Pros: Location, service and accommodations!
Cons: This family of four had none.
When my husband and I decided that we wanted to make a trip to Chicago this past April during spring break, we knew where we would like to stay
the Park Hyatt Chicago. Why this particular hotel? For one, we had seen the location of this hotel on a brief trip to Chicago the summer before. Located on Michigan Avenue in the heart of downtown Chicago the location was awesome! We knew that we could walk to many of the great stores and restaurants in the area. We also knew that finding transportation (cabs) would be easy to do for those activities that were not within walking distance.
Another big factor to our reasoning was that we prefer to stay at a Hyatt establishment. Although we do own a Hyatt timeshare and are members in the Hyatt Gold Passport program, we have found that over the years we have had great success with a Hyatt hotel or resort. Since we decided that we wanted to splurge on this trip and stay in a nicer hotel we researched other hotels as well in the downtown area such as the Ritz Carlton and The Four Seasons. We have a few friends who have stayed at both and were pleased with their experience. It did not take us long to decide that the Park Hyatt Chicago was where we wanted to stay. Now the trick was to find a rate that we could fit into our budget.
After searching for rates on the Hyatt website as well as with AAA, we finally found a rate that we could live with available with our AAA membership. We found a daily rate of $340.00. This rate included 2 double beds, a room with 550 square feet and a view of Lake Michigan/Water Tower. Also included in our rate were two full American breakfasts, daily. The only downside that we found was that they were very specific in mentioning that rollaway beds were not allowed. This meant that the four of us (2 adults, 2 children) would be sleeping together for six nights. In the end, this was no big problem as my daughter decided on the first night that she did not want to sleep with her brother and was quite happy with the nest we made for her on the floor each night. Trust me, she scored big points with her big brother for this!
~ Location! Location! Location! ~
As I mentioned above, we already knew that the Park Hyatt Chicago was in a great location! One of the main reasons we wanted to go to Chicago was to celebrate our daughters eighth birthday. She had mentioned in early February that she really wanted the America Doll Kit for her birthday. After a discussion with my husband we decided that if we did not take her to the American Girl store located in Chicago, our time might be running out. Why? Because our little girl is growing up so quickly. Little did we know that the Park Hyatt Chicago is directly across the street from the American Girl store. Each and every morning when we went to breakfast in the hotel restaurant we would look outside to see if the line to enter American Girl had already begun.
As I mentioned above, the Park Hyatt Chicago is located right in the heart of great shopping and great dining. It is located at:
Park Hyatt Chicago 800 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone (312) 335-1234
Fax (312) 239-4000
If you know where the historic Water Tower is located, the Park Hyatt Chicago is just a few steps away. Quite honestly, as you will find out when you read on, you might not even find the need to rent a car during your stay at the Park Hyatt Chicago. We had decided prior to our trip that we were going to do the city thing. What is the city thing? Walking or taking a cab. Little did we know that we also had another option available to us. Youll have to read on to find out what that was.
Just in case you were wondering, no the Park Hyatt does not offer transportation to or from the airport. (We flew in/out of Chicago OHare.) The hotel did suggest a limousine service that we did end up using. If you prefer a cab, there should be an ample supply waiting at the airport for your use.
~ How was the check in process? ~
When we rolled up in front of the Park Hyatt Chicago we were greeted immediately by several members of the Hyatt staff. They quickly welcomed us to Chicago and the Park Hyatt and escorted us inside while retrieving our luggage. From what we could tell, all staff members located outside and those inside working at the lobby had on headsets and were always in constant communication. When we walked up to check-in they already knew who we were and greeted us by name. Needless to say, the four of us were impressed.
Checking in was quick and easy. The front desk staff was very friendly. We would come to find out the next day just how friendly they were and how much they would remember of my daughters conversation with them while checking in.
The Park Hyatt Chicago opened in July of 2000; therefore everything is still new looking. I have to confess; I really like that in a hotel, new and clean. While the lobby is not incredibly large, it is tastefully decorated and the marble flooring is just beautiful. The concierges desk is located right next to check-in. My husbands encounters with the concierge prior to our trip and during our trip were nothing but great. They were extremely helpful each time we needed guidance. They assisted us in getting tickets to a Cubs game and were able to answer questions in regards to opening times of a few of the museums.
