W City Center, a Mediocre Experience

I just wrapped up a quick two-night stay in Chicago.  While in Chicago, I attended Loyal Weekend at Loyola University Chicago.  Next year, I begin my freshmen year at Loyola and I thought it would be a good idea to visit campus and attend a few informational sessions.

My parents didn’t want to make this quick trip anything extravagant.  Normally, I’d book the Virgin Hotel Chicago.  The Virgin Hotel Chicago is usually priced around $185 for a standard room with two beds, however, I decided to book an SPG property instead.  I’m already close to hitting Platinum status so I’ve decided to book SPG properties as much as possible.

The W Chicago City Center frequently pushed $250 for the cheapest room.  That’s without taxes and fees too.  When I went to SPG’s website, I never expected to find the W Chicago City Center priced under $200.  Before searching for hotels, I was planning on booking the Aloft Hotel Chicago Downtown.  However, the W Chicago City Center’s least expensive rate was roughly $189 with taxes and fees.  For two beds, the least expensive rate was $233 with taxes and fees.  Keep in mind that rate also included premium wi-fi and a complimentary upgrade.  Nowhere near the cheapest hotel in Chicago but it was still a fantastic rate for a W Hotel in the heart of Downtown Chicago.

Loyola University Chicago Lake Shore Campus

Loyola University Chicago Lake Shore Campus

Check-In at W Chicago City Center

The W Chicago City Center is located on Adams Street between La Salle Street and Wells Street.  The location is fantastic.  It’s close to public transportation, Michigan Avenue, the Willis Tower, Millennium Park, and the theater district.  You can also manage to snag great rates during off-peak weekends and some weekdays.

My family and I arrived at the W Chicago City Center around 9 AM.  Loyola Weekend began around 10 AM so we had to be at Loyola’s Lake Shore campus around 9:30 AM.  At the time, none of us thought we’d be able to check in at such an early time.  The day before at the Aloft Chicago O’Hare, my mom and I had to wait for two hours to check in.  We were all really stressed about not having a room as it meant we’d have to bring our chihuahua with us to Loyola’s campus.

My parents waited in the car as I went to check in.  The front desk agent who checked me in, Brandon, was super professional.  He and his manager found a room with two beds that was available.  The rate I booked included an upgrade to the next type of room.  I even offered to pay for an even nicer room if it meant being able to check in.  Miraculously, we were able to check into a Mega Room with two double beds around 9:15 AM.

We got our pooch comfortably settled into the room, brought our luggage up, and then made our way to Loyola University Chicago.

W City Center Chicago Mega Room with Two Double Beds

I had originally booked a Spectacular room with two beds.  At the time of booking, it appeared to be the only room and rate with two beds.  It turned out, however, that the Mega room also had two beds.  Since my rate included a complimentary upgrade, I was upgraded to a Mega room with two double beds.

According to the front desk rep, the Mega room with two beds is one of the largest standard rooms at the W City Center Chicago.  When the rep told me this, I expected to find a massive suite-like room.  This was not the case.  W Hotels are notorious for selling super small rooms at outrageous rates.  The Mega room with two double beds was large enough for a family of three.  My family and I were comfortable but the room wasn’t anything special.  Two beds, a bathroom, desk, and an oddly placed chair were part of the Mega room.

By far the best part of the room were the fantastic double beds.  The bed was unbelievably comfortable.  The pillows were generously sized and super soft.  The bedding was freshly laundered. I got ten hours on uninterrupted sleep.  The handy white noise machine provided by the W probably helped me get such a great night’s sleep.

W Chicago City Center Mega Room Double Beds

W Chicago City Center Mega Room Double Beds

As I’ve already alluded to, the room was simply mediocre.  There wasn’t anything about the room that was unique or noteworthy.  I think the room I had at the Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago actually had more character than my room at the W.  However, the room was still clean and sufficient for a one night stay.  The only unique part of the room was the lighting.  All the lights in the room, with the exception of those in the bathroom, are dimmable.  Dimmable lighting is very rare at most hotels.  I’m a huge fan of mood-lighting so I really appreciated both the dimmable lighting and mood lighting under the beds.

The room was sparsely decorated.  There was a single chair placed between the two beds and a floor lamp in the corner.  On the opposite side of the room was a desk, TV, mini-fridge, magazine rack, and snack area.  Of course, all of the snacks and drinks were outrageously overpriced.  The mini-fridge was also fully stocked which rendered it useless for storage.

W Chicago City Center Mega Room Beds

W Chicago City Center Mega Room Beds

The bathroom was also pretty standard.  I honestly have so very little to say about the bathroom.  It was just that, a bathroom.  There was one noteworthy aspect; the water pressure was awful.

Overall, the room was very underwhelming.  I’ve come to hold W Hotels to a certain standard when it comes to decor and style.  This room was just downright sad.  Sure, everything was clean and the beds were comfortable but it certainly wasn’t what you’d expect from W Hotels.

W Chicago City Center Hotel Property

The W Chicago City Center boasts a pretty impressive lobby.  It’s decorated with hip furniture and two large lamps as the centerpiece.  The ceiling is also quite elaborate.  However, other than the lobby and a fitness center, there’s not much else going on at the hotel.  There’s a small bar and lounge and a restaurant.  However, the restaurant appeared to remain closed during our stay.

W Chicago City Center Lobby

W Chicago City Center Lobby

Again, it’s a very underwhelming property.  I’m at a loss for anything noteworthy to write about.  There’s free coffee in the lobby from 6 AM to 10 AM so at least there’s that.

Fitness Center

The W Chicago Center features one of the nicest hotel fitness centers I’ve seen at a hotel in a while.  There’s a lot of equipment in the fitness center.  From treadmills to weights, the fitness center has it all.  However, when you take into account that this is the only amenity, it should have the latest equipment.


I’m going to start avoiding W Hotels.  I yet to have an experience worth the price I’ve paid for a night at a W Hotel.  This stay sealed the deal.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time at the W, however, I wouldn’t pay a dime more that I did for this stay.  It was unbelievably underwhelming.  Underwhelmingness aside, the hotel staff was wonderful and the location is hard to beat.

What do you think about W Hotels?