of the design elements in the room and that the Intelligent Nutirents product caused irritation. We did move to the large bottle format and all natural, organic product after testing in our NY location and receiving by and large positive feedback regarding not only the product, but also the environmentally friendly distribution.

I appreciate the suggestion regarding the Robe hook and will certainly look into this as an option and appreciate the positive comments about service, location, dining niche, plugs and towels.

Thank you again for sharing your experience.

Best.

Patrick Hatton
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2011

Perfect location - excellent accomodations Room 1414! The view was awesome! the room was not very large but it worked fine for four ladies. Bathroom amenities were awesome. Spent a couple of hours in the spa which was amazing. Had dinner at the steakhouse which was excellent, and went to the club.. Had to call for ice first night they were there in 10 minutes.. needed more towels the next day and again they were there in 10 minutes.. Room service for coffee on our last day took less than 20! had an excellent time!

The James made my sister's 40th birthday extra special by surprising her with cupcakes which were delicious! Thanks so much for a great weekend, we will be back!

Room Tip: Corner suite - high floor
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Thank lovestotravel_ss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheJamesGM, General Manager at The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile, responded to this reviewResponded October 13, 2011

lovestotravel_ss

Thank you for celebrating your sister's 40th at The James Chicago! I'm so glad that you enjoyed the room, Intelligent Nutrients bath product, the Spa and David Burke's Primehouse! Also pleased to hear that delivery times were prompt and consistent.

Happy Birthday again to your sister and look forward to welcoming you all back for the next milestone event (or just for a "No Reason" Girl's Getaway weekend!)

Best,

Patrick Hatton
General Manager

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Reviewed October 2, 2011

Room OK, nice and clean but spoilt by the sliding door into the bathroom which was extremely difficult to move and actually came off the sliders on more than one occasion. We also didn't like the location of the wardrobes which were in the bathroom

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Yorkie46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheJamesGM, General Manager at The James Chicago-Magnificent Mile, responded to this reviewResponded October 13, 2011

Yorkie46-

Thank you for sharing your experience at The James Chicago. While I'm glad your room was clean, I am sorry about the issue with your door. We are in the process of replacing rollers on all sliding doors as after 5 1/2 years in operation, we are experiencing some stubborn wheels.

I do appreciate your feedback.

Best,
Patrick Hatton
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 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
#16 Spa Hotel in Chicago
#26 Business Hotel in Chicago
#31 Luxury Hotel in Chicago
#33 Family Hotel in Chicago
Price Range: $147 - $372 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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. Enjoy convenience at your fingertips with The James Hotels Mobile App and in-room tablet powered by KEYPR offering a seamless way to discover our amenities and services. Experience The James as a culinary destination with signature restaurant, Primehouse and the Primehouse Bar - a perfect spot to enjoy weekly happy hour specials or a full meal. 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 rotating artwork from local, national 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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