Intercontinental Chicago: Disappointing

For this last night in Windy City, I chose to stay in a hotel I already know: the Intercontinental! Yes, this is the very first hotel I stayed in here, in 2008!

As a reminder, here is the itinerary followed:

#TypeReview
1DiaryBack to school trips to Paris and the United States
2LoungeClub Aspire Lounge, London Heathrow T3
3FlightAir France Business, London Heathrow – Paris Charles-de-Gaulle
4HotelIntercontinental Paris Champs-Elysées
5LoungeAir France Business Lounge, Paris Charles-de-Gaulle 2E-K
6FlightAir France Business, Paris Charles-de-Gaulle – London Heathrow
7LoungeBritish Airways Concorde Room, London Heathrow T5
8FlightBritish Airways First, London Heathrow – Chicago O’Hare, Airbus A380-800
9HotelKimpton Grey Chicago
10HotelKimpton Monaco Chicago
11HotelIntercontinental Chicago
12LoungeAmerican Airlines Flagship Lounge, Chicago O’Hare T3
13FlightAmerican Airlines Domestic First, Chicago O’Hare – Charlotte, Boeing 737-800
14LoungeAmerican Airlines Admirals Club, Charlotte Concourse C
15FlightAmerican Airlines Domestic First, Charlotte – New-York La Guardia, Boeing 737-800
16HotelKimpton Muse, New-York
17HotelIntercontinental New-York Times Square
18LoungeBritish Airways Concorde Room, New-York JFK T7
19FlightBritish Airways First Suite, New-York JFK – London Heathrow, Boeing 777-300ER
Today’s itinerary

Booking

I booked this property almost 3 weeks before my arrival. Among the 3 hotels of this stay, it is certainly the reservation which will cost me the most… Until the day before my arrival, when I notes that the price has dropped drastically from $60 per night ! As I have a generous refund policy, I proceed to the modification without delay and confirm the rate at $230 excluding taxes.

Arrival

Until the day before I arrived, no upgrades had appeared in the application. But a few hours before my check-in, I noticed an upgrade to a Premium room. Pretty good.

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I leave the Kimpton at 1pm and arrive at the Intercontinental after a short walk from the Kimpton Monaco.

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When I arrived, a line formed for check-in/out. The Ambassador counter is not staffed.

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After about ten minutes of waiting, my check-in is done. I was given an upgrade to a Junior Suite, different from the one I had noticed. The downside is that the suite is located on the 6th floor, which is quite low for Chicago in a building that has 25 floors, and even more for the Historic Tower.

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Suite

My suite was located on the 6th floor of the property in the newest tower.

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As soon as I enter, I notice that this is an “accessible” room because of the huge spaces that are not used for anything.

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To the right of the entrance is the bathroom, which could very well be the bathroom of a SpringHill Suites on the edge of the Interstate, so much so that it has remained in its original state. The shower pressure as well as the temperature setting will be catastrophic.

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Opposite the entrance is the lounge area, partially separated from the night area by a partition. The office is totally occupied by a huge television set that I wouldn’t know what to do with. The sofa is well worn. On the window, two huge bird droppings hide… The non-view, or rather the view on the garbage.

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On the night side, not much better, with a tired chaise longue and furniture in the same state. The bed will nevertheless be comfortable.

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The whole thing is very, very tired. I appreciate having a suite but I much prefer a nice view and a renovated room. This is a lose-lose situation.

To finish, a video tour:

Hotel facilities

The hotel is equipped with a fitness room and an indoor pool.

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Gym

The fitness room is located on the 12th floor of the property in the historic tower. From the newer tower, there is an interconnection so you don’t have to go back down to the lobby.

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Due to the architecture of the building, the equipment is divided into 3 rooms joined by a staircase.

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I will not be using the room this time.

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Pool

The pool is located on the 12th floor of the property too. It is very pleasant, I will use it for a good half hour.

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At the time of my visit, an animation with the projection of Shrek with popcorn and lemonade was proposed by the pool.

Food options

The property has a wine bar near the lobby and a Michael Jordan steakhouse.

Unfortunately, due to my very early departure, I could not test the breakfast.

Michael Jordan Steakhouse – Dinner Service

Leaving early the next morning, I decided to have dinner at the hotel. I proceeded to book the table in the afternoon via Opentable without a hitch.

I arrive at the restaurant at the scheduled time and am led to my table by the hostess.

The service is a little slow but nothing catastrophic. It’s just that you notice it more when you’re alone.

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The manager will come and take my drink order. I will use the welcome coupon to order a cocktail, the Chicago Fire, made with mescal and chilies. Interesting.

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The menu is quite simple, the prices astronomical.

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When it comes to steak, I’ll order a rare filet mignon with mashed potatoes and sautéed mushrooms.

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The whole thing was excellent I must say, and I do not regret the price paid.

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Service

The service was very basic, not at all what you would expect from an Intercontinental. Very disappointing.

Departure

The formalities of departure will be complicated, the charges not having been posted by the hotel at the time of my departure at 5 am. I will have to ask for my invoice by e-mail, really annoying.

Bottom line

A stay really not up to par. I won’t return.

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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