from Southampton, United Kingdom
Submitted on 27-10-2016
This is a huge hotel, with 44 lifts, and the magnificent central lobby and bar sometimes seems more like an airport than a hotel, with so many people with luggage checking in. We booked an Executive King room, but were given keys to a regular room with two beds, where we could barely step past each other and over our belongings. Then to access the executive lounge, we had to take the elevator to the ground floor, walk round the corner and take a lift to the 23rd floor of the Executive Tower for ...
This is a huge hotel, with 44 lifts, and the magnificent central lobby and bar sometimes seems more like an airport than a hotel, with so many people with luggage checking in. We booked an Executive King room, but were given keys to a regular room with two beds, where we could barely step past each other and over our belongings. Then to access the executive lounge, we had to take the elevator to the ground floor, walk round the corner and take a lift to the 23rd floor of the Executive Tower for the complimentary breakfast. After one night and day of this, we realised that this wasn't sustainable for 9 more nights, so we asked at reception if we could change our room. They claimed that we had been told (which we hadn't) on check-in that because they were overbooked for two days during our ten day stay, we couldn't have an Execitive Room. But if we rushed back to our first room, and moved within the space of an hour, they would give us a room in the 23rd floor. So we packed up our many cases (for a four week try to the U.S.) and struggled back to the lift. I had to sit for a rest at the sofa by the lift, and accidentally left a flight bag of my husband's with his money and passport in. Later on, Security phoned the new room and said they'd found the bag, and they very kindly delivered it to our room. The staff in the lounge clearing tables and so on, we're very friendly especially Ernest, who made very one's day in the morning. In the evening they had various ethnic foods available, Chinese one day, Mexican the next, then Indian and so on until they started again after 7 days. The bar, unlike some other Executive floor lounges in Hiltons around the world, charged the usual bar prices for drinks. So when we did decide to buy a drink, we thought we would go down to the main bar which was more atmospheric. The one night we did, there was a woman on the mezzanine level playing the piano and singing. The rest of the time we had tea or coffee in the evenings. There were also plates of tiny brownies in the lounge area, very rich and delicious. The hotel was where the Brownie was invented. Things got a bit out of hand the final weekend, which turned out to be Columbus Day weekend, with a public holiday in the Monday. So the breakfast room was packed with families on holiday, and it was made worse by people from the Chicago Marathon on the Sunday. Families tended to spread out and occupy areas as their relatives came and went from their rooms, so it was hard to find a table. On the Sunday morning I went down to the health club and went in the jacuzzi, because the pool was full of children jumping in and splashing. It was very nice, until women who had run the marathon came in and jumped into the jacuzzi in their clothes, with the numbers still on their backs, and then got out their smart phones and started ringing all their friends. So I left.
The hotel is very central, there is a ticket booth for the hop on hop off bus just outside one of the entrances, and it's a couple of blocks from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. We went on a walking tour and a bus tour with the CAF. Starbucks on the ground floor is good, we took lattes up to our room. The room, once we got the one we booked, was comfortable, with bathrobes and a fairly decent sized bathroom for a historic city centre hotel. As well as a minibar, which we ignored, there was an empty fridge in the room, and we could ask for bottles of water in the lounge at the bar, and keep them in the fridge. Very nice touch!