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“Cool hotel with some but..”
Review of Ambassador Chicago

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Ambassador Chicago
Ranked #101 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 3, 2012

We were staying @ Public for a weekend before Christmas for some shopping without our kids.
The hotel is newly renovated, the lobby is really impressive and at the time was decorated with a huge Xmas tree. The bar and the lounge are really gorgeous, with comfy sofa, loungers in front of a cracking fireplace and cool bar area always full of cool people. The restaurant, Pump Room is stunning decorated, service is impeccable and food is light, simple and delicious.
I would say the common areas are the reason why you should choose this hotel. We had great breakfast time every morning in the lounge eating yummy "pain au chocolat" and drinking super cappuccinos ( really Italian style!! Compliments to the guys at the bar, I only had better in Milano's cafe Cova) while reading magazine or simply enjoying looking at the fire and great evening with lounge music and drinks before going out for dinner. The hotel bar and lobby are a venue themselves you don't have even to go out and look for something else as they are packed with a beautiful crowd!
The hotel is a really cool choice but.. The rooms are quite small, we booked a deluxe room and were quite disappointed for the size and the decor. Previous we stayed at the Trump Hotel and I must admit is difficult to bet concerning room size, quality of the furniture and atmosphere. The rooms at Public are sadly just old rooms with a "touch-up". They are all white, looking also modern with new bed linen, new flat screen TV, new side boards and desk, modern lamp, carpet on the floor is also new but... There are stunning old light-switch /socket that totally clash with the new interior, carpet looks like just temporally placed (seemed not glued with all the cables passing under and over) and of a very low quality, air conditioning/heating is extremely noisy and looks as old as was the Ambassador West (former name of Public Hotel) door, walls and wardrobe are just painted white over (under still the old Ambassador stuff) and bathroom is tiny and definitely very poor in style! No bathrobe, no slippers, no quality toiletry product. The sensation we had is that money of renovation were just lacking at the room level and things were arranged to be looking as best as possible with the minimum investment possible! Nothing to do with keeping the "old spirit" because those things have nothing to do with history are just poor details that may not appear to everybody but were definitely disturbing our general feeling about the hotel. Overall we would recommend Public Hotel for young couple, friends looking for a cool hang-out, good location (easy walking everywhere especially to the stylish Rush street and neighborhood) we would go back most probably for another weekend of shopping (with low budget on hotel despite the prices are not so low!) but we would not choose it as comfortable hotel for a family trip with our kids.

Room Tip: Choose Deluxe or Suite! Dining to Pump Room is a must
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SRZurich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PUBLIC_Manager, General Manager at Ambassador Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded February 3, 2012

It was our pleasure to have you as our guest before the holidays and thank you for providing us with your candid feedback! We were happy to read that you did find our Public Areas appealing and were able to fully enjoy our spaces.

However, it is disappointing to read that our guest rooms did not meet your expectations. We tried to preserve as much of our iconic building as we could during our renovation period while keeping the overall style chic and simplistic. Additionally, listed in PUBLIC Information, we do offer complimentary amenities, such as bathrobes, upon request. We are sorry that you missed this during your visit but hope you do have to opportunity to stay with us again and take advantage of this service.

Warm Regards,

Peter Walterspiel
General Manager

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Reviewed January 2, 2012

Upon entering the lobby, our jaws DROPPED and we spoke in hush tones. Once in the room, we jumped on the bed with excitement because the room was equally as lovely. The decor of the hotel, lobby, adjoining library and Pump Room and our room (superior king) were gorgeous and modern, exactly what we had hoped.

The service was consistently attentive with good communication, friendly and accommodating. One day, we had eaten a pizza at Pizzeria Uno and gave half of it to the staff standing in the cold because we loved everyone so much. One evening, we had problems with the safe, television remote and iPod dock and the two young security guys were great about helping and had a sense of humor about it. There was one morning when guest services or The Pump Room neglected to bring up our breakfast, but they comped it after they got it all sorted out.

So the pros: Incredible service and staff, gorgeous hotel and room, good rate during the holidays as well! For these reasons alone, we will return. Other pluses were reliable wi-fi in the room, iMacs in the lobby and the incredible location making everything downtown walkable.

