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“Yes, It is as terrible as they say!!!”

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Holiday Inn Chicago North Evanston
Ranked #6 of 8 Hotels in Evanston
Potomac, Maryland
Level Contributor
17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Yes, It is as terrible as they say!!!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 July 2008

We booked a room for 3 nights in July. Upon arriving, we could not find the entrance to the parking lot. After circling the block once we realized it was the dark and dingy underground lot we passed several times. The parking lot reeked of urine and other bodily waste. We lugged our luggage out the parking lot to the street, around the corner and up 2 flights of steps to the lobby. We were given a 12th floor King room. Although there were no smoking signs all over the 12th floor, the hallway had a strong oder of cigarette smoke. Our room was the same. We noticed 3 ashtrays in the room which explained a lot. The AC was so loud we could not hear each other talk. Needless to say we did not get much sleep. Early next morning, we were awakend by the sound of drilling and hammering. I reached for my laptop to find another hotel, but the "free" in-room interned did not work. We packed, went to the front desk and checked out. This facility should not hold an occupance permit.

Warning: Avoid this place!! Dont be fooled by the brand name.

  • Disliked — Dirty, Noisy, Smelly place
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank bossanov
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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496 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Pasadena, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2008

We just stayed during the 4th of July weekend for my fiance's grandmothers' 90th birthday party.. The family lives in Evanston so we decided to stay there since it was close to the El and their house so we could get a ride. The hotel is not much to look at and there is no AC in the lobby but it is in the rooms, and the weather was beautiful while we there so that was not too big of a deal but it was noticeable. Everything seemed pretty drab but we were told it had been recently updated and that could be true of the carpet but definitely not the bathrooms (Why they have the waffle curtain but not the rounded shower curtain I have no idea) The bed was incredibly comfortable and I actually slept really well. The hotel was full of baseball teams of youthful ages but I still didn't find it too loud. The pool did look pretty nice and it was also pretty dirty but it did seem like a full weekend and we did see someone cleaning it. My fiance said one night the kids got kind of loud but it was 4th of July so that would be expected. Overall, the room was ok, clean and adequate for the purpose we needed it. If we were to go to visit downtown primarily we would definitely stay closer but I would recommend the hotel to someone who needed to stay in Evanston.

  • Liked — The bed
  • Disliked — The entrance is hard to navigate, ice machines on every other floor!
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RosiePosie83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wichita, Kansas
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2008

INTRODUCTION:
On a recent impulse trip to Chicago, I needed a moderately priced hotel in a safe neighborhood to stay at the very next night, and the Best Western University Plaza was just about the only hotel that fit my criteria. The hotel is located near the edge of Evanston, which puts it within comfortable travel distance to Michigan Avenue and the Loop, but you'll still need to hail a cab or take the L. I'd recommend taking the L just for pure economic reasons, and there are two stops within about two blocks in either direction of the hotel. Plus, considering how traffic can be on Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue, you will get there a lot quicker on the train.

LOBBY/COMMON ROOMS:
The Best Western tries to do a little of everything, and excels at none of it. It presents itself as a business traveler's dream, a great bed and breakfast style get-away, and an executive class luxury hotel. It is none of those things, as any traveller will quickly learn by walking around the common areas. The lobby is very nice, and decorated in quality materials. The initial impression is certainly a good one, and it does convey an air of class, I would consider it comparable to many Hiltons, which is probably the target that the owners were aiming for. This is not the area that the hotel falls short in on the "luxury" image, that will come later. A brief glance would let the business customers know that the so-called "business center" is not going to come even close to meeting even the most rudimentary of needs. The generic and sterile looking dining and continental breakfast area also quickly dispels any bed and breakfast image that the hotel implies on their website... a cold bowl of cereal and a stale bagel are not what the bed and breakfast crowd are seeking.

