Friday, July 5, 2013

Chicago Pt 2: Where We Stayed

I will just start out by saying, my husband is very patient with me.  I think he was a little distracted when I asked him if he'd mind switching hotels every night when I planned our trip to Chicago a few months ago.  I had a good reason, of course, to get free stuff, and thankfully the hotels were so close to each other it was actually really easy.  So now that we did that, I kind of feel like I need to do a little report on all those hotels.  This will probably only be interesting if you are going to Chicago and need a recommendation on where to stay or like pretty hotel pictures.

Let me just back up a bit.  Part of the reason we decided to go to Chicago was that our new favorite hotel chain, Kimpton, has a few properties there.  When Jason was gone for work earlier this year, he signed up for the loyalty program of the hotel chain where he stayed.  (What a good husband.  He knows how much I love capitalizing on any travel perks, so signed up while he was there.  He also brings home hotel toiletries for me.  Two months worth of hotel toiletries!)  He was there enough nights that he achieved higher "status."  One of the nice things about Kimpton is that if you have status with another hotel chain, they will match that status by letting you into their "Inner Circle," something you normally get after 15 stays or 45 nights with them. 

Anyone can join their loyalty program, In Touch, which gets you free wi-fi and a mini-bar snack.  It's just once you stay enough times that you get to be part of the Inner Circle.  Inner Circle Perks include complimentary nights at their new properties, room upgrades, plus a welcome gift of your favorite snacks (chocolates, fruit, and even some wine - heck yeah).  There are four different Kimpton hotels in Chicago, so because they were all within a ten minute walk of each other, and because we are a little crazy, we (if you could call asking Jason a question while distracted "we") decided we'd try a new hotel every night.  All the bouncing around got us a free night since their "Passport Rewards" program, gets you free nights based on how many properties you stay at, in addition to their normal rewards.  Just Another Points Traveler has a good write up explaining the whole program here.  So without further ado, here are the Kimpton Chicago hotels:

Nicest Room: Hotel Allegro

The first Kimpton hotel we stayed at was the Hotel Allegro.  It was a great location, actually all the Kimpton hotels were very conveniently located within a block or two of the L.  We got upgraded to a King Suite after only booking the most basic room.  I think the hotel room was as big as our house or at least was the biggest hotel room we've ever stayed in. 

The lobby was beautiful and pretty spacious, which made it a perfect place to hang out during their complimentary happy hour (definitely another reason this is my favorite hotel chain).  The jacuzzi tub made it tempting to skip out on the sights entirely. 

Closest to the River: Hotel Monaco

These rooms were pretty small, so I forgot to take many other pictures, however, there was a reason real estate was so sparse: the hotel was right on the river. We had some great views in the evenings looking over the water from the window of our room.

The staff at the Monaco were extremely friendly, and there was a couch type thing overlooking the window, which was nice.  The rest of the room was so small though, it just wasn't our favorite.

Best View: Hotel Burnham

According to the staff, the building the hotel is in was the first skyscraper in the city.  It been renovated to looked it did when originally built as an office building, so the door to your room looked like a door to an office.  We got upgraded to a corner room with a view of Millennium Park in one direction and State Street in the other.  The bathroom was pretty small and basic.  Located close to an L station, we heard the hotel restaurant was good, but never actually ended up eating there.

The lobby here was the smallest, making it less comfortable to hang out for wine hour, and the elevators were really small.  We just took our wine back up to our room though, where we could enjoy the view that made it Jason's favorite hotel.

Most Modern & Nicest Bathroom: Hotel Palomar

This hotel was in one of the really big high rises on the north side of the river, so I think if we had been in a room on one of the higher floors it would have been even more scenic than it already was.  We really liked our "welcome snack," huge jacuzzi tub, and floor to ceiling windows.  They also had served pizza at wine hour and had a huge lobby with a glass-enclosed fireplace, making it my favorite.  (I am easily bribed with food.)

It was super funny checking into all these places since our reservations noted the "Inner Circle" status.  It seemed like most of the staff at all the hotels really went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable and happy, more so it seemed than if we were normal guests.  It was funny to us because neither of us every received special attention anywhere before.  Back to reality at home, there were no wines or chocolates waiting for us, no one to welcome us by name.  At least I have enough hotel shampoos I'll get to enjoy a little sliver of hotel life for another few days.. or maybe weeks in my case!

(All opinions are my own.  I was not comped or paid by Kimpton in any way.)

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