I've just returned from a trip to visit a relative graduating from Naval Basic Training at Great Lakes Naval Station. Let me begin by saying my family and I would stay at this property again. Our stay was satisfactory. Having said that, I have to add there are some caveats that might make a reader stay elsewhere. Read this review for more details, as my caveats may not apply to you or your family.
First, this is an "extended stay hotel." Those with military officer experience will recognize a hotel like this as a civilian version of Bachelor Officers' Quarters, or BOQ. Consequently, maid service happens weekly, not daily. Towels can be exchanged at the front desk, if you're so inclined. This type of inn is meant more for those on an extended corporate business stay, rather than a family vacation. Also, don't count on a spa, swimming pool, or restaurant on the property. The rooms have a two-burner cooktop, dishes, dishwasher, silverware, refrigerator, and so on. We found the kitchenette adequate for fixing snacks, sandwiches and the morning coffee. A grill is provided for summer cooking. There is a room with several treadmills and exercise bicycles, which has complimentary newspapers daily. The hotel has a convenience store near the front desk (the "Candlewood Cupboard") offering C-store items on the honor system. Alternatively, drive over to the Wal-Mart about a mile away, and stock up on those food pantry items you'd like to fix. Washers are free, but laundry detergent is $1.00/box; better to pick that up at the Wal-Mart also.
The other big caveat to me, is that families need to book the rooms with a sofabed in order to have room for kids to sleep. From what I understand, the suites without a sofabed have no room to put another bed in for kids to sleep in. One of the suites with sofabeds handled my family of four with preteen kids -- but my kids are used to sleeping together. The sofabed suite also had a CD player, and a combination VHS/DVD player connected to the TV in the room with the sofabed. DVDs and a limited selection of paperback books may be borrowed from the front desk. We did not feel cramped, and the adults could close off the bedroom door for a bit of privacy. Those with teenagers may want to consider booking two rooms. We paid $89/night for a sofabed suite, which appears to be in line for this area, that size room, and class of hotel.
We found the staff attentive, but somewhat "kicked back" and also overwhelmed, at times. This could be owing to the type of guest and guest traffic they deal with mostly: those on extended assignments for business reasons. I felt the staff were as helpful as they could be, given the situation they would sometimes find themselves in. (The toilet in our room was plugged -- something IMO newer hotels seem to have happen more often -- and the desk took two hours to find a plunger. It was fixed, though.) The desk seems to be thinly staffed.
One nice plus of this location is the free shuttle van which runs between 6:00a and 5:00p. One does have to have the initial outbound trip booked in advance, though. We took advantage of this shuttle van to travel to the base for graduation. It was a great deal less hassle than bringing a car onto the military post. A person with business (or tourism) in Chicago could take advantage of this service to get to the Metra station at Great Lakes (on the Union Pacific-North line) and avoid the hassles of driving into Chicago. The Metra commuter rail trip to Chicago takes about an hour, and currently runs a bit over $4.00 one-way. Trains run seven days a week.
Overall, I felt I got my money's worth on this stay. I would recommend this hotel for others looking for a clean, comfortable room to stay while visiting the Great Lakes Naval Station area, or the Chicago area -- as long as one remembers the caveats outlined above.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Come and experience our new Comforts of Home Bedding Collection. Our Candlewood Suites - Waukegan/Gurnee is a 4-time Quality Excellence Award Winner. Spacious and built for comfort, each of our suites has a full kitchen complete with microwave and full size refrigerator. You can catch up on work with an oversized executive desk with two phone lines and free high speed Internet in every room. Relax in the overstuffed recliner while you enjoy the cable TV, listen to your MP3 or watch movies on a VCR / DVD player. Borrow your favorites from our free DVD library at the front desk. Work off some stress in our Fitness Center or visit our Candlewood Cupboard, where you can purchase meals, snacks and sundry items at competitive prices. Our setting is the perfect choice for business or leisure travelers. The Candlewood Suites Chicago - Waukegan is located just minutes from everything including: Businesses: Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Abbott Laboratories, Cardinal Health, Baxter, Medline, Omnicell, PCI, Uline, Yaskawa Attractions: Six Flags Great America, Gurnee Mills - Mega Mall, Ravinia Festival Grounds, Lake County Fair Grounds Universities: Rosalind Franklin University, Chicago Medical School, College of Podiatric Medicine, CLC We are proud to offer our guests free membership in Priority Club Rewards. Come and let our friendly staff help you to enjoy a truly remarkable hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Candlewood Suites Chicago Waukegan Hotel Waukegan
- Candlewood Suites Waukegan
- Candlewood Waukegan
- Waukegan Candlewood Suites