Overall, I enjoyed my stay at this historic property. There was lots to like, although there were some flaws. I'd say it's 3.5/5 (I defaulted to three, average, in the TripAdvisor system). Had the service at check-in been better and the concierge lounge more in-line with the quality of lounges at other Hilton properties, it would have easily been a "very good."
The hotel is huge and hosts big conventions. That has advantages and disadvantages -- it's advantageous in that the lobby is always busy, there's always people to watch, etc. It's disadvantageous in that the lines at check-in can be long, there are lines for elevators, etc. Overall, I think you have to know whether you like big downtown hotels or not. If you do, you'll like this property's size and vibe; if not, you should look elsewhere. Given its size, it's not the kind of hotel that's going to feel intimate and personalized, even if the service is of high quality. That said, the hotel's structure itself isn't corporate in that bland, every-property-the-same way that you often find with hotels -- the lobby and public spaces are beautiful and full of history; the hotel does a nice job of highlighting this history through wall-hangings, etc.
My room was fine, although it was very small. (Given this hotel's historic nature, the rooms are all over the place -- I've stayed here previously and had a much larger room; this time, my room was small.) Everything was in good condition -- nice-looking bedding, very comfortable mattress, clean carpet, nice television, etc. The bathroom felt a little older, but still had nice surfaces. The decor is old-world, which is appropriate for an historic property like this one, but it felt relatively fresh and not worn-out. Since I was on an executive floor, I had upgraded personal care products (inclusion of body wash, mouthwash, etc.), a robe, etc. The desk had a large flatscreen monitor on it; this appeared to replace a typical guest service guide. You could look up information about Chicago, look at the room service menu, etc. Overall, I thought that the touch screen didn't add much beyond show -- the information on Chicago was limited (and, annoyingly, largely targeted those tourist-heavy businesses that had chosen to advertise on the system), the touch-screen functionality wasn't always responsive, and it took up a lot of space on the desk that I would have preferred for personal use.
Service at the hotel was mixed. My check-in experience was not very positive. There was a VERY long line (even in the lane for Hilton HHonors elite members), no apology for the wait, and an agent who (1) was very transactional in her approach and (2) wasn't very knowledgeable about Hilton HHonors benefits. The doorman opened my cab door, but offered no assistance with the luggage in the cab's trunk, nor did he open the door for me. Thankfully, other service shined -- housekeepers said hello at every turn, there was nightly turndown service, room service was polite and very timely, etc.
Food and beverage were similarly mixed. My room service ordered came very quickly and, for the most part, was very good. I had a salad that was full of vegetables and very, very good. The bruschetta I ordered had fresh ingredients, but the bread had gotten soggy, which made it hard to eat. While room service largely impressed, the breakfast and snacks in the concierge lounge were a huge disappointment. My advice is to NOT go for the upgrade of a concierge room at this property -- the breakfast (some stale-tasting bagels, cereal, and pale-colored melon) is on par with what you might find at a Fairfield Inn. That was a big disappointment -- you'd think Hilton would aim to impress with the concierge lounge at one of its flagship properties, but the impression given is that they've just aimed to cost-cut. The staff also didn't keep up with replacing the food in a timely manner. During both the evening cocktail hour and two mornings of breakfast, there were long lines while the guests waited for the staff to replace items that had run out.
The hotel's fitness center is fantastic -- huge with tons of equipment, high ceilings, views of the city, etc. The only bummer is that it closes (I prefer 24-hour hotel gyms) and that, unless you are a Hilton HHonors elite member, it costs money to use (I didn't have to pay thanks to my Hilton status, but I still find it obnoxious when a hotel charges people to use its gym).
The hotel's location is OK. It's right on Michigan, so it has great views of the lake (from at least some of the rooms) and is immediately across from Grant Park. However, it's in the South Loop area, so most of the major attractions and businesses are a few blocks from the hotel itself.
Overall, I enjoyed the hotel, and it delivered a good value for what I paid. However, by no means did the hotel win my loyalty -- there are other hotels within the downtown Chicago area that easily match this hotel in terms of quality of accommodation, service, location, etc.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Classic meets cool as Hilton Chicago embarks upon a $150 million renovation in celebration of our 85th birthday. The fresh, new vibe inspired by traditional, design rich elements pulls its inspiration from the hotel’s original architecture and intertwines a dynamic and contemporary spin. With the renovation underway, the hotel has already introduced over 400 new guest rooms, 13 new hospitality suites, a new technologically versatile Grab & Go – SNAX and a new restaurant with private dining space and bar – 720 South Bar & Grill. The new contemporary guestrooms have been cultivated with ornamental lacquer finishes, soft leather and rich, bronze wood detailing accented by a cool color palette of velvet and silk textured accents. Guestroom media capabilities include a 37 inch flat screen television, in room touch concierge panel, HCN Navigator computer and wireless and wired internet access. Following a day exploring Chicago, decompress at the largest Chicago hotel athletic club with running track, take a dip in our indoor pool facility or catch some rays on our sundeck during the spring and summer months.Located on Michigan Avenue in the South Loop, the Hilton Chicago is 1.6 miles to McCormick Place, along the Shuttle Route to McCormick Place and the first stop on the returning route from the convention center. Directly across the street from Grant Park and walking distance to Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, Lake Michigan, Buddy Guy’s Legends, South Loop dining and art galleries, Museum of Contemporary Photography, The “Loop” – Chicago’s Financial district, State Street Shopping, Soldier Field as well as two short “L” stops to Chinatown. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Chicago Hotel Chicago
- Hilton Hotel Chicago
- Chicago Hilton Hotel
- Hilton Towers Chicago
- Hilton Chgo Hotel