Great location in the heart of downtown Chicago's The Loop
Youthful vibe with trendy lobby decor and Beaux-Arts details
Walking distance to a slew of major Chicago sights
Modern rooms with generously stocked minibars and Bliss toiletries
Pillow-top beds with Egyptian cotton sheets and goose-down duvets
Suites add extra space and style with bright, velvety seating
Trendy restaurant and bar/lounge, sometimes featuring live entertainment
Fitness center with modern cardio equipment, free weights, and more
Meeting space plus business center with Mac computers
24-hour room service and "whenever/wherever" concierge service
Pet-friendly with a variety of dog-friendly services (extra fee)
Guest room decor isn't as stylish as public spaces
Entry-level rooms are small and simple
Units lack some standard amenities like coffeemakers
In-room Wi-Fi may cost an extra daily fee
No on-site spa
Like other hotel's in Starwood's boutique-inspired luxury brand, commons spaces in W Chicago - City Center impress with a whimsical blend of Beaux-Arts architecture and trendy, modern details. The hotel has an on-site restaurant, a lively bar and lounge, a host of meeting and event rooms, a business center, and a modern gym. Its 369 guest rooms and suites can feel comparatively small and bland, especially the entry-level option, though they have nice amenities like 42-inch flat-screen TVs and minibars (but no coffeemakers), not to mention the W brand's signature comfy beds. Expect some hefty extra fees for things like parking, pet stays, breakfast, and even in-room Wi-Fi. The location in The Loop is exceptional. The JW Marriott Chicago is a nearby alternative, featuring more straightforward decor but larger rooms and an on-site pool and spa.
Upscale hotel with trendy common areas and grand Beaux-Arts accents
W Chicago - City Center occupies a 22-story high-rise that dates back to 1928. The hotel features Beaux-Arts architectural details and a funky blend of neoclassical and modern design styles. Elegant marble columns and gold vaulted ceilings offer a grand look that pairs well with details like neon-lit reception desks and a dark floral motif. In the lobby, massive lamps loom over button-tufted, faux white leather bench seats that twist through the impressive, two-story lobby. W hotels are known for their hip, boutique vibe, attracting younger leisure travelers and professional seeking a modern, cosmopolitan experience. But keep in mind that beneath the trendy trappings, this is still a fairly big outpost of the Starwood mega-chain, and rooms tend to feel more standard.
Convenient downtown location in The Loop, Chicago's business district
W Chicago is situated in The Loop, the city's main business district, which is home to corporate offices, the Theater District, major cultural institutions, historic buildings, and parks. Restaurants, bars, shops (including the Magnificent Mile commercial district) are all in walking distance, as are many of Chicago's most famous sights: Willis Tower (four-minute walk), the Civic Opera House (eight-minute walk), The Art Institute of Chicago (nine-minute walk), the Chicago Symphony Center (10-minute walk), Millennium Park and Grant Park (15-minute walks). There's also plenty of public transit within a five-minute walk, including a stop on the blue line, which can take guests to Chicago O'Hare International Airport in about 50 minutes.
Streamlined, compact rooms with minibars, 42-inch flatscreen TVs, and comfy beds
Guest rooms are streamlined (or simple, depending on how you look at it) and modern, with a white-and-cream color palette, dark wall-to-wall carpeting, white pleather accents, and platform beds. Trendy details, like tripod lamps or lightbox wall art, add flair. While rooms are compact, ranging from the entry-level "Cozy" rooms at 200 square feet to spaces that are 400 square feet, they're smartly laid out. Frosted glass desks become a central station above which sits inset shelving and wall-mounted TVs. Like the rooms, bathrooms tend to be compact, but they do feature shower/tub combos. Suites, which top out at a spacious 1,600 square feet, are more stylish, with bright pops of color and velvety upholstery, plus other upgrades like roomy, mosaic-tiled showers.
All units come with generously stocked minibars, wine glasses, and free bottled water, but there's no in-room coffeemakers. In addition, rooms have safes, iPod docks, hairdryers, irons and ironing boards, and high-end Bliss toiletries. Comfy beds — a trademark W feature — have 350-thread-count Egyptian-cotton sheets, pillow-top mattresses, and goose-down duvets. Rooms also have 42-inch flat-screen TVs with in-room movie options, but Wi-Fi costs a pricey per-night fee unless guests have an SPG rewards membership or book through the hotel's website. Views aren't a given — some rooms overlook buildings across the street or a bland courtyard.
Whimsical restaurant, bar, and lounge plus modern gym, but some pricey extra fees
W Chicago's best extra property feature is its on-site restaurant, aptly named IPO (Initial Public Offering), a nod to the hotel's location in Chicago's financial district. The restaurant serves up so-called New Urban cuisine with a whimsical and intriguing bevy of dishes. During our 2017 visit, there was lobster Benedict, breakfast mac & cheese, and a variety of organic quinoa bowls, though the menu changes seasonally. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunches are offered, though breakfast costs extra. The Living Room, meanwhile, is a bar and lounge serving cocktails and light dishes, and it sometimes features live entertainment. It opens late-morning, though it's most popular with the nine-to-five crowd. The hotel also offers 24-hour room service.
As at most W hotels, this property has a FIT gym, which is well-equipped with modern cardio and weightlifting equipment, including ellipticals and treadmills with individual screens, exercise balls, a boxing area, and a full rack of dumbbells. There's no on-site pool or spa, but in-room massages can be arranged. A dedicated business center has three desktop Mac computers and an office printer, and the hotel has 12 rooms for meetings and events totaling 14,000 square feet of space, all renovated in 2014.
The front desk is open 24-hours and staff offer "whenever/wherever" concierge service — meaning they'll get guests anything, any time (at a cost, of course). Self- and valet-parking are both pricey. Guests also complain about daily in-room Wi-Fi rates, though SPG members or those who book through the hotel's website can score it for free.
While the hotel isn't particularly geared to kids, it offers kid-friendly amenities like cribs, highchairs, and playpens. It is, though, tailored to pets, and cats and dogs up to 40 pounds are accepted for an extra fee (plus a non-refundable cleaning fee — so pet stays add up). Pets get toys, beds, treats, and food and water bowls, and the hotel can arrange dog sitting, dog walking, and more.
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