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“Smelly, noisy, and not what you would expect from a Westin”

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The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago
Ranked #56 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed August 19, 2007

I stayed at the Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago from August 12 - 16, 2007. and had the worst experience of my life. Prior to this stay, I was a great fan of Westin hotels. Since this stay, I'm not sure I will ever stay at a Westin again. And I will definitely never stay at his particular hotel.

As soon as I opened the door to my room (1752), I could smell a damp, musty odor, similar to what you might expect at a cheap seaside motel. I tried to phone the front desk, but the telephone didn't work. I went back down to reception and stood in line. When I finally got to the counter and explained the situation, the front desk attendant said that the smell was to be expected because of the humidity. He was completely unsympathetic and unapologetic. He did eventually assign me to a different room (650). This one also had a similar odor but it wasn't as strong as the previous room, so I decided to grin and bear it, especially as I wasn't getting any sympathy from the hotel staff.

The next morning, when I tried to turn on a lamp, the neck of the lamp fell off in my hand. I had to reassemble the lamp myself. Then I tried to make a cup of coffee only to find that the coffee maker didn't work. The hairdryer didn't work either. It turned out that the electrical outlet in the bathroom was out of order. Also, the bathroom cabinetry was so badly scratched up, it looked like it had been vandalized. I didn't have time to report any of this as I had to get to my conference.

When I returned to my room that evening, the room stunk. It smelt as if a sewer had backed-up in the room. That was the last straw.

I waited in line for a third time at the front desk. This time I got a sypmathetic and professional member of staff (Sasha) who listened patiently, apologized, agreed that this is not what one should experience at a Westin, and re-assigned me to a "renovated" room on the other side of the hotel.

The new room (1509) was small and dark, but smelt fresh and clean. Sasha was also professional enough to phone up later that evening to make sure I had settled into the room okay. Something her colleague at the front desk didn't have the courtesy to do the first time around.

Unfortunately, this new room, was close to an elevator and was very noisy. I could hear the elevator scraping up and down the elevator shaft all night long. I could also hear everything that was happening in the hallway as if it was going on in my own room. By this point, I was fed up, frustrated and couldn't be bothered to complain any more, since there just didn't seem to be a hope in hell that anyone at this hotel would be able to resolve the situation.

It's ironic that the hotel's literature says that they hope their guests leave relaxed and refreshed and they look forward to welcoming them back again. I felt anything but refreshed and relaxed. I have never been so glad to check out of a hotel before, and you could not pay me enough to stay at this hotel again.

I have never had such a horible experience at any hotel, anywhere in the world. The Starwood Group should be ashamed that one of their properties operates at such a low standard.

It is not cheap to stay at a Westin, and one expects a certain level of comfort and service, not a smelly or noisy room, rude staff, and furniture and equipment that is falling apart. What I experienced was inexcusable.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled on business
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2  Thank Ziggy02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WLCSHR, Director of Sales & Marketing at The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago, responded to this reviewResponded November 30, 2007

Thank you for your feedback, which is very important to us. You were staying a room that had not been renovated and we are in the process in completing the renovation of the hotel guestrooms.

There is no excuse for the lamp to be broken or any of the other items to be worn or in disrepair. Our Director of Operations had reported this to our engineering department at the time of your posting since he reads Trip Advisor daily.

The noise issues from the elevator are unusual as is excessive noise from the guest hallways. We did have a few groups in house but during your visit we were still in our heavy family travel season.

I personally invite you to return to the hotel so that you may truly leave the hotel feeling better than when you arrived. It would be a pleasure to upgrade you during your next stay with us.

Sincerely,
Brian Quinn
Director of Sales & Marketing

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,354 - 2,360 of 2,618 reviews

Reviewed August 16, 2007

I stayed here 8/13-8/15 and booked on Priceline for $115 per night.

For that amount, it's not so bad, but I would have been very disappointed had I paid full price. From my experience booking with Priceline, no hotel has purposely given me a bad room for that reason. I think that may have been the case here at the Westin, however most of my complaints are with the hotel itself, not the room.

I arrived at about 1 a.m. and was the only person in the lobby, other than the desk agent. I really loved the lobby and am not sure why. It didn't have anything out of the ordinary, but it did have a very sexy feel that made me regret staying here alone.

The agent was friendly, and check-in was quick. Seeing as how it was so late, and I was clearly a weak, worn-out woman, I would expect the offer of help with my bag, but I did not get it. I don't utilize the bellmen anyway, but I have always at least been offered the service and found this a little strange.

My room was on the fifth floor, and I found the hallways to be quite dingy. It looked like a budget hotel with scratches and a little dirt on the walls. My room was very close to the elevators, but I did not hear them. However, I could hear everything else that was going on. I'm not sure if this was due to thin walls or the fact that the doors to the room are so high up from the floor that they resemble fancy bathroom stalls.

The room itself was one of the smallest I've ever had, and it had an old tube TV. There was no self-checkout which was annoying. The bed was huge and extremely comfortable, so that was the best part. The bedding was so heavy that when I pulled it over me, for a moment I thought a person had climbed on top of me. They offered 24-hour room service which I could not find on their Web site. I ended up not needing it after all, but it was nice knowing it was there. The view was awful, but I don't mark off for this because almost every hotel will have rooms that don't have views, and views usually cost extra. So, the sight from my window was a roof, a fire escape, and a poster of a naked woman in some guy's apartment.

The room was freezing cold which was very unpleasant. However, I did find the temperature control hidden behind the curtains, and after that it was fine. Maid service was fantastic, and the woman cleaning my room was very nice, almost seeming happy to be there.

Check-out was easy, despite having to go down to the desk to do it. I left my luggage at the bell desk which was very efficient both ways. When I left the hotel, I had scheduled an airport shuttle, but no one at the hotel knew this. I walked out with my suitcase and stood out front, and no one offered to hail a cab or help me. Again, it wasn't something I needed but something I'm used to good hotels offering.

I used the business center which was outrageously expensive, but that's pretty standard. I did not eat at the restaurant, but it smelled good and had quite a crowd at all times.

Overall, there was not much actually wrong with the hotel, but for the price it would normally cost, I expect much better. If you get a great deal, it's well worth it, but the lack of service in some areas, the doors, the hallways, and a few other things add up to make this an average experience.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled solo
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Thank midgetmama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2007

This is a wonderful hotel! Excellant location. Guest service was outstanding - very helpful bellstaff. And everyone knows what great beds Westins have. While I was here on business, I plan on returning with my family for a weekend vacation.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled on business
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2  Thank MsJones1124
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2007

We spent 3 nights, Aug 3 - 6. Overall, the experience was average to slightly above average. We had tub draining issues and it got fixed in about 20 minutes. The beds were comfortable, the A/C cold. The rooms are a bit tired and the curtains had a few brokens hangers.

The coffee in the bathroom was a nice touch and we got a great AAA rate ($209 vs next best rate of $349). The front desk staff were courteous and the concierge was helpful (she put us onto 11 City Diner and Rosebud Steakhouse). The doormen were not too helpful as I was scolded for trying to hire a taxi that had just left a passenger at the front door instead of waiting for the next taxi in line. He did not even help us with the doors on the taxi and, as a consequence forfeited a $5 tip.

On balance, we have no real complaints - and several attaboys for engineering, the front desk (VIcki in particular), and the concierge.

The hotel is located on the North end of the Mag Mile. - a 7 - 10 minute walk form the closest rail stop (red line). We went to Cub's games and transportation was not an issue. If you can get a great rate, the Westin on Michigan is a very good option.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled with family
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1  Thank Hays14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2007

My boyfriend and I stayed at the Westin on Michigan Ave. from a Saturday - Monday, in town for the Mets/Cubs game.

Check-in: From Chicago O'Hare to the Westin was about $38 by taxi, and compared to the shuttle that you share with others for $18/pp from the airport, it was worth it to take a cab by ourselves. We arrived early at around 11am and was told that we could check-in but our room would not have a great view and was by the elevators, so we opted to go to lunch first and come back. We went to Giordano's which was about a 5min walk and Westin gave us a call about a half hour later while we were at lunch, notifying us that our room was ready.

The room: We first got checked into a room on the 20th floor facing the lake which was nice, but was turned off when we entered the room and noticed the entire room/bathroom smelled like cigarette smoke, so we immediately called down and asked to switch our rooms. After being put on hold for about 5mins, we were given another room, two floors up from where we were and ended up being by the elevator but it had no smell of smoke which was acceptable. Like others, we felt that the room was very standard, compared to other Westin's we have been to which were renovated with newer furnishings and flat-screen tv's, but this room was not. It had a 27" tube tv and very shabby furniture. But it was clean and the bathroom was nice but did not have the dual showerheads that we are used to at other Westin's. The towels also had a stingy glue smell to them when they got damp which kind of made us nauseous but other than that, no complaints. We were a tad disappointed considering we spent about $300/night for this room. The walls are extremely thin. The phone had rung while i was in the bathroom and came out to answer it and realized it was NEXT door's phone that was ringing.That's how thin the walls are. We also heard other people's doors opening and closing thru the night and the elevator doors as well so I had woken up a couple of times in the night, even with the Heavenly Bed.

The location: Great location, close to all the shopping. There's the "900" across the street which is an enclosed mall of about 50-60 shops and then all along Michigan Ave., there's hundreds of stores including Macy's, H&M, Express, Victoria Secret, high-end shops and also a movie theater further down. Also,directly across the street is the John Hancock tower and places to eat beneath the street level. There's a cafe great for a quick bite for breakfast or lunch or gelato, a Jamba Juice and a Cheesecake Factory open till after midnight which we ate at twice.

Overall, we would probably not stay at the Westin again because for the price we paid, we were disappointed and felt that we could do much better. I would def. stay in this location though because we were looking at the hotels by River North and when we passed by in person, they seemed nice but there was hardly anything to do over there i.e. eating, nightlife, etc. so staying on the Mag. Mile was key to a good stay.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank nyckitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2007

I visited the Westin for six nights for a business conference that was booked at the hotel. As a Starwood Preferred member, I booked our room and asked for high floor, quiet room away from elevators. When we arrived, tired and late, a day before the conference, they gave us a room right next to the bank of elevators. This was not acceptable, due to the noise, and they gave us a better room on a much lower floor which was noisy due to traffic on Michigan Ave.. As other colleagues arrived, they were given superior rooms, high floors, with beautiful Lake views. We arrived at 2pm, most others late at night. What I didn't understand was that the front desk person insisted there were no rooms available that night (or for the rest of my stay) that met my requirements - what a surprise when I walked into a room later that same night with exactly what I had requested...seems a little odd! The housekeeping was great, except we never got turn-down service that I asked for six nights and everyone else seemed to enjoy the fresh towels, chocolates, etc.. This was not a Westin hotel in my opinion.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled on business
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Thank Travelingtwin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2007

We took a chance on hotwire, as our dates were flexible - the location was not. When the Westin on Michigan Avenue came up we were more than pleased. It's a great location, walking distance to many prime shopping locations, attractions and all levels of dining options - goodness it puts you directly across the street from the John Hancock building. My one and only complaint is that although newly remodeled, there is very little, if any sound proofing - we could hear doors opening and closing all hours of the night and early morning - someone in the room next to us dropped a glass bottle in the bathroom, and I thought it was in our room - they should include ear plugs along with those awesome heavenly beds!

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with family
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Thank redi2travl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago

Address: 909 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611-1935
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Magnificent Mile , Near North Side
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#16 Green Hotel in Chicago
#17 Spa Hotel in Chicago
#33 Luxury Hotel in Chicago
#75 Family Hotel in Chicago
#77 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#85 Business Hotel in Chicago
Price Range: $123 - $462 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago 4.5*
Number of rooms: 752
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago is on the Magnificent Mile across from Bloomingdale's and the upscale shops of Water Tower Place. The exhilarating excitement of Chicago is at our doorstep. ... more   less 
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Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago

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