May162012

Suite Living at JW Marriott Chicago

Won’t you please come to Chicago?

And here I am in the JW Marriott Chicago checking out the hotel for a few days. This is a FAM trip, the travel industry term for media visits, where press gets hosted by the hotel, wined and dined.  Going beyond staying at a hotel to actually sharing the types of experiences you can have at a hotel provides more insight to these destinations.

JW Marriott Chicago invited a handful of journalists and social media types to check out the hotel this week. I am happy to get the opportunity to share some of the JW Marriott Chicago experiences with readers that I would not be writing about otherwise with my not-so-deep Loyalty Traveler pockets.

Upon Arrival: My name is …

Upon arrival from Chicago O’Hare the taxi driver was thinking I might be a celebrity or some VIP when the JW Marriott Chicago doorman greeted me by name. I told the driver he read the name off the big BoardingArea-Loyalty Traveler business card on my computer bag.

I think you need good eyesight to be a high-end hotel doorman.

What did catch me by surprise though is the two other staff people in the lobby who greeted me by name as I walked to the front desk.

These people are wired. I mean the guys in the lobby look like secret service types with their ear pieces. Obviously they are in communication with each other.

Safety is their concern

Security is a feature I have always associated with the high-end Marriott hotels. I make this association due to the fact that I have been kicked out of more Marriott hotels than any other hotel chain for walking around taking photos when I was not a guest at the hotel. That comes with the territory of being a spontaneous hotel drop-in blogger.

This past year I have been much better about actually requesting appointments and introducing myself at the front desk of hotels when I arrive to check a new hotel out.

Feels nice to be a welcomed guest at JW Marriott Chicago.

Security is a significant concern for a major city hotel like JW Marriott Chicago. This is the kind of hotel that regularly hosts captains of industry, celebrities and heads of state.

The city of Chicago recently hosted the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates April 23-25, 2012. Several of the attendees stayed at the JW Marriott Chicago. And the Nato Summit comes to town May 20-21. Police presence is heavy all around this financial district part of Chicago.

This Suite is for You

So what kind of hotel room do you get when you are someone like His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama or President Mikhail Gorbachev? 

Here are photos of three specialty suites at JW Marriott Chicago just in case you care to see what a 2,000 square feet suite hotel contains.

JW Marriott LaSalle Suite foyer

Foyer of La Salle Suite, JW Marriott Chicago

JW Marriott LaSalle Suite living room

Living room of La Salle Suite, JW Marriott Chicago

LaSalle Suite living room-2

Living room of La Salle Suite, JW Marriott Chicago.

La Salle Suite bedroom

LaSalle Suite Bedroom

LaSalle Suite bedroom tv

LaSalle Suite bedroom tv.

LaSalle Suite infinity tub

Deep tub in La Salle Suite, JW Marriott Chicago.

LaSalle Suite bathroom-2

The simple elegance of the La Salle Suite apparently accommodated the Dalai Lama for the Nobel Peace Laureate Summit.

All rooms at the JW Marriott Chicago have both a tub and a separate shower. The shower stall is shown in McCormick Suite photos below.

McCormick Suite at JW Marriott

La Salle Suite is simple elegance, but what does a former head of state like President Clinton need in a hotel suite?

Perhaps more room space.

McCormick Suite living room-1

McCormick Suite living room at JW Marriott Chicago

McCormick Suite office-1

McCormick Suite office at JW Marriott Chicago.

McCormick Suite dining room-2

Dining table in McCormick Suite JW Marriott Chicago.

McCormick Suite kitchen

A dining room is more functional with an en suite kitchen.

McCormick Suite living room-3

McCormick Suite living room and office and entry foyer.

McCormick Suite bedroom-4

McCormick Suite bedroom at JW Marriott Chicago.

McCormick Suite bedroom-3

Bedroom TV corner in McCormick Suite, JW Marriott Chicago.

McCormick Suite bathroom-1

Left door is toilet, right is dual head shower, dual sinks and TV embedded in mirror.

McCormick Suite bathroom-2

Soaking in the tub staring at giraffes might be more relaxing than a shower.

McCormick Suite office-3

The McCormick Suite is nice, but my personal favorite is the Lincoln Suite.

Lincoln Suite, JW Marriott Chicago

The Lincoln Suite really appealed to me as a comfortable social living space. Now if only it would come at a LivingSocial room rate.

Lincoln Suite living room-1

Lincoln Suite living room at JW Marriott Chicago.

Another view.

Lincoln Suite dining room-1

Lincoln Suite dining room at JW Marriott Chicago.

Lincoln Suite kitchen-1

Lincoln Suite kitchen at JW Marriott Chicago.

Lincoln Suite living room-4

Library corner in Lincoln Suite.

Lincoln Suite-office

Office space in Lincoln Suite.

