THIS REVIEW WAS SENT TO THE SHERATON ONE WEEK BEFORE I POSTED IT SO THEY COULD RESPOND. They did not.
I recently stayed at the Sheraton Downtown Towers for a conference. We arrived on Saturday the 5th and checked out on Wednesday the 9th. The hotel is really beautifully located for our needs. It is right on the river with easy walking access to the subway. There is a Dominick’s (Safeway) about a block away as well as the most amazing store, Fox & Obel (think Whole Foods) a block the other. Millennium park is just a few block away as is Navy Pier. It was an interesting stay, overall not unpleasant but it did have its moments. Let me run you through it chronologically.
We arrived at the hotel a little bit after 4 in the afternoon. Check in time for this hotel is 3. We waited our turn and when I got to the counter the man at the registration desk told me that there were no King rooms available yet (still being cleaned?) but we could wait or he could but us into a double room. I admit I ASSUMED this meant 2 queens, I was wrong but we will get to this. It was here that I discovered that I had apparently left my ID on the plane to Chicago. The deskman was willing to accept my work ID and work credit card to check in. we opted for the double room to avoid the wait. He did his thing and stood there looking at us. We looked back. Finally he said, “Is there anything else?” I said not if you are done with us and we went off to our room. I would note that one of our travelling partners RIGHT BEHIND US was promptly given a king room.
When we got to our room I immediately got on with the airline to see if they could locate my ID. While I was doing that my wife noticed that there were no sheets on the bed! Well, I was busy but between calls I phoned to the customer service line and told them our predicament and I went back to my ID crisis.
When I finished with the airline I took a look around the room. Two DOUBLE beds, big gobs of caulk in the shower, no toiletries on the counter, no tops sheets, a big red stain on one of the white bedspreads and a run in the carpet are what initially caught my eye. The housekeeping folks arrived telling me that they were there to handle my “emergency.” I told them I had no emergency and that I never indicated I had an emergency. Well the lady I assumed to be in charge told me that they had run out of double bed sheets and she did not want to put king sheets on the bed because we would get tangled in them and hurt ourselves (really, I cannot make this stuff up) and she could not be responsible for a guest hurting themselves. ALSO she said the fix for the stained bedspread was to TURN IT OVER!
Well, we left the room so they could attend to their work. Other than the ridiculous excuse for the sheets and the unsatisfactory answer to the bedspread these women were really pretty great in this interaction it is a tough place to be.
We decided that we were unhappy and returned to the desk. Once there we waited just moments before we met a jewel of the Sheraton staff. I do not remember her name but it was something close to Carissa. She was empathetic and quickly found us a new King room and we moved. She was great.
Our new room was in another world from our first room. It was almost beyond description because on the surface it was the same but it just felt better. The room was nice there was an honor bar (do not touch or you will pay). The bed was wonderful and the bathroom had toiletries and was well maintained. I cannot say what it was it was just better (perhaps the difference between a refreshed room and an old room).
So the room ordeal was over and we really had no problems there at all. We are housekeeping tippers and we leave notes. They left us notes back which we really enjoyed.
We use concierge services and the people who work this desk were really terrific. We looked to them for tickets and dining suggestions and were never left wanting. I really turned to two different people for my needs and the first was a younger gentleman whose name I did not get and the other was Marisa who assisted us with getting tickets to see a Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy play on short notice. These folks were pleasant and helpful in all regards.
I really do not want to go into great detail here but the Sheraton needs to know more than the Trip Advisor people do. This review is being sent to Sheraton before Trip Advisor so they have a chance to weigh in if they choose.
The rooms and variety of configurations are amazing. The facility itself is beautiful and functional. What more can you say about the building, it is a very nice facility with access to the river walk just outside their doors. WONDERFUL!
The people and their effort were not so much wonderful. Our conference had breakfast and lunch every day of the conference. Every, Single, Meal, I had to sort through the plates to find a clean plate. One morning an attendant stood and watched me do this. Then, when I found one and proceeded down the line he picked them up and put them on the stack again. I turned and said I took those out because they are dirty! He collected some plates and took them away. It wasn’t that they had not been cleaned, they looked like they had, and they just were not getting clean. There were attendants for every few tables, I am guessing, and the staff look like poor retirement planning refugees and a good share of them seem mad at the world, or at least mad at us.
One event had a large, three-sided bar in the main room and a smaller ancillary bar outside the room. I tried to get a drink from the smaller bar and was told in no uncertain terms that his bar was not open until 30 minutes later. I respected that but not his tone. I went in and used the larger bar. About 3 hours later we were sitting in the common area of the hall and I decided to try him again. He served but was still surly.
Breakfast was well below the standards of what I would expect from a top-flight hotel group. I will not go into every single selection but my wife and I stuck to the prepackaged yogurt and fresh fruit at breakfast. The food is better at a motel breakfast bar.
Our lunches were actually pretty good with cold cuts and really tasty soups. The dinner at our one meet and greet was poor to inedible with their version of Chinese being salty and mushy across the board.
ONE BRIGHT FOOD SPOT---These folks can make some pastry and dessert. At all of our events the dessert was really not to be missed. All of you event planners coming to Chicago take note!
I am a manger myself and I always want to hear ways to improve my staff and our service to the public. I did not get a feeling from most of the people I spoke to at this property that they encourage this type of growth. You have some really fabulous people. They seem to be in the minority. It was the rare employee who would interact with the guests even to say hello. This is odd to me.
We met some people who live in Chicago who acknowledged that Chicago has some of the most surly manners towards guests. This is no excuse, in fact, it is an opportunity to rise above the norm and bring the crowds in.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Sheraton Grand Chicago is Chicago's premier downtown riverfront hotel, just off Michigan Avenue, and within a short walk of Navy Pier, Millennium Park, museums, shopping and entertainment. The hotel offers spectacular views of either Lake Michigan or the city skyline. Guests enjoy deluxe accommodations, including Sheraton's Sweet Sleepersm Beds, in-room safes, coffee makers, in-room refreshment center, high-speed Internet access, cable television with movies and video games. Club guest rooms, located on the top four floors, feature plush robes, turndown service, complimentary continental breakfast and afternoon hors d'oeuvres. There are five distinctive restaurants and lounges, including the acclaimed Shula's Steak House, health club, indoor swimming pool, sun deck, sauna, and massage therapy. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chicago Sheraton