AMENITIES:
The University Plaza is pretty typical of mid-range hotels. There is a seasonal pool, a continental breakfast, free USA Today in the morning, wireless internet, a small fitness center, small business center, and some relatively nice meeting rooms. Once you begin leaving the lobby and wandering to these areas, it becomes apparent that they have not maintained things quite as well outside the immediate lobby area, but things are still in pretty good shape, and all the equipment provided is relatively modern and functional. There are a couple nice features that the University Plaza offers that some nearby hotels may not, though. First, there is a large on-site parking garage, and while it is not any cheaper than other nearby public garages or lots, it does seem quite secure and safe. Secondly, there is a complimentary shuttle provided by the hotel that goes around parts of Evanston during the day. Evanston is an enjoyable place to look around in itself, but I only used the shuttles to get to the train stations on this particular trip.

ROOMS:
The weakest point of my stay was the quality of my room. I stayed in a double queen room, since that is all that was available on a 24 hour notice, and although I had a private balcony with a wonderful view of the parking garage and the townhouse across the street, there nothing about the room that fit with the image projected by the lobby. The lobby was distinctly Hilton, and the room was distinctly Econo Lodge. The wallpaper was torn or peeling in a few places, the bathroom was old and not incredibly clean, and the beds were bowed in the middle and lacking in any form of support. The door to the balcony was incredibly difficult to open and close, but the only thing I saw from my balcony of any interest was a minor car accident, so not being able to access the balcony isn't as big a negative as you might think. The room furniture was generic cheap-hotel, but seemed to be in decent shape. There was plenty of space in the room, which was probably the only real strong point for the price.

SERVICE:
Another area that failed to impress was the customer service. I returned to the front desk after looking at my room to let them know that it appeared my bathroom had not been cleaned, and commented that the beds were some of the least comfortable I'd seen. The desk attendant, clearly labeled by her badge as "shift manager" was quite disinterested and said she would send someone up to clean the bathroom, without ever looking up from her computer monitor. Not only was the bathroom never cleaned, I was staying more than one night, and the room wasn't cleaned the next day either. This time I got more frustrated, and did manage to get the room cleaned, but it was done by an extremely unhappy housekeeper who cut as many corners as possible.

CONCLUSION:
There are a lot of hotels in the Chicago area, but for the traveller that likes to be pampered and likes to save as much as possible, there aren't a lot of options. A cursory internet search might put the Best Western University Plaza near the top of such a list, but the misleading website photos and descriptions are a thin veil hiding a relatively unremarkable hotel. It's not the worst place I've ever stayed at, but it's far from being the best. There is one other concern about this hotel that did not fit well within my review, and that is the safety of the neighborhoods surrounding the hotel. To the west you have downtown Evanston and some very nice areas, but within a block to the east things get pretty disreputable pretty quickly. I do not advise walking alone through that area at night.

  • Liked — Location is pretty close to mass transit and sights
  • Disliked — Room quality and staff
  • Stayed July 2007, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank thewizard16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Evanston hotels

Philadelphia
Level Contributor
56 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2008

The hotel is dark, dank, old and ugly. It's moderately clean, but not sparkling. The exterior is horrid, and the garage is the scariest place in Evanston (which is a lovely college town). The fitness center was under construction, the pool is a little larger than a typical hot tub, and the hot tub has been turned into a planter. The breakfast buffet looked cold and old and we passed on the extra cost.

The room itself was a little better, the carpeting at least looked new and the beds were well made and reasonably comfy. The TV was about 25 years old and relied on satellite, which was pretty unreliable in the weather. The bathroom was small and cheap looking -- what you would expect in a Motel 6.

If they were charging motel 6 prices, it would have been fine. However, because we were there over graduation weekend, they charged a whopping $259 per night and required a 3 night stay. We don't have to go back to Evanston, thankfully, maybe ever. But if I did, I can assure you that I'd stay at O'Hare before I re-rented at this property.

