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Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection
Ranked #77 of 187 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
76 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“You wouldn't rush back”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 28, 2014

I confess to being a Marriott fan - high mileage traveller and the benefits and reliability offered by Marriott make it the best hotel chain. I gave up 'boutique' hotels a while back after too many gloomy rooms, odd decor, flooded bathrooms and desperate attempts to be 'hip'. The hotel is well-located and the staff very friendly and efficient. My early check-in was greatly appreciated. The property, however, has some problems, and I know it's a recent arrival as a Marriott. Odd things like the conspicuous lack of branding (or a sign to point you to the hotel) stand out. The property is a bit gloomy throughout. My room was perfectly adequate - great bed, OK decor that tried to be rather funky but didn't quite make it, no chair to lounge in (a boutique touch), good water pressure etc. The downside was erratic wifi, no usual information booklet to guide you around the property. Lifts are rattly and require a separate security card. Concierge lounge - a space in the bar on the ground floor with a couple of chairs and long lounge - was OK at night provided you enjoyed everyone else's conversation but I skipped the morning's offering of overcooked bacon, scrambled eggs, no fruit salad, juice or butter and no one around to see if I could scrounge some butter for the bagel.
Overall, it's not a hotel I'd revisit - a comfortable nights sleep and fine staff yes, but just a bit on the depressing side.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Duncan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jenny K, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection, responded to this review, April 1, 2014
We are very sorry to hear that you were disappointed in your recent stay at our hotel. Yes, we just recently joined the Marriott Autograph Collection, and we are dedicated to making Hotel Chicago better than ever. Your honest review is invaluable to our reaching that goal, thank you. In our ongoing efforts to improve; we have some great updates in store. We hope you will visit us again when you return to Chicago; we know we can win you over with our improvements.
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1,009 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Elizabeth, Indiana
Level Contributor
153 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 27, 2014 via mobile

Very convenient to Michigan Avenue shopping, many excellent food options, and theater district. We had a great stay--4 nights. All staff we encountered were friendly and helpful. Ice machine on our floor was out of order first two days but then was repaired. Business center was adequate. We have stayed at many Chicago hotels; the location of this one is great. Bed was very comfortable and the shower was really good. . . good water pressure and nice showerhead. In many hotels, the height of the showerhead is problematic for my 6'8" husband. We would definitely stay here again. I also liked their use of dispensers for shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner.

Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank REC_23_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jenny K, General Manager at Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection, responded to this review, April 1, 2014
It is great to hear about your wonderful stay with us, thank you. We apologize for any inconvenience you encountered due to the ice machine not working for part of your visit. We can’t wait to see you again when you next return to Chicago.
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Cleveland
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 25, 2014

First of all the "new hotel" proclamation on the Marriott app isn't entirely true. It may be new to Marriott but is the old Hotel Sax; with no updates or improvements. That aside I have stayed in other Autograph properties and this one doesn't cut it. The Henry in Dearborn is a former Ritz and I think it is better now as an Autograph. I travel extensively for work and am a Platinum member with Marriott and Starwood. This was a personal trip to see my son's lacrosse game and bring him home for spring break. I usually stay in the River North area when in Chicago for work as there are several excellent restaurants (Keefer's is a favorite) and the location of this hotel is perfect. The doorman was friendly and prompt although the parking is as outrageous as all the downtown properties, $65/night; more than half the cost of the room. (I normally don't drive)
The front desk clerks were pleasant enough and I got the perfunctory thanks for being a platinum, but that's it. There was no upgraded room and no concierge lounge. On the website I did notice there is a concierge floor and assumed there was a lounge but no. The two key system for the elevator is clumsy. The rooms are somewhat dark as this hotel is only 16 stories and is dwarfed by the Marina City condos on the river side. There is no view other than the parking deck of the condos and a small slice of the river. The rooms have a cheap faux hip decorating style. Fairly small with no sitting area. The bed was comfortable as were the sheets. The only bottled water in the entire hotel was the $7 bottle of Evian in the room. (there is a CVS a couple blocks away). Upon returning to the room on Saturday at 4:30pm my room had not been cleaned. On Sunday there was not a newspaper available in the hotel. Breakfast on Sunday consisted of over priced and overcooked eggs in Bin 36 which is attached to the hotel and is really an evening location. I expected more from this property and may try it again AFTER Marriott has time to make changes. I assume the staff here is a holdover from the Sax and need further training. There is a newer Marriott Residence Inn across the street that is very good and also the Westin River North although it is pricier and in need of a facelift. The newer Aloft hotel is a couple of blocks away and a good property.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank beachandflipflops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lori M, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection, responded to this review, March 28, 2014
Hi Beachandflipflops,

