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“Perfectly OK. Great location. Good value. Excellent staff.”

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Chicago's Essex Inn
Ranked #144 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Reviewed 4 December 2010

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.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled on business
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1  Thank fishloverdave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 November 2010

I spend several days this past October at Chicago's Essex Inn and can't say enough GOOD about this place.

I have 3 small children and from the time I met the General Manager, Andy, in the lobby of the hotel to the time we checked out, we were treated to service far above the price of the room!

The location was perfect, the room clean and the entire experience more than I was expecting.

Stay here on your next trip, and tell Andy I sent you!!!

Kevin

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled with family
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Thank kmgwin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2010

Great hotel. We went for a convention at the Hilton, the Essex is right next door. Rooms are small, but clean. Fridge in every room. On the weekends, they offer a free shuttle to downtown locations. Very friendly, accomodating staff. We had adjoining rooms which was nice for our group. They did charge to store bags when we checked out, but only $1.00 pp. It was worth it, because bellman had a cab when we needed it to get to the airport, and our luggage was loaded and ready to go. All in all, the hotel was perfect for our needs.

Stayed: October 2010, travelled on business
1  Thank jsjkgoodell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2010

Our family went up to Chicago to see a Chicago Fire game. There were 6 adults and 4 young kids in our group. It must have been a busy weekend because we had a hard time finding a reasonably priced hotel in the downtown area and ended up at the Essex Inn.

Overall it was a good hotel stay - the location was across the street from the Field Museum and Millennium Park, which the kids loved - and it was close to a very good breakfast place called Yolk, which is a couple of blocks south of the hotel. If we had to, we would stay here again, although it wouldn't be our first choice.

Pros:
+ Decent location
+ Reasonable price
+ Heated indoor pool (kids loved it!)
+ Clean rooms

Cons
- Smaller room size (tiny bathrooms)
- Inability to control the heat/cooling - it's central unit that you really can't change
- Charges for wireless

Other notes:
We had requested, upon booking, that our rooms be adjoining, but when we got there they could not accommodate our request. Unfortunately we ended up on 3 different floors, although all at the same end of the hotel, so the back-and-forth wasn't too bad. Our room had a decent view and the windows went all the way to the floor, so our kids thought that was super cool.

My brother and sister-in-law's room seemed to have issues regulating the temperature so they were constantly battling with being too hot or cold. They eventually asked for a different room and the hotel did accommodate their request fairly quickly. The room they moved into was ok, temperature-wise.

The valet parking is pretty expensive at the hotel itself ($34+ per day), but if you don't mind public parking lots there is one right behind the hotel (1 block directly west) where the daily rates were like $18 a day.

We didn't require much from the hotel in terms of service, so I can't really speak to that.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank charlooza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 October 2010

Hotel was clean bathrooms are very small and some with shower only. Air conditioning was not working well but only needed it one night. Staff were great helped get taxi and shuttle as needed and helped with directions. Restaurant was good nothing fancy. Hotel need some updating but beds were comfortable. Great for our short stay with Grant Park across the road,area was safe to walk in.

  • Stayed: October 2010
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1  Thank rondakar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2010

Pros: quiet, friendly staff, convenient location
Cons: terrible room temperature, uncomfortable beds, not clean, grungy

This hotel is not nearly as nice as the photos on the website make it look. The room is dark and dingy; sheets have small holes in them, furniture is worn, sink was clogged. On the second day, I came back to my room to find a huge fan on the floor. The next-door room had flooded and our floor was wet. The front desk people were polite but didn't offer to do anything about it. I don't think they were planning to clean the carpet either, which made me feel that the entire hotel was extremely dirty. In addition, the heating/cooling system was awful and out-of-date. It was a "2-pipe system" so the hotel determined the temperature and the room only controlled whether the fan was on or off. The beds were hard and between that and the hot room I didn't sleep well at all. Oh, and I paid for Internet ($5.95 for 24 hours) but it didn't work well at all; I lost the wireless connection every 5 minutes.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled on business
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1  Thank wsujen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 October 2010

This was my birthday vacation, I take one every year. I arrived in Chicago at 10 am, Saturday morning, March 20, 2010. It was really cold and rainy with light snow, my check in time at the hotel was in the afternoon, but I came straight from Union station to the Essex. I had no problem getting my room as soon as I got there, I was so thankful for that, I was wet and cold and the hotel made it all better with my nice warm room waiting for me regardless of the time. The staff was very helpful and very polite, I had everything I needed, The food was excellent, I have nothing but fond memories of my birthday stay in Chicago. My room was neat and clean, The hotel was close to where I wanted to go for the weekend. The weather improved a bit, but it was March in Chicago, no doubt, The Essex was everything I had hoped for, I had no problems, check in was amazing as well as check out, very smooth on all counts, Yes I would visit again.

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled solo
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Thank queen409
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Chicago's Essex Inn

Address: 800 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605-7101
Region: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Downtown / The Loop
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #144 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Price Range: £58 - £214 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Chicago's Essex Inn 3.5*
Number of rooms: 254
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

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