Lincoln Suite art-2

Lincoln Suite hallway art.

Lincoln Suite bedroom-1

Lincoln Suite bedroom.

The bathroom in the Lincoln Suite is similar to McCormick Suite.

JW Marriott Experiences

These photos share a little of the suite life at the JW Marriott Chicago. I’d love to say that I spent the night in one of these suites, but I didn’t. The opportunity to check out these suites was just one of the treats during this trip.

The standard room where I stayed was on the 12th floor Executive lounge floor; the top hotel floor in the 21-story Daniel Burnham design building. Even the standard rooms of the JW Marriott Chicago have plenty of fine features for a comfortable stay.

I commend JW Marriott for exemplary service levels during my stay. The hotel truly provided outstanding service, even from staff who likely did not know I would be writing about my stay at the hotel.

Additional posts over the next week will describe the JW Marriott Wine Ambassador program, Valeo Spa, my guest room and Executive Lounge, and Florentine Restaurant.

Also, a field trip tour of two Frank Lloyd Wright houses with guides from the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust provided plenty of material for a good architecture style post.

This JW Marriott Chicago visit has definitely been experiential.

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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Comments

  1. A suite bathroom with only one sink (LaSalle)? No thanks!

    For me the Marriott (especially JW Marriott) carpet standards somehow does not work. Too stuffy.

    Otherwise: nice rooms…

  2. How did you know other writers/bloggers were invited this week to the hotel? If you knew then wouldn’t the staff know of this as well which means they will be performing better service? Just my thoughts…

  3. @Hamurabi2001 – I just went back and reviewed my photos. There are actually four sinks in the LaSalle Suite. The bathroom had two sinks in two cabinets. This is a corner room and the two photos with sinks and windows are different walls. There is one sink in the bar (not shown) in the living room and there is an entry way toilet and sink. No kitchen though in LaSalle suite.

    @Jimgotkp – I know the other writers were there since we had two days of scheduled activities together.

    Chicago has the NATO Summit happening this weekend. The JW Marriott Chicago staff have much more on their minds than six media persons touring a hotel with 609 rooms. I tend to talk to a lot of staff when I am at a hotel like maids, maintenance people and security when I am wandering around.

    The Executive Lounge service is one area that impressed me. The staff there provided some of the best service I have seen at a U.S. club lounge. There were plenty of people in the lounge and I was the only one from the press tour. My impression is this is standard operating procedure for the hotel.

  4. Ric: Your observations may also be the result of security in Chicago being at an all time high for the NATO Summit that starts tomorrow. No backpacks or briefcases on the trains, street closed, etc. Your hotel is probably one that some world leaders will be at. I hope your visit to our wonderful city with the great weather we are having is not too badly impacted by this headache that some genius politicians saw fit to foist upon us

  5. Great picture.

    I work around the corner and walk by the JW every day. Sadly, I’ve never even been in the foyer – looks like a great hotel.

    I always imagine that if I win the lottery, I would live in suites like that in 5* hotels.

  6. @Mike and MB – Security has definitely tightened up today for the NATO Summit. There is only one door open to enter the hotel now and security is verifying every person is a hotel guest.

    This area of Chicago right now has the highest concentration of police and federal agents I have ever seen outside D.C.

    Hopefully people remain peaceful. I support the right to demonstrate, but I detest anarchy.

  7. Ric –

    Can you please go and get kicked out of (I mean, take some pictures of!) the Fairmont Chicago and let us know how it compares to the JW?

    When people complain about Marriott not being a good hotel for elites, JW Marriott’s are one of the things I point out as adding great variety and value to this chain.

    Plus, 140,000 points for a 5 night stay with the fifth night free (vs. $1,750 rev stay) seems like a great testament to the value of MR points…

    Thanks for the pix – please post the nightly rates for each of the suites as well! 🙂

    Lark

  8. I stay at this hotel every other week, and it is quite good. My favorite feature is the gym, which is full sized. I hate that they charge for in room wifi access. A correction to the post though, not all standard rooms have the tub, and that is too bad, because I love it! The hotel is also very quiet, which I appreciate since I am an early to bed early to rise type.

  9. @Lark – I was across the street from the Fairmont Chicago last November when I stayed at the Radisson Blu Aqua. That trip was so jam packed with activities that I never even made it inside the Fairmont.

    @Jennifer – Thanks for the correction on the tub. I thought the sales person had said all standard rooms had both tub and shower, but that can’t be the case if you have been in a room without the tub.

    The hotel is quiet with the old windows and frames still in place (1914 building) and a second interior window placed over the original room windows. I enjoyed the fact the AC worked well since there is no option to open the windows. Double glass pane makes rooms quiet.

    Even I was charged $16/day after tax for in-room internet on this media trip.

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