Submitted on 18-10-2016
My trip to Chicago began at another hotel north of Chicago, nowhere near the Blackstone. Two hours after I checked in, around midnight, I discovered a significant lack of cleanliness throughout the room, to the point where I packed my bags and left. At this hour I did not want to search for other hotels, so I called the Blackstone hoping they would have availability. (Note: I have stayed at the Blackstone before, but did not originally book it for this trip due to its distance from the event I w...
My trip to Chicago began at another hotel north of Chicago, nowhere near the Blackstone. Two hours after I checked in, around midnight, I discovered a significant lack of cleanliness throughout the room, to the point where I packed my bags and left. At this hour I did not want to search for other hotels, so I called the Blackstone hoping they would have availability. (Note: I have stayed at the Blackstone before, but did not originally book it for this trip due to its distance from the event I was attending).
Upon calling, I was connected to the front desk and spoke with Kat, a Front Desk Ambassador at the hotel. I explained what had happened, and she began by apologizing for the terrible experience at my first hotel, even though neither she nor the Blackstone were at all affiliated with it. That said, it was nice to get an apology from someone, considering my first hotel barely apologized. Kat told me there were a few rooms available, and gave a couple of different rates for the evening. Then, she found one more rate that was even less than the first few she quoted, and I genuinely felt as though she wanted me to have the best rate available. I am a fan of higher floors with views, and asked if there were any available. She said it did not appear so at that time, but she would look through their system and see what she could find. Throughout this call ‚?? and for the entirety of my stay ‚?? Kat did a wonderful job walking the line between personable and professional, while providing excellent customer service.
I arrived around 1:00 am, and at this point I wasn‚??t in the best mood since I hoped to be asleep and resting before a busy day. When I walked up to the desk, Kat greeted me with a smile and handshake, and had a chilled bottle of water waiting for me. To my surprise, she had found a room with a view of Lake Michigan, the last one available. She also took it upon herself to put in a request for an upgrade should one become available during my four-night stay (I have status with Marriott, and they own Renaissance Hotels/the Blackstone). This is a good place to mention that even though the Blackstone is owned by the largest hotel brand in the world, you would never know it. The historic lobby, personable staff and amazing restaurant (Mercat a la Planxa ‚?? one of the best in Chicago) feel nothing but local.
Once in my room, I was immediately reminded how spacious these rooms are. I hadn‚??t stayed at the Blackstone for at least a year, and in that time I took multiple trips to New York, where the hotel rooms are ridiculously small, even in higher-end hotels. For a standard hotel room (not a suite, etc.), this room was quite large. I am unsure of the specific square footage, but I would estimate 450 sq. ft. The bathrooms in almost every room are also very large and have awesome waterfall showers with great water pressure. Also, every single time I‚??ve stayed at the Blackstone I have been very impressed by the job done by housekeeping. The rooms, including the bathrooms, are absolutely spotless. Also, while the lobby and hotel as a whole are very historic, the rooms and bathrooms are updated how one would expect. The other fun element of this hotel is the variation on each floor. Almost every floor has a similar layout floor plan-wise, but there are many variations in the design and layout of space within the rooms. I spoke with a few of the front desk staff about this ‚?? Tekita, Diana and Shanoughta ‚?? and they did a great job educating me on the property. Not only did they know quite a lot about it, but they really seemed to enjoy (and take pride) in its historic nature. It didn‚??t come off as a building they visit for work, but actually a place they enjoy spending their days and nights.
Admittedly, I didn‚??t spend much time at the hotel during the day, because I was in Chicago for an event, but every time I returned in the late evening I stopped by the front desk and said hello to Kat. She worked the overnight shift throughout the entirety of my stay, and I always looked forward to her greeting when I returned.
On my last evening, I arrived back to a wonderful surprise. The front desk staff said a suite had become available and asked if I would like to upgrade. Who am I to say no? I went to move my belongings, and was lucky to have the help of James, a doorman at the hotel. He did an excellent job ‚?? professional yet personable, and I really enjoyed speaking with him.
When James opened the door to my new room ‚?? one of only four suites at the Blackstone ‚?? I was quite surprised. Before getting into the description of this space, I learned that Harry Truman, among many others, stayed in this very room when he was contemplating a VP bid alongside FDR in 1944 ‚?? just to give you an idea of the sheer magnitude and opulence of this space. I am unsure of the square footage, but I would approximate around 1600 sq. ft. The suite features a spacious foyer, across from which is a den with a desk, pullout couch and armoire with television. To the left is a very large living room with multiple chairs, another couch, fireplace (appeared to be merely decorative) and beautiful wood cabinets. Adjacent is a dining room table that seats eight people under a beautiful crystal chandelier. All of the furnishings were original with French influence. On the other side of the foyer is a half bath, to the right as one enters, and the bedroom. The bedroom in the suite is massive and includes a king bed, armoire with drawers and a television, two chairs and a spacious closet. The master bathroom, featuring double vanities, is also completely oversized (in such a great way). The history of this room was too much to fully appreciate in one night, but the entire space features original furnishings from the early 1900s. It was deemed a historic site, therefore almost all of the original furniture and finishes have been preserved but remain very authentic. Two other elements that I really enjoyed: The living space featured beautiful wood floors, with gorgeous area rugs in certain places, and gave the suite a homey feel; every single light throughout this space ‚?? from the fixtures above the sideboard in the dining room to the light in the shower ‚?? were on dimmers. I could completely control the lighting of this space. Also, the temperature was very pleasant. I typically like it cooler, and despite the size of the space I was able to maintain a great temperature.
The next morning, I woke up feeling completely refreshed. Sadly, I had to say goodbye to this wonderful suite and the fantastic staff. In closing, I want to note that I have stayed at the Four Seasons, Waldorf, Peninsula, Thompson, Talbot and many other high-end hotels in Chicago. The Blackstone is my favorite. After all of the above is said and done, it is also the best value. I love the Four Seasons, but it is very rarely affordable. The Blackstone, a four-star hotel in a great area of a major city, is almost always a great price. Can‚??t wait to visit again sometime soon!