When you first walk in the Park Hyatt Chicago you will spot the Lobby Library. Inside this library are several leather chairs, small tables and some reading materials for guests use. What my children enjoyed were the rock formation exhibits on the one wall of this library. They enjoyed looking and reading about each and were surprised that they had seen a few of these while living in South America. Now, what my husband and I really enjoyed was the complimentary coffee/tea. Each morning coffee (decaf and regular) and tea was set up in the library. Each morning we would grab our cup of Java on the way out the door to begin our day of exploring downtown Chicago. This service was only offered during the morning though unfortunately. There were a few afternoons/evenings when we entered the lobby after a brisk walk outside that we wish we could have had something warm to drink waiting for us. I should note here that there was no coffee maker in our room. This did not bother us since coffee was available to us each morning.
~ Time to see our room! ~
When we went upstairs to our room, one of the members of staff was right behind us with our luggage. He quickly brought in our suitcases and then asked if we would like something to drink. My husband and I decided why not and asked for a couple bottles of water. Much to our surprise, a few minutes later a butler knocked on the door bearing our drinks, along with glasses of ice. Yes, I said a butler. And yes, not only the children were impressed with this! Little did I know that a butler was on call during our entire stay to provide service if needed. Yes, I have made a mental note of this for our next trip back to the Park Hyatt Chicago.
Ah yes, now onto our room on the eleventh floor. All I can say is that this was most definitely the nicest hotel room we had ever stayed in. When we first walked into the room you will note the marble flooring in the entrance. There is carpeting that then extends into the room itself until you get to the bathroom, and then you are back to the marble flooring once again. On our immediate left was a closet. Inside this closet were two white robes for our use. Also inside the closet we found a small safe, an iron, ironing board and a hair dryer. Directly when we walked into our room was a private bar with a refrigerator below. While a price list is given for the items inside the refrigerator, we choose not to try anything. There were not only some bottles of water that you could purchase on this bar, but also some glasses (including wine) that we could use during our stay and a small basket of fruit.
As stated somewhere above in this lengthy review we had two double beds. Each bed was decked out with a white fluffy comforter and big fluffy pillow(s) to match. And while these beds were comfortable, I have to confess that they were not as comfortable as our bed at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Maui. That bed was the best!
I dont travel lightly so sometimes I find that storage space is slim in hotel rooms. There is a six-drawer dresser available for us along with ample closet space. I also used a drawer in the nightstand as well. Lucky for us there was also a great spot located near the bathroom where it looks like you could access another bedroom that we could store our luggage. This was an out of the way spot which allowed us not to have to take up any space in the main part of the room. Trust me, this is important feature when you are staying for more than a few nights.
Fortunately my husband did not have to take time off to work while we were on vacation, but if you had to check your e-mails, no problem. Located in our room was a desk and chair. I have to say that I loved the modern look of this glass desk with a black BRNO desk chair. Along with the usual Park Hyatt Chicago informational book, Park Hyatt stationary and a couple of books on the Chicago area, you found a telephone with dataports located on the side panel. Complimentary highspeed internet access is also located under the desk. Sitting at the desk and checking your e-mails would be a delight to do with the view of the city we had. Did I mention that there were three phones in our room?
There is also another black chair with matching ottoman in the room that I have to admit was quite comfortable. But, I saved the best for last, our favorite part of this room was the window seat. Our room location was fantastic as we were looking out at Lake Michigan. Also, directly in our view was Water Tower. I kid you not when I tell you that one evening the four of us sat in this window seat for a couple of hours people watching, playing games such as who can spot the first blue car, and watching the horse carriages go by. We also spent some down time by sitting in this window seat and reading a book. I kid you not, this window seat is a wonderful thing and I think that it is the best feature in this room.
Mind you though, the men in my house might disagree just a little bit. Are you wondering why and what? Directly over the dresser you will find a flat-screen television complete with a DVD and CD player. Yes, this television was a beauty! Dont have any DVDs with you? No problem as the Park Hyatt has a vast DVD library that is complimentary. We spent one evening watching two dvds and eating pizza in bed.