It sounds like we disappointed you and that’s disappointing to all of us. We often get great reviews of our quirky style and pleasant team and were saddened to hear you didn’t care for either. It was great to hear you liked the location, bed, sheets and prompt doorman. Yes, upgrades are in the works. Come give us another try then. In the meantime, if you’d like to talk this over, we’d welcome the opportunity to make it right. Please write to mdienhart@thehotelchicago.com.
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Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level Contributor
28 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 24, 2014

As part of the "Autograph Collection", my expectations were greater than this property delivered. The dual key system to access elevator and then guest room is clumsy. Room was excessively loud because of a bathroom exhaust fan that lacked a control to turn it off. At the right price (i.e. value) it would be okay for a night, but with so many other choices in downtown Chicago, not a likely return for me.

Room Tip: Keep all shades drawn in winter months....draft made room challenging to heat.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Gregg D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AhcGM, General Manager at Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection, responded to this review, April 3, 2014
Gregg, I are very sorry that you stay with us did not live up to your expectations. I would love for you to reach out to me personally at mdeinhart@thehotelchicago.com. I look forward to hearing from you and to the opportunity to make things right.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Bend, Indiana
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2014 via mobile

We really enjoyed our stay! It's a great location and easy to walk to stores on Michigan and lots of close food options. The staff was friendly. Also you can visit shows at The House of Blues for free! The bar was also a great place to relax at the end of the night and it's open until 12.

Helpful?
3 Thank Kay D
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Jenny K, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection, responded to this review, March 25, 2014
Thank you for the fantastic review; we are smiling from ear to ear! We hope to see you again in the future.
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Pasadena, CA
Level Contributor
33 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 2014

Here on business for two week-plus stays this winter (it was still called the Hotel Sax in January when I was last there.) I'd make my rating 2.5 stars if I could.

There's just something... off about this place.

The decor isn't much to my taste, but that's not a real issue in terms of style. But, for instance, there are no dressers in the rooms. There are a couple of low open shelves near the floor, and I guess one drawer in the night table. But other than a tiny closet -- where do the clothes go?

One room I stayed in had a faux-snakeskin upholstered chair, that was alternately clammy and sticky to sit in and not terribly comfortable by design. Made hanging out in the room a challenge, it was sit in the desk chair or lie in bed.

There's an honor bar and sort of basket of goodies. Overpriced as expected -- but the assortment of choices was eclectic in a way that seemed to strive to look... well, hip. But dear hotel folks -- stocking a multitude of options in vodka and tequila maybe be theme-y, but lots of travelers (like me) would have gladly dropped $7 a couple of times on a minibar scotch or bourbon... except brown alcohol was not allowed. The little can of Pringles was some odd flavor. The bag of popcorn was mixed kettlecorn and cheese corn. All the things offered would be fine, if there were even a few ordinary options. But the impression I got was that event he food and beverage choices were supposed to make some kind of statement. It wasn't one I much cared for.

All of those issues put a crimp in the experience, but one that could be offset by other factors. Certainly, the lobby crew was personable and gracious, and the attached restaurant was quite good if you want to drop a little money on cheese flights (not an everyday find) and good wines paired with them. There, the stylistic flair pays.

But in other areas, the service lacked. In my experience of hotel living, it has always seemed to me that they teach managers in Hotel 101 that housekeeping should prepare each room, each day to a certain exact standard -- usually with a checklist. Not here, apparently. Every day, I played a game returning to my room: how many glasses would I have? The number varied randomly between 4 and none. Any number of towels might appear or disappear. Same for toiletries, etc. I always tip housekeeping; beyond that they deserve it, I always figure that should help me get on the good side with the staff. Most places, I get a response to my "thank you" note. Only happened one night here.

During my second stay, I got a call from the person handling accommodations there for my company, just a check-in, how was the hotel? I told her it was all fine (I'm not big on complaining). She pressed for details, so I told her I missed having any lounge seating in the room, even the clammy/sticky chair I'd had on the first stay, that I wished I had a dresser; that a mini-fridge would've been nice for the weekends. She said no problem, she'd call and get me a chair and a fridge and a microwave. Great, I thought. That night I found I had received a second desk chair. There was a mini-fridge plunked down randomly in the room, not plugged in. No microwave. I laughed out loud -- it was just so characteristic of my whole experience.

Look, it's not an awful place. The location is great. There are aspects of my stay I enjoyed. But I was staying here on someone else's dime and even so I have lingering issues with the place. You shouldn't be staying at a purportedly hip downtown hotel and keep thinking that you'd actually have a better experience at a Homewood Suites by the airport, you know?

Maybe the name change is more than cosmetic. I hope so. But as it stands, I would never, ever spend my own money to stay here.

Room Tip: The best rooms are in a different hotel
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Jimverbose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jenny K, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection, responded to this review, March 24, 2014
We are very sorry you were not impressed with your stay. As you mentioned, we are now proud to be Hotel Chicago, part of the Marriott Autograph Collection. We are already busy making the hotel better than ever! We would love to see you again; we know we can win you over with our improvements.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Freeport IL
Level Contributor
34 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 19, 2014

We just returned from a 2 night stay, March 16-18, 2014 at the Hotel Chicago. We've stayed at several hotels in the city and find the rooms here quite spacious compared to many hotels in the city.

The hotel is located right next to the House of Blues- many years ago it was the House of Blues Hotel and most recently the Hotel Sax. Though the mailing address is Dearborn Ave., to find the entrance you will need to turn into the driveway between the Hotel Chicago and House of Blues signs at 350 N State St. If you put this address into Maps, you should not have any trouble at all finding the hotel. The lobby/hotel entrance signage is The Crimson Lounge. There are helpful bellmen for valet parking and to assist with your luggage.

Valet parking is $65/night tax included with in and out privileges. Sadly, this seems to be the going rate at most hotels in the city now. Parking is a premium in the city. We've found it's just quicker and easier to valet park and take taxis. No need to call a taxi, the bellman will take care of you.

Not sure what the complaints are about the bedding.

Pros:
The elevator is keyed for security.

42" flat screen TV

Large desk with easy access to plugs for charging phones, batteries and laptops.

There is a docking radio/alarm clock on the bedside table.

There was a pod coffee maker in our room stocked with Wolfgang Puck pods along with organic tea. You will also find coffee and tea service available in the lobby in the morning.

There is a tempting, well stocked honor minibar with snacks, wine, liquor and water if you forget to bring your own. Yes, pricey (what minibar isn't) but it is convenient.

The bathroom is stocked with individual Gilchrist & Soames toiletries as well as dispensers in the bathtub/shower. The shower had EXCELLENT water pressure and the bathroom was large in our King room #1011, sometimes an issue at hotels in Chicago. There was also a hairdryer in a bag above the towel rack.

Our room and bathroom were very clean.

Wall safe in the closet with ironing board and iron and a robe.

We liked the decor, lighting and photography artwork.

The staff is friendly and helpful. Check in and out was efficient.

Cons:

The signage is confusing at the entrance but with our tips above you should not have any trouble. It's the only reason I didn't give it an excellent rating.

Advice to hotel:

Our bathroom was only stocked with 2 sets of towels, though I could have called housekeeping, It would be nice to have at least 3 towels. If it's an effort to be greener and I can accept that.

Would I recommend the Hotel Chicago:
YES.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank StephanienTerry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jenny K, Guest Relations Manager at Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection, responded to this review, March 24, 2014
We are thrilled you appreciated our décor and unique style! It is great to hear that our staff took excellent care of you. All of your tips are fantastic! We know future guests will be very grateful, thank you. We will take your suggestions into consideration. Your feedback is invaluable in our efforts to continually improve. We hope to see you again in the future.
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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 Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection

Property: Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection
Address: 333 N Dearborn St, driveway entrance on 350 N State Street, Chicago, IL 60654-4956 (Formerly Hotel Sax Chicago)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#48 Luxury Hotel in Chicago
#69 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#71 Business Hotel in Chicago
#80 Family Hotel in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection 4*
Number of rooms: 354
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The crown jewel of the Marina City complex in River North, right on the Chicago River - Hotel Chicago, Autograph Collection is steps from The House of Blues. Featuring stylish, rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, you'll soak in all the magic the city of Chicago has to offer. The Magnificent Mile, Merchandise Mart, Art Institute, Millennium Park, Theater District, and of course State Street's nightlife are all within walking distance. All 354 rooms and suites offer plush comforts amenities include Presidential double pillow top mattresses and 370 thread-count Egyptian cotton linens. All guestrooms feature 42-inch high definition TVs, working desk, fully stocked minibars, and floor to ceiling windows with views of the Chicago River or City. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Sax Chicago

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