The St. Regis, Chicago: Very good hard product, service to be perfected

After a short flight from Boston, we stayed for a few days at brand-new St. Regis Chicago, opened early 2023 in the country’s second-largest city and capital of the American Midwest. And a city that is undeniably close to my heart.

Booking

I booked this hotel about 2 months before our stay.

For this long weekend in Chicago, I hesitated for a long time between the Ritz-Carlton, which I had already visited and whose review you can find here, and the brand-new St. Regiswhich opened in March this year.

My hesitation stemmed mainly from the rather mixed reviews available on the Internet, notably on the Flyertalk forum, indicating perfectible service and borderline treatment of loyal Marriott Bonvoy customers, even if some of the problems have since been a priori resolved.

I made two reservations initially, and decided when the Suite Night Award cleared at the St. Regis. At the same time, I had booked an Executive Suite at the Ritz-Carlton.

The rate at the St. Regis was not cheap at all, at around $515 a night excluding taxes for a standard room.

5 days before our arrival, I received confirmation of the SNA’s application for an upgrade to a Caroline Astor Suite, with a superb view of the river.

I then cancelled my reservation at the Ritz-Carlton and confirmed my stay at the St. Regis.

Arrival

After a short, uneventful flight from Boston to Chicago, we arrive in the early afternoon at the St. Regis, located on Upper Wacker Drive. Note that getting to the hotel can be a bit tricky with ride-sharing apps like Uber, as Wacker Drive is on 2 or even 3 levels and GPS gets easily lost. You often have to use the app’s chat function to tell drivers they need to be on the Upper part of the street, otherwise pick-up can be complicated.

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We were taken care of immediately by a receptionist who proceeded with the arrival formalities.

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Our Caroline Astor Suite was confirmed and ready when we arrived at around 1 p.m., and formalities completed without a hitch.

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A welcome glass of champagne was offered, and one of the valets accompanied us to our suite.

During check-in, I requested the application of the Platinum breakfast benefit, which is a $60 credit on the hotel restaurant bill each morning.

Suite

Our suite 914 was located on the 9th and top floor of the hotel.

On this floor you will find the most prestigious suites, including the Caroline Astor Suites, to which we were upgraded, as well as the Presidential Suite, which adjoins ours.

It’s worth noting that we met absolutely no one but the cleaning staff on our floor, so I think the floor had just opened and we were its only guests for our entire stay.

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The entrance to the suite leaded into the huge living room.

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To the right was the first bathroom with toilet and sink. Ideal for entertaining guests.

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Opposite, the immense living room with its floor-to-ceiling windows, offering an absolutely splendid view of the Chicago skyline, for me the most beautiful in the world.

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To the right was a small desk that doubled as a dining table.

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At the far end, a large sofa and coffee table, along with a lamp, faced a television cabinet.

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To the left of this TV cabinet was a minibar equipped with a Nespresso machine, which I made excellent use of during our stay.

Clearly lacking in furnishings, this was furniture for a smaller suite, and all this gave an impression of lack of finish.

Later, a welcome gift was laid out on the desk, including a bottle of sparkling wine and some chocolates. This amenity was repeated once more in the middle of our stay, with an excellent assortment of macaroons and fruit jellies placed on the coffee table.

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The sleeping area was located to the left of the entrance.

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A huge closet was available, allowing one to settle in comfortably for a stay of a few days to a week.

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To the right was the bathroom, featuring two basins, a round bathtub, a large shower and a separate toilet.

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Opposite, you could find the proper bedroom, which is actually quite small, with a king-size bedfacing a wall-mounted TV, and an armchair by the floor-to-ceiling window, offering a magnificent view of the skyline and lake..

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Finally, you’ll find a video tour:

Hotel facilities

As you’d expect from a hotel of this category, which happens to be one of the most expensive in the city, the hotel boasted a host of facilities, all located on the 10th floor of the property.

Gym

The hotel boasted a huge fitness room on the 10th floor, with a magnificent view of the river and lake. The gym was huge, with numerous equipement, repeated several times, and classes offered free of charge to hotel and residence guests.

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Pool

Like many of the city’s properties, the hotel had an indoor pool, also located on the 10th floor.

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It’s was of a nice size, suitable for both relaxing and doing laps, and was never too busy during our stay, even on the rainy days we had.

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There were two changing rooms for men and women, each with a sauna and steam room.

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Spa

Like all luxury properties, the hotel had a spa, also located on the 10th floor. To celebrate our engagement anniversary, I had booked a treatment for two on one of the mornings of our stay.

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Fortunately, it was one of the rainy days, so we made the most of our treatment. I had booked a 90-minute treatment for the modest sum of $690 for two people, excluding taxes and tips of course. So I was expecting something of the highest quality.

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And I must say I was not disappointed, it’s probably one of the best massages I’ve ever had! I even fell asleep during it.

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It’s worth noting that the spa had separate changing rooms from the pool, so it was very quiet, and also equipped with a hammam and a sauna each.

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The staff was absolutely adorable, whether at reception, in the changing rooms or during the treatments. We’ll definitely be back!

Catering

At the time of our visit, five months after opening, only one of the hotel’s food outlets was open: Miru, the hotel’s gourmet Japanese restaurant on the 11th floor.

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This was where the hotel bar was located, and where breakfast, lunch and dinner were served. We tested each of these meal times during our stay.

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Miru – Breakfast

Every morning of our stay, we had breakfast at Miru, the only outlet that was open in the hotel.

The welcome was consistently rather cold, haughty, not at all what you’d expect from a St. Regis where hotel guests should feel pampered.

