The Gwen Chicago : A terrace in the heart of the city !

A business trip today brings me to my favorite city, Chicago, for 3 great weeks, and several SPG hotels of course!
We start with the first one, the latest at Starwood in Chicago, namely The Gwen, which is part of theLuxury Collection.
This hotel has a bit of history. Previously part of the Hilton family, under the Conrad brand with its very upscale positioning, this hotel was, ironically, under the Le Meridien brand before the brand was bought by Starwood.

Booking

I made this reservation on the SPG website as usual, using my company’s corporate code.
Excellent rate, almost 50% off the best public rate available.
And as usual with Starwood, the booking process is extremely simple, especially for SPG members.

Arrival

I drove from Chicago O’Hare airport to the hotel. The signage is not great, but Mister Waze helped me a lot.
Please note that valet parking is very expensive: $69 per night, including tax. It is true that you can get your car back several times, but still…
Once I dropped my car off, I had to take an elevator from the street to get to the reception of the hotel.
The reception was rather cold. I would describe the style as New York: rather efficient, but with no desire to do his job and no smile. The job is done, of course, but the most important thing is not stated: the upgrade. And especially for a 6 categories upgrade…

Room

The room, or rather the suite, was huge: over 90m2 and 2 living rooms, plus the bathroom and the entrance.
Beware, however: the hotel has undertaken a major renovation program: the rooms, although clean, will undergo a necessary renovation to bring the hotel up to the luxurious design standards that we can expect today.

Here’s the entrance:
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The bathroom is very spacious and does not require much renovation:
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The living room, and its magnificent view:alon, et sa vue magnifique :
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The room:
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And finally, the superb induvidual terrace with a direct view on Michigan Avenue, the most beautiful avenue in the city!
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Overall, a very pleasant room, but which would deserve a good renovation to bring it up to the design standards of the luxury hotel industry.
To finish, a short virtual tour of the suite:

Lobby and common areas

The lobby has just completed its transformation. I did not have the opportunity to take pictures, but here is the result from their website:
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The set is still being finished, but remains very promising.

I did not have the opportunity to visit the other facilities of the hotel.

Departure

The departure formalities were simple and without surprise. Efficient, but with no smile and no sense of customer service. Too many clients traveling for business, no doubt.

Conclusion

An excellent stay: the hotel is ideally located, the upgrade extraordinary, so what more could you want? A few smiles, a little more desire to serve customers. A sign of dysfunctional staff management, no doubt.

Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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