Stay tuned tomorrow for more on the restaurants, public spaces and other nooks and crannies of the J-dub, but right now we want to talk about the most important spaces of all: the rooms. Since the building is a restored architectural treasure originally constructed by Daniel Burnham, there are really cool touches all around. For example, the room windows are giant and the glass is this thick and the whole thing looks well-made. It's a small thing like this that makes you stop for a moment, stand still and think "yep, I am definitely in Chicago."
As far as the room interiors go, you'll find it's the JW's love of red and gold coming through, but with some surprises, namely the juxtaposition of a vaguely Asian-influenced wood cabinet under the TV next to a metal, very contemporary desk and desk chair. Speaking of the TV, this property is pioneering technology that makes your channel surfing more interactive. Using the remote feels more like directing a computer to show you what you want, and although it's not perfect, we're loving the idea.
A sitting chair, minibar, iHome, ginormous bathroom with two sinks, tub, shower and toilet room all come standard in even the cheapest rooms. Ah yesand a little gift of chocolates and a Chicago postcard at night, too.
The only big bummer? WiFi and wired internet costs $14.95 per day.
A friend of ours was staying in one of the corner suites, so we managed to peek our heads in there as well. Take the basic room and add a scary huge flatscreen TV in front of it, plus multiply the size of the bathroom, add a whole living room, long wet bar and separate guest bathroom and you've got some idea of what the suites are like.
On our tour, however, we were able to creep into the Lincoln Suite, which Bill Marriott himself had just checked out of. The suite itself is sprawling, with a full kitchen and formal sitting area, separate office and more. Just in case you're wonderingMarriott seems to be the easiest guest to handle. His breakfast was a little bit of healthy cereal, some newspaper reading, a jog on the treadmill he specially requested be brought to the suite, and of course a flight on his private jet down to Indianapolis to open another JW Marriott. It's a good life.
Remember, check back here tomorrow for even more photos of the place, including a ballroom that Chicago's architecture fans drool over.
[Photos and video: Cynthia Drescher for HotelChatter]