As if the one flat-screen television wasnt enough, we found another one in the bathroom. While this television is small, the sound system that comes with it was incredible. I couldnt help myself but turn on that darn television every time I walked into that bathroom!
Speaking of bathrooms, this might be where the Park Hyatt Chicago really shines. Our bathroom was incredible. I only wish that I could have brought it home with me. Everything was done in marble. The double sink vanity, the walk in shower which was quite large that had two shower heads and even the small little table where I could sit each morning and put on my makeup. There was also an oversized bathtub, which still had a view of the television and a separate area for the toilet. One of the special touches in this bathroom was the candles. Located on the small table were a couple of white candles complete with matches. What a nice touch this was. While this wasnt a romantic get-away for my husband and I, I did light those candles each and every morning. As with most hotels, shampoo, conditioners and soaps were provided. They also provided Q-Tips and cottonballs which I thought was a nice touch.
~ How was the service? ~
I read a review written here at Epinions about the Park Hyatt Chicago before we left for our trip and the reviewer mentions how disappointed they were with the service so I was a bit concerned. I need not have been. We found the service at the Park Hyatt to be impeccable! Do you remember me mentioning that the Front Desk staff was very friendly? Well, during check-in they couldnt help but ask my daughter if she was going to visit the America Girl Store. (Remember it is right across the street.) Not only did my daughter tell them yes, but she let them know that her Mommy was taking her there the very next day for her 8th birthday and that we were having lunch their to celebrate. Upon our return the next afternoon from American Girl and the birthday shopping spree/lunch we found in our room a tray. On this tray were some chocolate chip cookies, a couple glasses of milk, and a present from the American Girl Store. My daughter was so excited! She quickly read her note that said Happy 8th Birthday! We hope you are enjoying your stay at the Park Hyatt. The Front Desk Team. After reading her note she opened her present, which was a necklace, shared her cookies with us, drank her milk and then proceeded to draw the Front Desk staff a thank-you note. We were impressed to say the least.
As if that was not enough, that evening when turn down service came in (This service is offered twice daily.) they brought my daughter a robe and slippers her size. The robe was lying on the bed next to ours and her slippers were laid out on the floor next to ours. If you could have only seen the look on my daughters face because it was priceless! And as my daughter and the rest of us soon found out, each evening when turn down service came in they had soft music playing, the beds turned down, a treat of some sort, and small flowers laid in different spots each evening throughout the bedroom and the bathroom. Needless to say, we became quite spoiled.
The twice daily maid service is great. Our rooms were always spotless and if one towel was out of place, it was returned to it's rightful spot.
~ Need a ride? ~
While any of the staff members located outside the Park Hyatt Chicago could call a cab for us at any time, nothing surprised us more than our second evening when we were headed to a Cubs game. When asking for a cab we were told that the courtesy car was available and would we like to take that? Gee, we hadnt even realized that there was a courtesy car but sure we would love to take it. Within a minute, a gentlemen walks up and introduces himself as our driver and opens the door of a black Mercedes S430 inviting us to get in. Now it was time to watch my sons expression! He thought that he was so cool getting chauffeured around in this Mercedes and dropped off right out front of Wrigley Field. And, because he wasnt booked that evening with other hotel guests, he was able to pick us up as well. There was nothing nicer than being picked up and whisked back to our hotel. We were also able to use this service the following evening when we went to the Chicago Bulls final home game of the season. Both evenings we had a different driver but each driver was pleasant and quite frankly, interesting to talk too.
If you would like to use the courtesy car service we found out that reservations are made through the concierge. The hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.
~ Are you hungry? ~
On our first evening in town we had some good friends in the Chicago area meet us at the hotel. While trying to decide where to go to dinner that evening we opted to just try the NoMI restaurant, which is located on the seventh floor of the Park Hyatt. We were not disappointed. Not only was the service very good, so was the food. In fact, this is when we discovered that our son liked sushi. Come to find out later, Food & Wine magazine named NoMI one of Americas 50 Best Hotel Restaurants in May 2003. I should warn you though that good food and great service does not come cheap. I dont know what our total bill for seven people came up to because our friends treated, but I know that it was not cheap.