The cons (which I consider pretty minor): The walls were thin and we could hear most everything above us and next to us (which meant others could hear us as well, sorry!). The water pressure in the shower was lousy and inconsistent, but there was a bathtub, which was nice! My bed at home is nicer than the one in our room, but never mind. Lastly, the maid service could have been better as they usually did not replace the towels, the toilet paper when running low, nor attempt to fold up any stray clothes.

Suggestions: It would be great if there were robes! I probably would have purchased one after our stay. Also, the television didn't get any local stations (Chicago television is great), like WTTW nor WGN. We both had expectations that we'd get to see more of the city by staying up and watching local T.V. If you're from Chicago, you know how special this can be. Also, why were the framed pictures leaning against a wall instead of hanging from the wall? Just curious.

Finally, a quick note on the late night scene...It's hard to determine if the uniform for the female bar staff is the hotel's choice or The Pump Room's choice, but the choice of staffing and what they were made to wear, well...it was pretty slutty and trashy, which mirrored the meat market of the late night crowd: Men in sloppy, oversized suits hitting on aging slags with too much make-up and no manners. Case in point, I went to the bar to get my companion a drink, and some blonde, rapacious, withering tart on first sight yanked my glasses off my face and began to insult me. Her harpy cohort smeared her fingertips across my glasses and insulted me as well. So that's the kind of "fun" you might expect in either bar on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night at The Public. It took me a few days to get all the cheap make-up off the lenses of my glasses. Really awful.

The adjoining Pump Room I'll review elsewhere, but the quick summary is that some (not all) the servers are as tacky and plastic as the bar staff, the food can be amazing, but is very much hit and miss.

So overall, would like to return, if needed will eat at The Pump Room, but there are tons of options in Chicago, but will never, ever, ever try to get a late night drink in the library bar again. I'm an adult and have outgrown playground insecurities.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Tenzopolis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PUBLIC_Manager, General Manager at Ambassador Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded January 6, 2012

Thank you very much for the review of our “new” hotel, PUBLIC Chicago. We are delighted you had so many positive comments regarding our staff, the service and our overall concept. To answer your question regarding the picture frames the wainscot provided a natural resting place to lean pictures in the casual style similar to what you might see in a photographer’s studio.

Your late night bar experience was extremely unfortunate and we are truly sorry. We encourage everyone to have a good time, but there is no excuse for such distasteful behavior. Please do not hesitate to let me know if I can be of any assistance to you on future visits to PUBLIC Chicago.

Warm Regards,
Peter Walterspiel
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2012

Stayed here for NYE, booked the standard queen room, upgraded to a larger king room, would recommend not staying in the queen rooms, they remind me of staying in a NYC hotel.

They are super accommodating to hotel guests.

The rooms are IKEA style modern, with excellent smelling bath products.

I would stay here again.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank DJSteve4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PUBLIC_Manager, General Manager at Ambassador Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded January 3, 2012

Thank you for visiting PUBLIC Chicago and for providing us with your kind insight! We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Warm Regards,
Peter Walterspiel
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2012

Come on people! This is an Ian Schrager hotel and should be understood as such! We stayed at the Public mid-week in December just before Christmas. We booked a superior king room. Initially we were offered one across from the elevator on the 12 floor facing Goethe Street – south – with a good view. The room was quite nice and the bathroom not as small as others. However, we could hear the elevator door and bell noise, so we asked to be moved which was done without question. The new room was slightly smaller facing State Parkway on the 13th floor. No real view. Smaller bathroom. Ok. Those are the facts. Now for the review. I think others have described the place pretty well. I liked the rooms very much. They are serene and in keeping with Ian Schrager’s style, filtered perhaps through his time at Marriott. He did preserve the footprint of the original rooms and so yes, the bathrooms seem small by today’s standards. Yes, white paint goes a long way when covering age, but many of the doors and moldings are original and still show their paint layers. The hallways are dark, also hiding age I’m sure, but all his hotels have dark hallways. We slept really, really well – even on the platform bed everyone else complains about. However, being an Ian Schrager hotel, I should have been better prepared for the public spaces and what goes on there. When we arrived on a Monday afternoon at 3, the place was dead – so dead that we could not get a cup of coffee without begging at the bar. However, that night, when we returned from dinner, the bars and Pump Room had turned into such a scene that we had NO desire to stop in the bar and have a drink. As guests of the hotel, we felt that our hotel – that we were paying to stay in – had been taken over by external forces unknown. They really should reserve a place for guests only, so that one feels the hotel cares, even values, the people who pay to stay there. As a consequence we had not desire to eat in the Pump Room. But like I said, this is an Ian Schrager hotel! As for service, well, it is young and green and spotty. When my father used to stay here after Canadian fishing trips, back when it was the Ambassador East, the cooks in the Pump Room would keep his catch in their freezers and my sister and I would be led down to pick out our fish. Something tells me this is no longer my father’s Pump Room. Final note: the art is terrible (except for those hanging orbs in the Pump Room) – fire the art consultant! Cows with hats? Really? How old do you think we are?

Room Tip: Try for a high room facing south away from the elevator
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank McWarg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PUBLIC_Manager, General Manager at Ambassador Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded January 10, 2012

Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to hear that you were disappointed with your stay at PUBLIC Chicago. Although The Pump Room is definitely a favorite spot for those in the neighborhood, our guests are always a priority and we do our absolute best to accommodate them in every way possible.

We apologize for the difficulty you had getting a cup of coffee. We recently opened this past October and are still experiencing growing pains, but your feedback will certainly help us to improve and become the best that we can be.


Please feel free to contact me personally should you wish to further discuss your recent stay.


Warm Regards,

Peter Walterspiel
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 25, 2011

We stayed at this stylish update to the former Ambassador Hotel over Thanksgiving weekend for one night - Saturday. The lobby is as impressive as a new iPad. Modern, brash, youthful, vibrant - everything you'd expect from Ian Schrager. We got a real buzz walking in, past the outdoor heating units with their tall flames trapped in glass cylinders that emitted a welcoming radiant heat on the rather raw day that we arrived. Then we entered the elevator. It opened on our floor and the hallways were gloomy and uninviting. Then we opened the door to our room. The very comfortable bed was very close to the floor. No great issue there. The room was clean and white. The first hint of an issue was the popcorn ceiling. This told us plenty. The old hotel that this was must have had cracked and unsightly ceilings and the quick and easy way to deal with that was to apply popcorn. Our hearts sank a little. Then we walked into the tiny bathroom. Only room for one, I'm afraid. No bathrobes or slippers, either. Body lotion was missing and we went down to the front desk to get that. A simple note in the bathroom telling us to call the front desk to ask for this would have been easy to do, I think. No other major issues. But this isn't a Hilton Garden Inn, either. And we had just come from staying at one of these in Indiana and that room was larger and the bathroom much more accommodating and for a LOT less. But this is Chi town, after all and the nabe was quite upscale. We just wanted to feel pampered, though, for what we were spending, and after the experience of that lobby, we felt a tad let down. Breakfast was not included. We went elsewhere for that. Hugo's Fish restaurant nearby is a must. Wonderful service there. Pleasant service at this hotel, too - but the overall experience was not good enough, alas, to warrant another star. Saturday night was rocking in the big room with the huge fireplace next to the lobby. We will try other places next time we visit the city and see how they stack up to this moderately pleasant hotel.

Room Tip: The neighbourhood is quiet. Our room overlooked the main road outside and we slept soundly.
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Nomads1984
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PUBLIC_Manager, General Manager at Ambassador Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded January 10, 2012

We are very disappointed to hear that you were underwhelmed with your room. As we are a historic building, we were cautious in our renovations and took great care to maintain the integrity of the space. As such, the ceilings are in fact the original ceilings from The Ambassador East as well as the bathrooms, except for the modern utilities and fixtures.

We apologize that you had to go down to the front desk for body lotion. You can actually contact Guest Services by dialing “0” on your phone and they would have been able to deliver the lotion to your room. We explain this amenity in our Guest Directory and are sorry that you were not able to take advantage of this feature. However, we will soon be providing complimentary body lotion in the bathrooms!

Our goal is to provide great service and great style at a great value, and we really appreciate hearing feedback from our guests.

We really hope that you will reconsider and visit us again the next time you visit Chicago.

Please feel free to contact me personally to discuss your recent stay or any future stays.

