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“Great Hotel Convenient to Michgan Avenue and Taste of Chicago”

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The Blackstone, Autograph Collection
Ranked #34 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 30, 2010

Stayed in the Loop for business at McCormick Place Convention Center. While the Blackstone is about a 30 minute walk, it is only a 10 minute bus ride on CTA. Buses run frequently, and getting around is a breeze. Our room faced North on the 19th floor, and was very quiet, although you can hear noises from the hallway.

For visiting events and sights in Grant Park like Taste of Chicago and Shedd Aquarium, it's all in reasonable walking distance. The Windy City has great paths and bike lanes, so bring your walking shoes, or rent a bike nearby.

Obviously, these recommendations are for the warmer months, and our stay happened to be over three days of perfect weather! Our friends who came in a few days earlier said it had been rainy with a few thunderstorms before our arrival. Be prepared for all kinds of weather.

The fitness center is small with a few machines. And there are not that many other amenities. Basically, this is a comfortable and clean hotel, a little on the spendy side, that will be a good place to rest your head.

There aren't that many restaurants in the surrounding area, but you can find more places to eat as you travel North on Michigan Avenue. The dining in Shedd, etc is actually quite decent, but expect to pay attraction prices.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled on business
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2  Thank renosparksVP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,910 - 1,916 of 2,121 reviews

Reviewed May 27, 2010

Stayed here two nights. Good location for going to museums, Grant & Millineum Parks. Other sights are a bit further away but convenient to red line CTA station. Room on 22nd floor on North side of building - okay view of city but not spectacular. Mirror TV in bathroom was a novelty but did not get as many channels as regular TV. Fiancee hated the rain shower in the bathroom - he's used to a shower with a lot more water pressure. Room was just to the left after getting off elevator - could hear the mechanics of the elevator operating which was irritating. Fitness center was very impressive and well equipped.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank VDJTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 11, 2010

We stayed in this hotel for 1 night while we were in Chicago. Requested a room with lake view and we were not disappointed! Decent sized room, big beautiful bathroom and a really comfy bed:) The room was so good that we chose to stay in that night. Quick roomservice too, and not too expensive. Overall I would go back, and I defenitely recommed this to anyone going to Chicago.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank fruhansen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2010

I'm just back from a trip to Chicago and, for the business portion, stayed at the Blackstone. As previous travelers have noted, the hotel is beautifully renovated. My room was a good sized, had a very comfortable bed, and I loved the Aveda toiletries. The bellmen and front desk staff were very friendly and helpful (one even helped me solve a problem with my blackberry). The challenges for the hotel are the large number of steps just to get into the lobby (good to know if you have a problem with this) and the area. The front desk described it as up and coming. This basically translated into a lack of places near by where you'd want to eat (since there are several colleges, there are a number of college type dining places) and really no shopping nearby (so if you need something at CVS/Walgreens, you'll have a bit of a walk).

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled on business
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1  Thank na07950
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2010

The Blackstone is a classic hotel that has been recently renovated and reopened under the management of Marriott. The renovation was extremely well done, and the result is a hotel that is elegant with many quirky design touches. I've given the hotel a relatively low score only because of some downright bizarre service lapses and policies, which could be easily remedied. After having stayed at the hotel on three occasions over the past few months, I've decided that these are just unforgivable.

I'll start with the good and then move on to the bad...

Rooms are top notch - they are elegantly decorated and are equipped with all modern conveniences. Bathrooms are spacious, covered with white marble, have rain showers, good water pressure and TV's integrated into the mirrors. The climate control works very well (something I wish all hotels paid a bit more attention to). Beds are the standard Renaissance beds, which are excellent (better than Westin Heavenly Beds, in my opinion). They tend to be a bit small, but that is common for older hotels like this.

The gym is also excellent. It is large and is well equipped with tons of cardio equipment, free weights and a full set of machines (no fewer than 10). Service is friendly and professional. The staff really couldn't be nicer and more eager to help.

My big problem is around the hotel's lack of dining options. It seems that they have outsourced all in-room dining to an unaffiliated on-site restaurant and are thus limited by that restaurant's hours. This means that there is no room service between 11am and 5pm and after 11pm.

This means that, if you are a business traveler and you arrive at the hotel after a long day of travel or a late night at the office, there is literally no place to get a bite to eat or a drink after 11pm. Mercat's food is pretty good, which is great if you only eat meals during breakfast and normal dinner hours. Unfortunately most business travelers I know have less predictable and conventional schedules than that, and often have a food craving after 11pm. This is why most hotels of this caliber have 24 hour room service.

The lack of room service for 54% of the day would be forgivable if the hotel had minibars, but management seems to have made the bizarre decision to forgo minibars. I've noticed a trend among 4* hotels away from minibars, but most hotels that go that route offer guests 24 hour room service as an alternative. Not this one.