The NoMI restaurant is also where we ate our breakfast every morning. The staff was always very friendly and the service very good. So was our breakfast. Part of our room package was two full American breakfasts daily. We were told that if we would like to order something else off of the menu that they could just deduct the amount of our American breakfast from our bill. This worked out quite nicely for us.
One of the best features of the NoMI is the view of the Chicago skyline. There was nothing better than starting off our morning sitting at a table right in front of the glass windows overlooking Michigan Avenue. Ending your evening looking at the lights of the skyline would be an awesome sight as well.
There are three other options available for dining that we did not take advantage of. The first would be The Lounge, which is also located on the seventh floor. In fact, you have to walk through The Lounge on your way to the NoMI. Second is The Outdoor Terrace, which is a seasonal outdoor restaurant was not open yet. We wish that it had been open because it really looked like a neat way to sit outside and enjoy a salad, sandwich or cocktail. And last would be in-room dining. Quite frankly, there were just too many restaurants that we wanted to hit while in town that breakfast was the only meal we wanted to eat in the hotel.
~ Feel the need to exercise? ~
There were a few mornings that we did opt to use the workout facilities prior to our excursions. Making it a bit easier for myself since this review is getting so long, I have taken the following off of the Park Hyatt Chicago website (www.parkchicago.hyatt.com) in regards to Recreational Facilities:
Locker and shower facilities
Sony Wega flat-screen televisions
Complimentary bottled water and fruit
Once again we found the staff members working in this area to be very pleasant. Headsets are available at the desk when you first enter this area so that you can listen to the television while working out. I love to do this while working out on the treadmill. The entire workout area is surrounded by glass, which gives it a nice open feeling and looks out onto the indoor pool/deck complete with some chairs to lounge in.
As mentioned, an indoor pool available. This is not your typical hotel pool though. This pool is set up more for the fitness aspect than playing aspect, which worked out just fine for this family. There are two lanes (approximately 25 yards) and an additional lane that is shorter than the other two. Both of our children were able to get in a couple of morning swim workouts while we were there. When they were finished, there were some noodles and a few balls that they could play with. Oh, and from the swimming point of view, there were kick boards and fins available. Both of my kids were happy to see these as they usually use them in a workout but had not brought their own. There were plenty of towels and water available.
Also located on the seventh floor connected to the Health Club and pool were the shower/bathroom facilities. These facilities were always clean. In fact, they looked like nobody else had even been in them. Towels, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryers were all available for us. The Health Club facilities are open 24 hours. If wanting to use the pool, the hours are 5:30 a.m. 11:00 p.m.
~ A few other tidbits of information for you! ~
There were just a few other things that I wanted to share with you about the Park Hyatt Chicago.
~ Complimentary local, toll or credit card calls.
~ Complimentary shoe shine.
~ Daily newspaper (They have a special hook that they hang it from outside your door.)
~ If you need a larger safety deposit box than what is in your room, it is available.
~ Remember that it does get cold in Chicago, so fur lockers are available.
~ Valet parking is available. (I dont know the rate, as we did not use this service.)
~ Check in is at 3:00 p.m.
~ Check out is at noon.
~ Check out what other items are available through housekeeping. Some of those items available are board games, heating pads, vaporizers, curling irons, deodorant, shaving cream, and even a sound sleeper.
~ We would go back in a second! ~
Our six-night stay at the Park Hyatt Chicago this past April was awesome! In fact, I think that it is safe to say that the four of us really were not that excited to have to checkout. We had grown quite accustomed to the impeccable service and the awesome accommodations.
While some may say that the Ritz Carlton or The Four Seasons is their hotel of choice, I will tell you this. The next time we are in downtown Chicago I know where the four of us will want to stay The Park Hyatt Chicago. I highly recommend that you give this Park Hyatt a try. I dont think that you will be disappointed.
This is an entry into the Great Hotel W/O. Find out all about it here: