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Crowne Plaza Avenue Hotel Chicago rooftop pool hidden gem

The real gem of Crowne Plaza Avenue Hotel Chicago is its 40th floor rooftop pool and open-air deck. The view is one of the best in Chicago despite what room view you may have. Since the pool is uncovered I assume the deck area is closed for most of the winter weather season. But catch this deck on a sunny day and you have a 270-degree view across the city. The hotel breakfast lounge is also on the 40th floor with north and east facing views.

Crowne Plaza Avenue Hotel Chicago 40th floor pool deck

I received a Tech room on Floor 33 with a desktop Mac computer and complimentary internet access.

Crowne Plaza Avenue Hotel Chicago Tech Room with Mac computer

I was competent on a Mac when I taught computer studies at an elementary school ten years ago, but it takes some getting used to after working regularly on a PC. I enjoyed playing with the computer for a bit, but found myself pulling out my laptop for work.

Crowne Plaza Avenue Hotel Chicago bed and north facing window

The zebra chair is a feature of the Avenue Hotel rooms.  The hotel has 200 deluxe rooms.

There are 150 suites in the hotel featuring leather couches. The hotel was filled with doctors attending a major convention and I didn’t get upgraded to a suite. Some suites at the hotel have Lake Michigan views which you can also see from the 40th floor pool deck.

There are also kid-friendly rooms with Wii video games and in-room games and colorful bedding. I do not recall seeing any kids in the hotel during my stay.

The curved shower rod is a simple feature I truly appreciate in a hotel bathroom.

The Avenue Hotel website uses the phrase “Welcome to an oasis in the heart of it all.” Loyalty Traveler has to agree. Located on Huron Street, just one building east of Michigan Avenue places the Avenue Hotel Chicago in a prime Magnificent Mile location for shopping, dining, and easy transportation. Walk straight west on Huron Avenue about four blocks and there is a Whole Foods Market with plenty of hot food options and the usual market items.

My room view looked across Michigan Avenue to the Peninsula Hotel. The pool at the top of the Peninsula Hotel is the finest pool setting I saw in Chicago, but I was not permitted to take photos inside the pool room while guests were swimming. I have a sentiment that it is almost as nice to have a terrific view from a lower market segment hotel than to be in a high market segment hotel without a great view.

Frequent buses will take you north or south on Michigan Avenue and the Red Line CTA is about five blocks NW on Chicago Street west of the Water Tower and running between the Peninsula Hotel and the Park Hyatt Hotel.

Park Hyatt 70-floor tower residences seen from Crowne Plaza 40th floor pool deck

View of Marriott Chicago and Trump Tower Chicago from 40th floor pool deck of Avenue Hotel

Lake Michigan at sunset (Avenue Hotel 40th floor view)

Fitness room is located on a low floor.

The Sky Lounge, also located on the 40th floor, offered breakfast until 11am in the morning. The spread looked like a typical buffet breakfast. A bit overpriced even with the 15% discount coupon, which in effect only covers the hotel tax on the $18 breakfast. Dinner dining is probably a better value.

The Elephant & Castle pub, located off the lobby of the Avenue Hotel, was not a good dining experience for me. After eating at the Peninsula Hotel the night before where my entrée was only $1 more than the Fish & Chips at the Elephant & Castle, I thought the pub offered poor dining value.

My pet peeve with the free beer coupon I redeemed at the Elephant & Castle was the waiter told me it was only valid for a 10 oz. domestic beer at a British pub. The Elephant & Castle pub only lists imperial pints (19 oz.) on its menu and does not even list 10 oz. beers as a menu choice.

The coupon was also valid for a glass of wine or a well drink. Does the pub only give you half a glass of wine? Half a shot?

This hotel was a bargain at 25,000 points compared to the $380 after tax published rate. The effective rate for me was $150. I bought 40,000 points for $240 last May through DiscoverAmerica’s Daily Getaway at a time when I had no Priority Club points in my account. I booked the Avenue Hotel Chicago less than two hours before I checked in, but the Points & Cash Priority Club reward option was no longer available.

One of the advantages of Priority Club Points & Cash rewards is the requirement to buy nonrefundable points before completing the reward reservation. This past month I have purchased 40,000 Priority Club points through Points + Cash rewards for $240. As it happened I needed to cancel two of my hotel reward reservations and I used two of the reservations. The net effect is I purchased 20,000 points for $120 and these points are available in my account for other Priority Club reward nights. This is about 50% the cost to buy points from Priority Club through the normal Purchase Points link.

The InterContinental Hotel Chicago is just a few minutes walk from the Crowne Plaza on Michigan Avenue. That hotel will cost 40,000 points for a reward night. The IC Chicago actually had lower published room rates for the night I stayed at the Crowne Plaza. I toured the IC Chicago and photographed rooms and the pool. The pool at the IC Chicago is also one of the hotel gems of the city. Loyalty Traveler will post an InterContinental Chicago hotel review soon.

Crowne Plaza Avenue hotel website photos

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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