Apr152014

Hotel Review: Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection

Hotel Chicago Downtown is a recent February 2014 addition to Marriott’s Autograph Collection brand. I previously visited the hotel in 2010 when it was Hotel Sax and a Thompson boutique hotel. The location next to House of Blues and near the north bank of the Chicago River is a central downtown location.

 

Chicago round towers

My room view from Hotel Chicago Downtown.

Those familiar with Chicago probably recognize these two 587-foot, 65-story round residential towers known as Marina City located on the north bank of the Chicago River. The buildings housing Hotel Downtown Chicago and House of Blues were part of the original Marina City complex built in the 1960s.

House of Blues

House of Blues is literally across the street from the front of Hotel Chicago Downtown. Westin Chicago River North is hotel building behind House of Blues.

Front entry

View of room from doorway of Room 1225. The hotel has 16 floors.

The hotel was an upper upscale change from the Hilton Garden Inn, Country Inns & Suites and Holiday Inn where I had been resting my head the previous four nights. The bed was, without a doubt, the most comfortable of the week.

Hotel Chicago bed

Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection.

Another great feature of the room were windows that open. The temperature was in the upper 40s and I longed for some cool air to fill my room after finding no option to cool my rooms down to a comfortable mid-60s for nighttime sleep in the four hotels where I stayed on previous nights.

There was city noise with the windows cracked open, but I was tired enough to ignore the sounds of drunks on a Saturday night and sirens.

Hotel Chicago Room desk

All mod cons in Hotel Chicago Downtown and plenty of electrical outlets to recharge and work.

Mini bar

Temptation on the desk. I arrived in Chicago for the IPW Convention and immediately went out to a party hosted by Washington, D.C. where I had plenty of appetizers and Stella Artois for free.

AC Chicago bath-1

The bathroom was one of the best room features.

AC Chicago bath-2

Tile bathroom tiled floor and stylish countertop in a large space for a bathroom made this an integral part of the room space and design.

AC Chicago shower

Gilchrist & Soames bath products in large dispensers mounted on shower wall.

AC Chicago G-S

Unfortunately, I had such a busy business schedule that I skipped visiting the hotel bar at midnight after the D.C. Cool party in another location. I left the hotel early without visiting the fitness center. I stored my luggage and came back in the afternoon to pick up my luggage and change hotels.

I was able to look inside Bin 36, the hotel restaurant, while waiting for my luggage and before the dinner hour.

Bin 36 restaurant

Bin 36 Restaurant, Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection.

Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection is Marriott Rewards category 8 hotel at 40,000 point per night. Rates were typically $259 during the week I was there. This is a hotel where I kept finding Best Rate Guarantee potential and I booked the hotel for $259 and then filed a Look No Further claim against a $140 rate from an online travel agency competitor. My room rate was dropped another 25% to $105 for the one-night stay.

With this one-night stay and my stay at The Blackstone, a Renaissance hotel a couple of nights later on a $103 best rate guarantee, I earned one free Marriott Rewards category 1-5 hotel certificate.

Marriott Rewards MegaBonus earnings

Two hotel nights for $245 total spend after tax earned 4,619 Marriott Rewards points as a Silver elite member (20% elite bonus) and one free night certificate for a category 1-5 hotel (arguably less valuable after the 2014 hotel category reassignments) through the Marriott Rewards MegaBonus.

Note that my MegaBonus offer was originally for category 1-4 reward nights when I registered and I called Marriott Rewards to request category 1-5 bonus nights based on Marriott’s Twitter representative response to my complaint urging me to contact Marriott Rewards customer service and ask for the promotion upgrade. My account shows my Category 1-4 bonus was automatically upgraded to a Category 1-5 hotel reward.

In my experience with Marriott Rewards these past two years, I regularly get a room category upgrade as a Silver elite member. Good customer service from corporate Marriott is another bonus. I can see why Marriott Rewards frequently takes top honors in loyalty program member voting contests like the Freddies.

AC Chicago

Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection

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. Great report. Interesting about room upgrades even as a silver. I guess I need to be more comfortable with just asking. I’ve made gold, and get the standard upgrades, especially at ones with exec lounges.

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