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Inside the Park Hyatt Chicago

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  Site Where: 800 North Michigan Avenue [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60611
April 19, 2010 at 4:25 PM | by | Comments (0)

Ah yes, Chicago's towering Park Hyatt; it's the favorite hotel of U2's Bono when he plays Midwest concerts, it is notoriously pricey and elite for a Chicago hotel, and it occupies an enviable position right at the historical Water Tower at Michigan and Chicago Avenues.

The Park Hyatt Chicago is the answer to Friday's "Guess the Hotel" and not only did readers guess the answer right away online and on Twitter, but one reader believes she stayed in our very same room!

Although we consider ourselves experts on the Chicago hotel scene (okay, every hotel scene), this is one property whose pillows we've never dreamt upon. Until a couple nights ago, when after scoring a $245 nightly rate on haute hotel sample sale site Jetsetter.com, we went for it. You see, the Park Hyatt's typical nightly price is more like $445.

So what do you get for that money? Full review, after the jump!

Check-in: Arriving promptly just after check-in time of 3pm, we were quickly handled at the front desk despite other guests speaking quickly to other agents to extend their stays due to the volcano ash flights cancellations in Europe. The agent not only explained how to access the free wifi, but also mentioned that currently they were holding lemonade/tea time in the lobby library. Mental note for free stuff!

Despite the hubbub on the Chicago Avenue sidewalk outside, the lobby was pleasantly peaceful and quick dark. You'd have to wait for your eyes to adjust on a particularly bright day, actually.

Room Reaction: We were a bit disappointed that our king bed standard room was only on the 6th floor, since the Park Hyatt is a wickedly tall building, but then the upper floors are reserved for the millionaire residents. Upon walking in, we first noticed the sheer size of the room—emphasized by a tile-floored entry area, a huge bathtub and blindingly white king bed. Three fresh, red apples sat in a silver bowl just inside the room, another welcome small freebie.

We were frankly quite surprised to find that the spacious bathroom is an open one; meaning there are sliding doors to open it up to the bedroom or to keep it private, and the toilet and shower both enjoy their own private stalls behind frosted glass doors. We only really expect this layout in newer, more modern hotels, and yet there we were; soaking in the tub and watching the main TV.

And we can't forget about that Eames chair. That's one thing about the room—there was a plethora of places to sit. Should we flop onto the bed? What about luxuriating in the leather Eames lounge? On our stomach on the window seat, with the view of the Water Tower directly at our side? Or should we be studious and take up residence at the glass desk? It really was a toss-up between the Eames and window seat for us, actually.

Amenities: Little niceties really make this place the 5-star it is. For instance, the toiletries were freaking awesome. We kept washing our hands like every hour because the hand soap bars smelled so great. Inside the closet, amongst the usual items like white robes and the safe and ironing board, they've actually included a shoe buffer machine, which we've only seen before in one other hotel—it's neighbor across the street, The Raffaello.

You will find a DVD player in the room, but the TV is actually an older model than what we'd expect from a $400+ hotel room. We can't imagine spending whole evening watching TV in the room however, since the lobby library's little free lemonade/tea/coffee times attract you down to mingle and then the seventh floor NoMi Restaurant, with its al fresco terrace and excellent views, is a natural dinner progression. If a night here is already too expensive for you and you still want to take advantage of the restaurant, they do offer a full afternoon tea service up in NoMi for under $40.

Sadly we didn't have time to swim in it, but the hotel has a three-lane lap pool on the same level as NoMi, as well as a small hottub and fitness center. Worth checking out, but probably best for business travelers staying more than one night, like their car service.

Internet Connect: Hallelujah, it's free, fast, and easy to log on. We used it just as easily in the hotel's public areas as in our room, and this fact actually makes up for a little issue we'll bring up in the "what we didn't like" portion of the review below.

What We Liked: The location is unbeatable; there are no other hotels this close to the Water Tower, Ralph Lauren's restaurant "RL" or the Giorgio Armani store (since this last one is located within the hotel). As mentioned, the free wifi and coffee/tea/lemonade offerings in the Library were seriously appreciated, and the staff was quite gracious. Any hotel with soap that smells this great plus furniture by renowned designers prized for comfort and style, scores major points in our book.

What We Didn't Like: The Park Hyatt isn't a new hotel, but it is an expensive and sophisticated one that shouldn't be showing the kind of wear-and-tear that we spied in our room. Perhaps they put us in a less desirable room due to our Jetsetter.com sale rate, but the shoddily-patched carpeting near a side table and some gashes on the wall and smudges around were unsightly. A turndown chocolate or anything thoughtful on the pillow would have been welcome too, but we got nothing, when we're used to finding goodies like weather reports or treats at far cheaper hotels. And, as we mentioned before, you should request a higher floor. Being on the sixth, we were directly under the restaurant and it's overhang kept our windowseat in the cold shade.

Bottom Line: The Park Hyatt Chicago is a hotel for guests loyal to the Park Hyatt brand, first and foremost. And we suppose also for Bono. Male business travelers will feel especially pampered here since the hotel exudes a maleness itself. It's entrance is a place to see and be seen, as exotic cars are a regular sight as are SUVs with darkly tinted windows. It's definitely not the best of the high-priced hotels (we leave that to The Peninsula next door, nor is it the trendiest (hello there, The Wit), but it is comfortable and quiet, with bathrooms of your dreams.

[Photos: HotelChatter]

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