I stayed at the hotel during the weekend after Thanksgiving and for the following week to attend a giant medical convention in Chicago. The location is great: right in the loop not far from museums and the shopping district. There were lots of nearby restaurants within a few block walk, and a restaurant right in the hotel too but I never ate there. I found a place called "Thai Spoon" at the corner of Wabash and 6th street that was a cheap eat, and was maybe a 5 minute walk, most of which could be through the Chicago Hilton right next door to this hotel.
The room they originally gave me was directly across from the elevator, and I asked
for a different room so I wouldn't be bothered by the noise, and they very cheerfully gave me a room on a higher floor, and upgraded me from a single to a double in the process and didn't charge me any more than the original smaller room.
The room was perfectly adequate. They have an antiquated heating/cooling system here that's either heat or cold not both. You adjust the temperature essentially by adjusting the fan speed. The room must have been 100'F when I walked in, but you can open the window, and after turning the fan off, it took about 2 hours on a cold November day to cool the room off. I left the heat off the rest of my stay and it was about right. temperature-wise.
For those who watch TV, they have a wide-screen TV and a greater number of cable TV channels than any hotel I ever stayed at.
The bathroom was small and crowded but adequate. The shower/commode is in a separate room from the sink. It was hard to go into the john and close the door, so I just left it open, which might pose a problem if you're not alone. There wasn't any really good place for the coffee maker in the room, so they keep it in the piece of furniture the TV sits on, and you have to move it over to the miniature bathroom and plug it in there, crowding out your toothbrush and dental floss in the already crowded area. No big deal. The gave me extra coffee 'filters' since I'm a caffeine nut, and remembered to do that every day after I asked the first day.
The stopper in the sink was permanently closed when I got into the room, and I propped it open with a shoehorn, but by the third day they had fixed it automatically. I think the tub drain was very, very slow, almost stopped up, and it was that way the whole time. I never complained about it to the management.
There was a report of bedbugs here, as for most of the Chicago hotels, and I purposely brought one of those little LED high-intensity flashlights to do a thorough room inspection before unpacking. I really tore the bed apart, and saw that they had (correctly) enclosed the mattress inside of a case that was sealed with a cable tie that couldn't be opened. The box spring was also free of any evidence of bugs, and I got down on my hands and knees and carefully looked in places they never vacuum and saw absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any varmints. I was also pleased that the bed coverings were white, which would be make any evidence of bedbugs easier to spot since their excrement causes brown streaks which I saw none of. At all. I felt safe. Kudos to the management here!
I was pleasantly surprised to find that they have free in-room wireless internet that's unfortunately pretty slow. I clocked it at ~30 kB. Better than dial-up but the slowest download speed I ever saw in a hotel. (My low-end broadband at home is ~170 kB.) You can pay a daily fee (~$6-10? depending on the speed) and get faster service, which is obviously the idea, but for just checking e-mail and such it was perfectly adequate.
They do have a business center which might have faster (?plug-in) internet but I never sought it out.
Sound proofing was not great but adequate. I heard doors opening and closing in neighboring rooms. No big deal.
The elevators were a little slow.
The people at the desk and the bellmen were most helpful and it was speedy checking in and out.
There's a nice waiting area in the lobby where you can wait for friends or transportation.
I originally chose this place because of the exercise facility and pool but was so busy I never got to use, much less even see the facility. It's there if you want a workout.
They have a free shuttle bus that goes up and down Michigan Ave. The driver was kind enough to go out of his way for me, and take me to a place that's not normally on his route.
All-in-all, an excellent choice. Reasonably priced on Chicago standards, convenient, and mostly well maintained. The personnel were friendly and helpful. I'd recommend this hotel and stay here again any time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Chicago's Essex Inn is a hotel in downtown Chicago on the Michigan Avenue Cultural Mile that combines breathtaking panoramas of Grant Park, the Museum Campus and Lake Michigan with exciting promotional packages that incorporate famed attractions and events in Chicago. From our steel and glass lobby to contemporary rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, the Essex Inn offers amazing views and amazing value. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chicago`s Essex Hotel Chicago
- Chicagos Essex Hotel
- Essex Inn Chicago
- Hotel Chicagos Essex