After spending a night at the Thompson Hotel Chicago, an excellent pick in the Near North Side (Full Review), my son and I checked out and walked the few blocks to the Talbott Hotel Chicago. We were splitting our weekend in Chicago between the two. It was part of my unabashed plan to work toward another Hyatt brand explorer bonus, which will score me another free night whenever I stay at my next Hyatt brand.
Rates when I booked were $160 for a Queen Room. Not a great use of the certificate, but it was better than paying cash. An alternative was using 12,000 Hyatt points for the award Category 3 property. I’d honestly prefer to burn the free night, being a bit short on points. But things got even more lopsided: rates dropped to a mere $90 by the day of arrival. At that point, it was impossible to back out of the certificate booking.
However, we were upgraded to a studio king room, which was going for $170 per night. I can at least say we got marginal value out of the certificate. But I have to also consider that we would have probably been given that anyway, no matter how I’d booked. Lesson: keep checking your hotel reservations.
Arriving at The Talbott Hotel Chicago
After checking out of the Thompson, we walked the few blocks south to the Talbott. The two properties are in very close proximity to each other, both in the Near North Side. The Talbott doesn’t have much of a lobby. The front desk is past the coffee table, elevators and concierge, and the restaurant fills the space to the left.
The front desk agent was a bit surprised at my request to check-in, as it was only 9:15 AM, but he was able to accommodate us easily. Given the room rates, occupancy had to be quite low. Key in hand, we headed up to drop our bags before heading out for the day to explore.
King Studio Room
We were given room 510, a king studio. It’s larger than the typical room, especially when compared to the single queen I’d booked. I did request something with a second bed, and this was the first offer made by the desk. A king plus sofa bed would do. It was nice to have the extra space.
The king bed definitely wasn’t as comfortable as the double beds we had at the Thompson. Other aspects contributed to a poor night’s sleep, too, so if you’re looking for a restful place, the Thompson is likely a better option.
The room is fairly large and features a sofa an coffee table. The sofa converts into the sofa bed. We ended up not using it, though, as I broke down and let my son share the king with me.
The TV is huge and at the very end of the room facing the bed. Given the viewing distance, it probably still seems small. And it’s an awkward placement if trying to watch from the couch. Overall, room layout could be slightly better.
There is a minibar under the TV, as well as an offering of snacks. This is the second hotel in a row to have one. I thought most were a thing of the past for most U.S. hotel chains.
Of course, everything is ridiculously priced. I don’t know who affords a $5 pack of M&Ms. Not to mention nothing will be fresh, as it has likely been here for the past couple years, untouched. The Talbott had FRED water, just like the Thompson. The wine from nearby (to us) Sonoma County has at least a 200% markup.
The room does lack an in-room coffee maker. But you are invited to enjoy a cup downstairs.
The bathroom at the Talbott is nice, although I prefer the one at the Thompson.
The main drawback is the tub. I much prefer a completely tiled shower.
Don’t walk off with these bath amenities, either. The full size bottles are meant to last through multiple guests, and you’ll be charged $15 each if you decided you can’t live without them.
The view (or lack thereof) was a bummer. We faced another building. It reminded me of the view my wife and I had from our budget Manhattan hotel during our first visit to New York in 2012.
Noise during the middle of the night was frustrating. The dumpsters were being emptied in the alley, and the banging disrupted our sleep. It seemed to me at the time like they were emptying 43 of them, but there were more like half a dozen.
Overall, the room was nice enough. But given that I had a direct comparison in the same neighborhood, and same loyalty program, the Talbott Hotel Chicago fell short of what is offered at the Thompson. If given a choice, I’d pick the Thompson for room comfort.
Hotel Amenities and Facilities
WiFi in our room was fairly poor. Maybe it was because we were at the very end of the corridor and the bed is in the corner of the building. But it was really only the download speed. The upload speed was fantastic. My phone was syncing the days photos to Dropbox with ease.
There isn’t a pool at the Talbott, but the hotel does have a very small fitness center on the basement level of the hotel.
There was a note in the room informing guests of the ongoing construction on the hotel facade. Construction hours are from 9:30 to 4:00. As we were out exploring Chicago through virtually this entire period, we didn’t even notice.
The location of the Talbott is slightly better than the Thompson, as you are a few blocks closer to the “L” train. Still, neither are an especially long walk. You can be to the platform in 5-8 minutes.
Breakfast at The Talbott
20East Chicago, the Talbott hotel restaurant, has a limited breakfast menu. There isn’t a buffet, but the hotel does offer enough variety. Prices aren’t too crazy, either, and I decided that we’d try it out in the morning. Most items vary from $10-16. Juice, coffee, tea, etc. are their own charge. Considering that you can grab coffee in the lobby, I just did that after we ate.
My son had the granola and yogurt while I had a breakfast sandwich. Both were good. The restaurant is open air (at least in summer) when they open the front doors. You can sit inside or outside along the street.
While we enjoyed our stay at the Talbott, it wasn’t quite the same caliber as the previous hotel we’d just enjoyed. I guess it is difficult to let it stand on its own legs, as I found myself comparing it the whole time to our previous nights stay. The service was good, and our room comfortable. But the main detraction was sleep quality broken by both the noise in the night and a less comfortable bed. The eight-year-old in the bed didn’t help matters, either.
If looking for a place to stay on a future trip, I’d certainly consider the Talbott Hotel Chicago for $90 per night. But I wouldn’t be keen on burning either 12,000 points or a free night certificate here again.