  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank rundeep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 May 2008

The staff at the BW were quick and friendly at check in. When I had card problem, they were very responsive in getting the problem taken care of. Service was decent, although when I called to get an extra blanket, I had to go down and pick it up myself.
There are no frills or extra decorative touches at the BW. The lobby, elevators and hallways were all just the basics, and kind of unpleasant in feeling. I mostly just wanted to get into my room and get the door closed.
The hotel is quite close to the cta lines, and the first room I stayed in was really noisy, since the trains run until 1am and start again at 5am. Due to the layout of the hotel, you're either close to the elevator or close to the trains, which obviously isn't the optimal set up for a quiet stay. When I asked to switch rooms, the front desk person was very accomodating, and found me a room that was marked as "quiet".Once I switched rooms the noise from the trains was better. The beds were decently comfortable and the free wireless worked without a hitch. The fitness room was closed throughout my stay, and the outdoor pool was empty.
All in all it was a decent place to stay if you're planning to spend little or no time in the hotel, and aren't looking for any particular amenities.

  • Liked — Price
  • Disliked — Noise
  • Stayed May 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Lanabus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bloomington, IL
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 May 2008

We booked our reservations through expedia and got a good rate. The exterior of the hotel needs improvement and the garage is a little run down. However, the interior of the hotel appears to be new. The front desk staff was very friendly and told us we were in a newly redone room. The beds are very comfortable, even better than what we have at home. The linens were very nice and we had a feather duvet, not an old brown blanket as another reviewer had mentioned. The hotel is limited in the amenities. They only serve a continetal breakfast, no lunch or dinner. And there is only an outdoor pool which was open in early May. Overall, a very nice stay. We got a very good night sleep and the staff was very nice.

  • Liked — The Beds
  • Disliked — No room service
  • Stayed May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank sblock0906
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dvoorst
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 May 2008

After reading the reviews regarding this hotel, my husband and I kept our expectations low. The price and location were right so we boldly checked in on a Friday night expecting the worse and boy were we pleasantly surprised! Our experience here was nothing like many of the other reviewers. The staff was very friendly checking us in, they quickly resolved a minor miscommunication issue before sending us to our room for a two night stay. The elevator was clean and quick (contrary to another reviewers experience) and the hallways were bright and freshly painted and papered. The room was quite a pleasant surprise! All new bathroom fixtures, feather beds and comforters, new carpeting and furniture. We did hear the metra train occasionally throughout the night, but it wasn't bad, and we consider that part of staying in the city. In the loop we hear ambulances which is worse. All in all, it looks like this hotel is really making some improvements...we would definitely stay here again.
Oh yes, there are some really good restaurants within walking distance and parking is very convenient.

  • Liked — The improvements made recently
  • Disliked — the view from the outside looking at the hotel (curtains all messy etc)
  • Stayed May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank dvoorst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Holiday Inn Chicago North Evanston

Property: Holiday Inn Chicago North Evanston
Address: 1501 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201-4416 (Formerly University Plaza Hotel)
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Illinois > Evanston
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 8 Hotels in Evanston
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Holiday Inn Chicago North Evanston 3*
Number of rooms: 159
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The newest addition to Evanston is the Holiday Inn Chicago North-Evanston, Illinois! Our hotel occupies a prime spot along Chicago's North Shore, just four blocks away from Lake Michigan and Northwestern University and close to downtown Chicago sightseeing, tours, museums, restaurants and shopping. This state-of-the-art Hotel features special in room amenities such as Free High Speed Internet Access, Microwave and Refrigerator, 37" Flat Panel LCD TV and Free Local Calls. Whether you are staying with us for Business or Pleasure, take time to relax and enjoy our Outdoor Swimming Pool (seasonal), Business Center, Wireless Internet Access in all public areas and Fitness Center. Points of Interests:Companies: Rotary International, Leapfrog Online, ZS Associates Hospitals: Evanston Hospital Universities: Northwestern University (NU), Kellogg School of Management Local Attractions: Northwestern University, Baha'i House of Worship, Navy Pier, Wrigley Field, Shedd Aquarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Willis Tower. The newest addition to Evanston is the Holiday Inn Chicago North-Evanston, Illinois! Stay Smart at the Holiday Inn Chicago North-Evanston! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Best Western University Plaza Hotel Evanston
Best Western Hotel Evanston
Evanston Best Western

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