We were seated at a table and a waiter, generally much warmer, came to hand out the menu and take our orders.

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Note that there is no buffet available, and that everything is ordered à la carte.

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The $60 Platinum benefit won’t go amiss, and each morning we managed to get by for around $80, so the $60 only covered part of the bill

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The menu is nonetheless extraordinary, blending revisited breakfast classics with Japanese options.

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We’ll be trying several things, including the Japanese breakfast on the first morning, which is absolutely succulent There’s nothing to say about both the service and the quality of the food, everything was exceptional.

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Miru – Lunch

Just after our treatment at the hotel spa, we made the impromptu decision to have lunch at Miru on the run.

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The lunch menu is fairly short, but nevertheless offers Japanese classics: sushi, sashimi and Japanese comfort food based on stir-fried rice or soups.

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My wife will have the crispy pork stir-fried rice, which will be a real treat, and I’ll have some nigiri made with otoro, the Japanese fatty tuna.

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We’ll finish off with a light and succulent mango dessert.

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Once again, there’s nothing to say about both the gastronomic quality and the service, which was perfect and prompt.

We got away with just over $100 for two, which in this kind of establishment is not to be sniffed at.

Miru – Dinner

On the last evening of our stay, I invited Bertrand to join us at the St. Regis for dinner at the excellent Miru, which we had tried for both breakfast and lunch.

I had therefore made a reservation for 3 people with the butler through the Marriott Bonvoy app.

We arrived at 8pm at the restaurant reception, but had to wait about fifteen minutes before our table was ready. A bad start.

We were then placed at a table, and there the catastrophe began. The disaster wasn’t in the food at all: everything was excellent as usual, and the gastronomic quality was beyond reproach.

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On the other hand, the service was a disaster… The whole thing was totally disjointed, part of our order was forgotten, then they tried to take plates away while we were still chewing our food, then when it came time for the bill, we were left to our own for about thirty minutes before they came to bring it to us and split the bill in two. What a disgrace!

I think it’s the first time in 15 years of traveling in the United States that I’ve left a zero tip. Yes, zero!

Service

I must confess that while the hard product is magnificent, the location perfect, and the reception and valet staff top-notch, I must deplore the absence of Butler service.

When we arrived, the Butler didn’t introduce himself, bring us a welcome drink or explain the hotel’s facilities and availability. In fact, on the last evening of our stay, as I asked for a cup of tea, as is possible in St. Regis hotels the world over, a waitress arrived with a bill of $27 for mint tea. In addition to the absolutely mind-boggling price, she told me that Butler’s service stops at 10pm and that as it was 10:10pm I had to pay.

I refuse to signed the bill, and then checked: I made this request at 9.44pm!

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I’ll pass over the restaurant’s deplorable service, which Bertrand will detail in a forthcoming article, but this is absolutely unworthy of an establishment of this type, I couldn’t care less that the restaurant is run by an outside company (Lettuce Entertain You), it’s not the problem of the hotel’s guests who should be absolutely privileged. They shouldn’t have to pay the price for outside management, unfriendly hostesses and rushed service.

Departure

Check-out formalities were simplicity itself, although I did have to ask for the breakfast credit to be applied, which had not been done when I received the bill the night before check-out, which was done in a matter of seconds.

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I received the bill by e-mail within minutes of leaving the hotel.

Bottom line

A well-balanced stay, with a superb hard product. However, we deplored the subpar service level, which is unacceptable in a property of this category.

Itinerary

As a reminder, here is the itinerary followed:

#TypePost
1DiaryPlanning summer vacation 2023 in the USA
2HotelFairfield Inn by Marriott, North Conway (New-Hampshire)
3HotelAC Hotel by Marriott, Portland (Maine)
4FlightParis-Copenhaguen – SAS – SAS plus
5LoungeSAS Gold Lounge Copenhagen
6FlightCopenhagen-Gothenburg – SAS – SAS Plus
7HotelAvalon Hotel – Gothenburg
8RestaurantCarbon, Gothenburg
9LoungeSAS Lounge – Gothenburg
10FlightGothenburg-Copenhagen – SAS – SAS plus
11LoungeAmerican Airlines Admirals Club lounge, Boston Logan
12FlightBoston – Chicago O’Hare – American Airlines – Domestic First
13LoungeEventyr lounge, Copenhagen
14FlightCopenhagen-Chicago – SAS (operated par Hifly) – Business Class
15HotelThe St. Regis, Chicago
16HotelW Chicago Lakeshore
17RestaurantSignature Room at the John Hancock Center, Chicago
18RestaurantThe Purple Pig, Chicago
19RestaurantObelix, Chicago
20RestaurantCabra, Chicago
21RestaurantMiru, Chicago
22DiaryVisiting Chicago
23LoungeAmerican Airlines Flagship Lounge, Chicago O’Hare
24FlightChicago O’Hare – Indianapolis – American Airlines Domestic First
25FlightIndianapolis – Boston – American Airlines Domestic First
26LoungeSAS Lounge – Chicago O’Hare
27FlightChicago O’Hare-Stockholm – SAS – Business Class
28LoungeSAS Gold Lounge, Stockholm
29FlightStockholm-Gothenburg – SAS – SAS Plus
30HotelScandic Rubinen – Gothenburg
31RestaurantProject, Gothenburg
32FlightGothenburg-Copenhagen – SAS – SAS Plus
33FlightCopenhagen-Paris – SAS (Operated by Jet Time) – SAS Plus
34DiaryDebriefing summer vacations in the USA
Today’s itinerary
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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