Warm Regards,

Peter Walterspiel
General Manager

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Reviewed December 24, 2011

Having grown up in Chicago, I've been coming to this hotel (what was the tony Ambassador West) since I was in diapers. The Pump Room was a staple for my parents and grandparents for decades and I remember so many great birthdays at the hotel and loved when they'd bring the phone to our table for a special call I'd seemingly received. I have also stayed at the AW many times and while it was always a place steeped in history, the rooms where what you'd expect from an iconic Chicago hotel-classy, dated, but fine.

As my mom lives in chicago, we come back to visit often and have stayed everywhere (Drake, W Lakeshore, Peninsula, Grand Hyatt, Intercontinental, Marriott, Westin, Indigo, Sax, Aventi, Elysian, Four Seasons) and while midwest hospitality is amazing at all of the above, we have finally found our home away from home in Chicago.

Ian Schraeger surely put his touch on the AW but luckily it's not as dark and eclectic as his recentish redo of the Gramercy Park Hotel in NYC -it's light, modern, beautifully decorated and with incredible service to boot! If you are looking to stay in the middle of the shopping area and want to walk outside to shop big box retail, this is not the place- although oak street and michigan avenue are just a short walk. But this is the neighorhood I know and love and I'm thrilled that there is now a place for us to stay that we love that's also just two short blocks from mom!

I was also excited to see the young, well-heeled crowd that was in teh lobby and the Pump Room on Friday night when we checked in - I just hope the door stays curated moving forward to ensure it stays that way.

Thrilled beyond about Public and know you will be too if service, class, location and sleek, modern comforts are up your alley. KUDOS!!!

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank stephr007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PUBLIC_Manager, General Manager at Ambassador Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded January 3, 2012

Thank you for your positive feedback! As a former guest of our previous property, we are grateful to hear that our new look did not fail to impress and that we can now serve as your new "home away from home." We look forward to seeing you again!

Warm Regards,
Peter Walterspiel
General Manager

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Reviewed December 22, 2011

My boyfriend and I went for a weekend getaway! We are from Michigan, so it's a short road trip. This hotel is beautiful, perfect location! The staff is impeccable! The decor is outstanding! I'am a travel agent, I went for a site inspection. Flint Weinberg gave us an excellent tour of the newly renovated property. The property has such a great history, which made our stay even better.
The Pump Room is awesome! Both nights were very busy with people in and out of the bar and restaurant. We came back Saturday night to see a line outside the hotel, people waiting in line to get into the Library or the Pump Room. All in all we had an awesome weekend! While we were walking back to the hotel; we both said....lets go home : ) I can't wait to go back! I recommend this hotel to all my friends, family and my clients! Thank you Chicago! ~Angel~

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Angel66DTW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PUBLIC_Manager, General Manager at Ambassador Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded December 30, 2011

Thank you for your kind review. We were ecstatic to hear that you truly did enjoy your stay and definitely look forward to welcoming you back “home” soon!
Warm Regards,
Peter Walterspiel
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ambassador Chicago

Address: 1301 N State Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60610 (Formerly PUBLIC Chicago)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Gold Coast , Near North Side
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#52 Business Hotel in Chicago
#61 Luxury Hotel in Chicago
#74 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
Price Range: $99 - $291 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ambassador Chicago 4*
Number of rooms: 285
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With a rich history rooted in Chicago’s Jazz Age, Ambassador Chicago is the city’s original boutique hotel dating back to 1926. Located in the heart of the Gold Coast, the iconic property has hosted the who’s who of the 20th and 21st centuries having served as a local beacon to countless celebrities. Uniquely individual, Ambassador Chicago is nestled among graceful mansions in a quiet, gilded neighborhood tucked into the center of the Windy City offering incredible views of Lake Michigan with easy access to Chicago’s main shopping boulevard, Michigan Avenue. With 285 spacious guestrooms, a 24-hour fitness center, two restaurants, thoughtful programming and amenities curated by local artisans and chefs, Ambassador Chicago maintains its distinct and legendary character while offering guests an authentic Chicago experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Public Chicago Hotel Chicago
Ambassador East Hotel Chicago
Hotel Ambassador East
Ambassador East Chicago

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