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!
- 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