Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago
Chicago, IL | Michigan Ave and Delaware Pl. | Hotel Review | February 2017|
I’ve made it one of my primary travel-related goals in 2017 to achieve Starwood Platinum status. Achieving Starwood Platinum status shouldn’t be too difficult as it requires just 25 stays over the course of 365 days. However, I don’t want a repeat of 2016 in which I was two stays away from Platinum status on December 31st. So, to avoid a similar situation, I’ve decided to find more excuses to stay in hotels.
After I had received my acceptance letter to Loyola University in Chicago, IL, I used that letter as the perfect excuse to take a day trip up to Chicago. I would tour the business school and the main campus. I didn’t want to spend a lot on transportation, nor did I want to walk a great deal, so I searched for a hotel that was inexpensive and close to the business school. The Westin Michigan Avenue was less than a mile away from the business school and an “L” train station. With a standard room going for $120 with taxes and fees, it was a no-brainer.
My stay was for a single night. However, I was very satisfied with my stay. My room had been recently renovated, it was clean, the location was phenomenal, and the entire hotel staff was \ the best I’ve had in quite some time.
The issues I experienced at the Westin Michigan Avenue all stem from my attitude at check-in. The hotel staff was just following protocol and combined with some misunderstandings, an issue arose, which I will get to further in this review. First off, I arrived at the airport a few minutes before nine in the morning. Regular check-in time is 4:00 PM at this hotel so I was lucky the front desk staff just didn’t laugh in my face. However, I was kindly informed that my room wasn’t ready but that she’d take a look at some other rooms for me.
Though I had already been upgraded from a traditional to a deluxe room, I offered to pay a few extra bucks to get into an even nicer room. She read the rooms I could pick from; “Lakeview 2 Beds, Lakeview 1 King, Traditional 1 King, Deluxe 1 King, Club Level 2 Beds, Club Level 1 King.” I inquired about a club level room with two beds. She informed me that it would be $30 extra to upgrade to a club level room. I thought to myself, “Go for it, free breakfast, free snacks, a great view, go ahead and splurge.” So, I decided to pay an extra $30 for a club level room with two beds. Note that complimentary upgrades to club level rooms are only available to SPG Platinum guests, I’m only SPG Gold. However, based on the front desk staff’s choice of words, I thought that $30 would give me access to the Westin Executive Club. I was wrong. It wasn’t until I tried to grab some breakfast at the club that I learned that this $30 payment didn’t entitle me to club access. I’ll get to that later.
I was handed two keys and instructed to what set of elevators to take to get to my room. My room was on the 14th floor, and after a super quick elevator ride, I was on my floor, and I made a mad dash to my room.
Club Level with 2 King Beds, Westin Michigan Avenue
I had originally booked a traditional room with two beds for $102 plus taxes. I had managed to upgrade two room tiers; traditional to deluxe, deluxe to club level. That said, I knew a club level room probably just meant a little extra space along with access to the Westin Executive Club. Since it was just a Westin, I wasn’t expecting much.
I was pleasantly surprised when I made my way into the room and found a clean, modern, and recently renovated room overlooking the Hancock Tower and Michigan Avenue.
Aside from recent renovations and a fantastic view, the room was very standard. It was a tad larger than the average hotel room but, there wasn’t anything unique or extraordinary about it.
The two king beds were phenomenal. I love the Westin Heavenly bedding. The mattress pad was thick and soft, the sheets were comfortable, and overall the bed was just fantastic. Westin’s bedding is probably the best bedding in any hotel. Needless to say, I slept ten hours uninterrupted.
Outlets were available on both sides of the bed and found throughout the room. Across from the bed was a huge TV. I mean, this sucker was gigantic. I thought the standard hotel TV was maybe 42” max, but after two recent stays (The Liberty Boston, Westin Michigan Avenue) I guess I’m wrong. The TV in my room was over 50”, however, lacked Internet TV capabilities.
Adjacent to the TV was a nicely sized desk with some outlets. Next to the desk, in front of the windows, was an ottoman that served as storage for my luggage during my stay. The view was great. If the windows could open, I could easily throw a rock and hit the Hancock Tower from my room. In addition to the Hancock Tower, I could also see a nice swath of Michigan Avenue.
The bathroom was about as average as a hotel bathroom could get. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t bad, it was just very traditional. I’m a fan of new ways of designing hotel rooms, so I avoid Westin Hotels for Aloft Hotels or W Hotels. The bathroom was spotless. Westin Heavenly amenities were provided as well as a nice amount of towels. Other than that, there’s not much to say. Clean, well stocked, and sufficient—that was the bathroom.
The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago Amenities
This particularly SPG property is a business-traveler-oriented hotel. That means the hotel didn’t have any unique and luxurious amenities but rather the standard fitness center and FedEx Office in the basement.
Westin Fitness Center
The Westin brand has become synonymous with health and wellness, so SPG always ensures that its Westin Hotels always feature the most up to date fitness gear. The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago was no exception. Though I didn’t use the fitness center, I ducked in for a quick visit.
The Westin Fitness Center featured the latest LifeFitness aerobic machines, some yoga gear, and even a few weights. I could tell that the fitness center was relatively new. Additionally, it also overlooks the Hancock Tower so, that’s a plus.
Down the hall from the fitness center is a tiny spa that remained closed during my stay. The treatments are overpriced, and the spa didn’t look like much.
Westin Executive Club
The Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago boasts a pretty nice club lounge. The club lounge is only available to guests who purchase a club level room. If you do have access to the Executive Club, you’ll have access to the following amenities; free continental breakfast, free midday snacks, free evening appetizers, a phenomenal view of Michigan Avenue, and free non-alcoholic beverages.
The breakfast was adequate while I was pleasantly surprised by the midday and evening spread of food. As I mentioned above, the view is worth the upgrade alone. During my stay, the club would often approach capacity during peak hours which is typically the norm with hotel clubs and lounges.
The Club Room Dilemma
I provided background to what I’m referring to as the club room dilemma, above. Essentially, I paid $30 to check into an upgraded room which just so happens to be called a “Club Level Room.” I found out that just because the room is a “Club Level Room” doesn’t mean I get Westin Executive Club access. Since the Club Level rooms and Deluxe rooms are identical, I wasn’t sure what I was paying $30 extra for so I decided to contact the front desk and SPG assist.
Within minutes both the front desk team and SPG Assist resolved the issue. The hotel acknowledged their error in offering the room as a “Club Level room” and apologized for making me pay $30 to check-in early. In the end, the $30 fee was waived. SPG Assist also apologized. Both parties then explained what elites have access to the hotel clubs. Later that day, the hotel delivered me an apology letter and two keys to the Westin Executive Club. Additionally, the hotel delivered macaroons to my room during the evening.
I was in awe at how well the hotel staff handled the misunderstanding, and I almost felt guilty for complaining about what boils down to a simple complimentary continental breakfast. However, the way in which both SPG Assist and the hotel staff handled this reminded me why I’m so loyal to SPG hotels.
The Westin Michigan Avenue is a solid hotel at a great nightly rate. It’s certainly not the W nor is it some hip, up and coming boutique hotel. It’s a hotel for the business traveler or the family. The location can’t get any more ideal, and the entire hotel staff is over-the-top professional and welcoming. For $120 with taxes for a night, I came away from my stay with a smile on my face, knowing I booked the right hotel for this kind of trip. I highly recommend the Westin Michigan Avenue especially if you can score a nightly rate of $102 like I did.
Have you stayed at the Westin Michigan Avenue? What did you think of the property?