Chicago is a special city for my fiancee and I. We started dating there, we got engaged there, and we've had many romantic trips to the city. This trip was to celebrate one year being engaged, and also to celebrate Valentine's day.
I originally booked at the Amalfi, but my fiancee wasn't too cracked on the modern decor. We did the Ritz last year and that was absolutely wonderful, but a bit out of our price range for this weekend trip. The Intercontinental seemed to have the same stylings that we both love and it appeared to be a great fit for the occasion.
Upon arriving at the hotel we were greeted by a bellman named Will. He was fantastic and helped us out of the car, helped us gather the bags to be checked, and arranged for valet. Our next stop was the check-in counter. The check-in process was relatively painless and the woman behind the counter was pleasant, but our room was not ready. We arrived 30 minutes before check-in time, so not a big deal; they'd call when our room was ready. We went and walked around Michigan Ave. for about an hour before returning to the hotel, still not hearing anything on our room. At this point we just wanted to put our feet up and relax, so we approached the front desk and were informed that our room was indeed ready and had been for some time. Thanks for the phone call...
Once we got into the room, our bags were delivered promptly by a very nice bellman, didn't catch his name. After unpacking a few things and taking a few minutes to get acquainted, we wanted to have a drink. Oddly, there are no glasses in the guestrooms and you must contact housekeeping for some. Not a big deal, but I'd like to think I could be trusted with a few pieces of glassware. It took housekeeping 25 minutes to arrive with the glasses, but they came with 2 instead of the 4 we had requested. Not only that, the man who delivered the glasses were holding them with his bare hands, glasses not wrapped or packaged in anything. I'm not sure if his hands were just utterly dirty or the glasses hadn't been washed properly, but I had to give them a good scrubbing in the bathroom to get rid of the ridiculous amount of grime on them. After a drink or two we decided to just relax and take a nap until dinner time.
After dinner and a fun time at Potter's Lounge for a nightcap, we returned to the hotel to sink into bed and get some good rest, planning to sleep in the next morning and enjoy ourselves. Unfortunately, at 10:10AM we awoke to a terrible grinding noise. After five minutes we realized it wasn't just a guest, and called the front desk to find out what was going on. A man named Marcus answered the phone; I explained what we were hearing and asked if there was construction or something else going on near us. He said they were installing new furniture and carpets on the floor above us and that it would be continuing for another few hours. Marcus offered to have us relocated to a new room, but I figured by the time we got up, got ready and packed everything up, the construction would probably be finished. It wasn't so much the construction that bothered me, I understand those things have to happen and there isn't really a great time to take care of them in a hotel. I would have just like a heads up when I booked the room, or at least a notice at check-in that there would be morning construction the next day. Marcus seemed uninterested and pre-occupied the entire time on the phone; I didn't feel like he really cared at all about our concerns.
Anywho, we got ready and left the hotel as soon as we could to get away from the grinding and crumbling drywall noises coming from above us. While showering, I noticed the tub drain wasn't working very well and I ended up standing in 3 inches of water for the duration of the shower. If I wanted to splash around, I'd have taken a bath. We left the hotel and spent the afternoon wandering the Gold Coast and visiting MSI. We returned to the hotel in the afternoon to relax. My fiancee had a question about the automatic mini-bar system, and called the front desk to ask them about it. Marcus answered again, and gave her the same uninterested service that we'd received earlier in the day.
A bit later in the day I had contacted Instant Service to ask about dry cleaning service and have a bag sent up. 40 minutes later a man arrived with no less than five dry cleaning bags, said nothing but "Hi" to me, and then took off. After I put a few dress shirts and slacks in a single bag, I called Instant Service again to find out what to do with the bag. The woman on the phone informed me that the man who delivered the bags should have waited and taken it with him. She said to drop the bag at the front desk and they'd get it where it needs to go. Unfortunately the next time we went downstairs, I forgot the bag and missed the dleadline for getting my laundry back the next morning. My fault for forgetting the bag, but it would have been nice to have the service man take it also.
The next annoyance came at 3:45PM on Saturday afternoon. We were napping in bed and then all of a sudden there's a loud knock on the door. I grudgingly opened the door to be greeted by a hotel employee wanting to know if we needed anything. Nice to have someone check, but completely ignoring the do-not-disturb sign on the door was just silly and rude.
Sunday morning we got out of the hotel as soon as possible to hopefully recover what was left of the trip. All went well while venturing around the city. We returned to the hotel around 4:30 to retrieve our checked bags and car. The bellman Keenan asked how our stay was and I was honest with him. Told him about the construction and a few other things, and he offered to comp on of the movies we had rented during our stay. A nice gesture, one of the few we'd experienced during our stay. Thanks Keenan!
That said, I will never stay at the Intercontinental again, and I will not recommend it to anyone. It's a shame, really, because the older portions of the hotel are beautiful. The pool is gorgeous and the Camelot-themed meeting rooms and ballrooms are magnificent. Very cool atmosphere in that area of the hotel. I wish I could rate this hotel better, as its location is fantastic also. Barely north of the river, right on Michigan Avenue. Perfect walking distance to anything in The Loop, Mile North, or the Gold Coast.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- InterContinental Chicago is a lot like the city itself: historic but hip, refined but relaxed, cultured but comfortable. A member of Michigan Avenue s architectural elite since 1929, our hotel is within easy reach of Chicago s incomparable museums, stores, theatres and restaurants. Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium and Oak Street Beach are minutes away. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Intercontinental Chicago Hotel Chicago
- Chicago Intercontinental