I previously wrote about my visit to the Hyatt Place Chicago River North, but I only stayed there one night and spent the next two at the Hyatt Regency near the river. Why? Megan’s an architect and was flying in on the second day to do some sightseeing. I used an expiring Diamond suite upgrade to make sure we got a great view of the buildings across the river, including the Wrigley Building.
Also, there was a party held here for Star MegaDO 4. It was pretty excellent, so I wanted to see how the hotel rated as an actual guest.
This is definitely a convention property, with lots of meeting spaces across two buildings and a huge main entrance. It was recently renovated and looks great, especially in the lobby (check out before and after photos on Hotel Chatter). But not all projects were complete when I was there since the Grand Club was in a temporary space. (Keep in mind this was in February. I have a bit of a backlog when it comes to reviews.)
I had walked from the Hyatt Place and was greeted by a bellman who happily stored by bag before my lunch appointment. When I returned that afternoon, check-in was smooth and my suite was waiting for me with exactly the view I had requested. The duty manager even came around to greet me, which is always a nice touch.
Snow is a bit of a novelty out West, so I was pretty excited to see it everywhere, including icebergs in the river. For three nights, it’s not hard to put up with. I tweeted a picture and whoever they have on social media was kind enough to send up a tray of sweets with a nice letter asking for a review on TripAdvisor. Fair enough, but I like writing reviews on my own website more. 😉
Lest you think I can be bribed with candy, the suite didn’t knock my socks off. I loved the view and the welcome I received at check-in. It’s great that this property has someone paying attention to what’s said online. But not all furnishings were to my taste. I generally avoid warm tones, and the white chair in the corner had a plastic-like upholstery. My opinion is either get real leather or find a nicer fabric.
But looking past color choices, I thought the layout was fine for what I would technically call a junior suite — separate living and sleeping areas without a dividing wall. Sometimes these are awkward corners that can’t be used for anything else, but this one very generously sized.
The tiled foyer and its closet gave us a place to leave our bags and jackets when we came in from the cold. The living area with its multiple couches and chairs was enough to have some family or friends over to chat. Megan and I just watched a couple movies on Netflix while enjoying the snow fall outside our window.
If anything I would have preferred they do more with the bathroom. There were double sinks, which I consider mandatory for a suite, as well as a larger shower. But why bother with the second bathroom in the foyer? That hardly seems necessary for a junior suite if there’s already no separation between areas for the guest and visitors. Just build it out and create a separate tub and shower. (I had the same complaint about the Grand Hyatt San Francisco, but their suites actually do have separate living and bedrooms.)
We visited the lounge twice, for drinks the first evening and breakfast the first morning. Take this part of the review with a grain of salt because, as I said, it was a temporary location. The main issue was that the food wasn’t very interesting. Drinks were self-service, which is good, and the snacks consisted of a lot of cured meats, cheese, and roasted vegetables. I guess it’s not bad if you like that stuff (who can complain about self-serve liquor?) but I’ve always been a hot food kind of guy.
The breakfast spread was also pretty basic with pastries, sliced fruit, and smoked salmon. I was tempted to try the lobby restaurant, but we opted instead to go to Beatrix for Sunday brunch on someone’s recommendation.
What I appreciated about the lounge was that it was amply sized and included multiple rooms with chairs, couches, and tables so you could escape for a bit of quiet and get some work done if you wanted. I have been to permanent lounges before that were smaller and had no windows (though fortunately not at a Hyatt). Even if the food didn’t have us coming back, someone put effort into designing the temporary space.
The lounge experience provides a good synopsis for my general impression of this property. It’s large, which can make it a hassle to navigate. It’s not new, though the renovation helps. The rate was pretty affordable and appropriate given a few drawbacks, so I think we got a good value.
Where this property stands out is its customer service. There were people at the entrance, at check-in, online, and at the lounge to assist me and greet me whenever I made an appearance. That’s not always the case at some hotels. This is clearly a property that has experience serving large numbers of guests with skill, and that counts more in my book than fancy décor or free food.