Just to recap, this means that, should your flight be delayed and you arrive at the hotel after 11pm absolutely starving, you are just [--] out of luck. (This happened to me during 2 of my 3 stays here). You can get dressed, climb out of bed and start trudging the streets, but there is absolutely nothing in the hotels immediate vicinity. Feel a hankering for a drink after a tough day of meetings? Sorry! You can't even buy a beer at the small shop in the lobby.

Blackstone management: this is why most hotels have bars, room service, restaurants and minibars - to serve their guests needs. After 11pm, your hotel has none of those. Nada. I understand that you made the decision to outsource your hotel dining to Mercat, which admittedly has better food than most hotel restaurants. In that case YOU MUST STOCK YOUR GUEST ROOMS WITH SNACKS AND DRINKS.

A few other quibbles:
- I called down asking for a fork and knife to be brought up and was informed that there is a $12.50 fee for the delivery of "non-food items." What?! I've heard of nickel and diming, but this is truly insane. What are you thinking?

- Rooms do not have wine glasses or corkscrews in them. This would be fine if this was your way of gently nudging guests to order room service, but, as I discussed above, your hotel doesn't have that for 54% of the day.

- As far as I can tell there are zero benefits for Marriott Platinum members. Most hotels give some sort of room upgrade, but its hard to imagine that my rooms could have been any smaller. Was that just oversight on the part of the check in staff or is that the hotel's official policy?

- The lounge is very nice, but keeps extremely limited hours. I don't know exactly what they are, because, during my multiple stays here I only encountered it being open once. It was closed basically at all other times. Maybe this is a cutback because of the recession?

- The hotel doesn't seem to have bellmen. (Or if they do, they only staff them during the absolute middle of the day when no business traveler would be arriving or departing). This means that, if you arrive in the evening with a ton of luggage, you get to haul them up the two flights of stairs into the lobby all on your own. Maybe this is also a cutback due to the recession?

- Once I forgot to bring toothpaste. Not only did the hotel's housekeeping have none in stock, but they don't even sell basic toiletries in the lobby shop. Since I arrived in the evening, after CVS had closed, I just had to forgo brushing my teeth. This is really not acceptable for a hotel in this category.

Basically, in conclusion, I am extremely frustrated by the Blackstone. They have a great physical plant (beautiful old building, exquisitely decorated rooms and public spaces, a top notch gym). Their staff are outstanding. They just need to invest a bit more in their offering of services in order to become a hotel that is at all realistic for business travelers. They are so close, yet so far! Leisure travelers who intend to take their meals outside the hotel, be in bed by 11, and have no Marriott status should be very happy here. (Just don't expect to be able to eat breakfast in the lounge on weekends. Or grab a coke there during just about any other time, since it will be locked.)

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled on business
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4  Thank NYCilley02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2010

I was at a conference at the Hilton across the street, and couldn't be happier that I chose the Blackstone instead of a big impersonal conference hotel. The decor is beautiful, preserving the history of the place while bringing it into the 21st century. Loved the art floor! I opted for a deluxe lake view room which was very spacious and comfortable with a lovely park and lake view. The staff were all friendly and helpful, and problems were dealt with immediately. The restaurant was very good. The Bongo Room nearby was excellent for brunch, also liked Lou Malnati's for pizza. My favorite hotel so far in Chicago.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled on business
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Thank Zoezer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2010

Stayed one night here after an event. The room was extremely elegant and the bed very comfortable. Security was prompt in making other guests be quiet after I complained of noise and then it was very quiet and I slept well. There was only a very large shower in the bathroom, not a tub, but this was not a problem for me. It's well located for all sightseeing. Doormen were extremely helpful and solicitous and staff very friendly. Breakfast was good. It is a very smart and elegant hotel which was pleasant to stay in but only one night did not allow me to explore all its amenities. I would definitely choose to stay there again. A super plus was that the toiletries were by Aveda, not the usual yukky stuff!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank TravellerBD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Blackstone, Autograph Collection

Address: 636 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605-1901 (Formerly Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Downtown / The Loop
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#18 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#25 Business Hotel in Chicago
#26 Luxury Hotel in Chicago
#31 Family Hotel in Chicago
Price Range: $136 - $390 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Blackstone, Autograph Collection 4*
Number of rooms: 335
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Blackstone in downtown Chicago is a storied architectural icon rooted in the city's legendary past, but newly updated to deliver a distinguished hospitality experience for today's discerning traveler. Previously known as the Renaissance Blackstone, this recently revitalized destination is blooming as a point of cultural and creative discovery on the Cultural Mile. The Blackstone, where epic history meets a clever contemporary attitude. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Renaissance Hotel Chicago
Renaissance Hotel Blackstone
Renaissance Chicago
Chicago Renaissance

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