The Not so great

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by catsholiday on June 23, 2012

The bathroom was tiny and certainly room for only one person in there at a time. You had to shut the door to put the bathmat spread on the floor otherwise there was not enough room. They did leave us plenty of nice white fairly fluffy towels and they changed them daily even though we did hang them up.

There were lots of negatives though and the second was that the rate we paid did not include breakfast and if we had the hotel breakfast it was $17.95 +tax. If you ordered a la carte then a pot of yoghurt was $4, juice the same and cereals were $5. Talk about rip off prices, needless to say we didn’t eat there at all.

The next major rip off was that the mini bar we discovered was monitored with a sensor so if you took something out you paid for it even if you replaced it. You were told not to use the fridge for personal items. They filled it so that you couldn’t fit anything in unless you took something out. We discovered this after we had taken some bottles out. Apparently you could ask for a fridge and they would bring you one for $20 a week. Talk about ripping every last cent from the guests. I was furious and will be challenging this. If they charge us I will ensure we take the stuff with us but unfortunately they were stupid mini bar prices. Considering the cheapo Econo Lodge gives you a fridge as part of the room rate I think this is a major cheek. Happily they didn’t charge us for using the mini bar fridge despite the rude notices about not using it for personal items which saved an argument as there was no way I was going to be paying for stuff I had not used.

Fourthly I asked if they had a guest laundry and the snooty woman on the desk looked at me as though I had asked if I could pee on the floor. "Not in Downtown Chicago, you have to use the hotel laundry service madam." No chance as the prices for that it would be cheaper to buy new knickers rather than pay to wash them. I washed them and hung them in the bathroom; hopefully they haven’t monitored that and plan to charge me.

Finally everywhere else we had stayed in the USA we got automatic free wifi in the room. Here it was $10 for 24 hours. You could use the Business suite on level 7 for free and print out anything you wanted in B&W which was good and we also discovered that there was a code to get on the wifi with your own computer but they didn't tell us that we discovered it from another guest. I have all my passwords saved on my laptop so using another computer is not always handy for me. Also sometimes you just want to use the internet in bed in your room without having to make a trip to another floor. We were on floor 36 so getting to floor 7 was a mission as not all the lifts went to that floor and sod’s law meant that the only one that came to our floor when we pressed the call button was that lift that did NOT go to level 7!!

The heated outdoor pool on the penthouse floor was rather nice and gave an excellent view all around the city. Pool towels were provided for the pool and you were not charged for their use. From here you had an excellent view almost all around from towards the river and out to the lake. We were able to enjoy the fireworks on Navy Pier on Wednesday night at 9.30pm from here with a family from Alabama who shared their beers with us.

The Elephant and Castle pub beside the lobby offered much more reasonable breakfasts and drinks. We sat in there to watch the England game. They also did a match predictor and we won two beers by predicting the half time score. Sadly our full time predictions of 2-1 and 3-2 did not bare any fruit nor come to fruition but we were quite thrilled with the free beers.

We also went and watched a second football game and the manager gave us two T shirts with Carlsberg and Euro 2012 on them. The staff in there were lovely but the hotel di NOT tell us that we could charge meals bought in the Elephant & Castle to our room. We paid cash or card and then found this out. This meant that the few hundred dollars we had spent in there during the week would have earned Priority points but annoyingly they could not allocate these points using of already paid receipts. I think the hotel lobby should have told us we could charge those bills to our room and collect points and we should not have had to work this out ourselves.

Well I am certainly glad I didn’t pay the full price. They wouldn’t let me use my Priorty Points card because I had had a cheaper rate through Diamond resorts and then every time we turned around they seemed to charge us extra. This was not a cheap place to stay. It was in a pretty good position but there are any number of hotels in the area and I do think they charged a pretty high price, thankfully it was cheaper than it should have been. I think we paid £600 for the week but if we had stayed a bit further out we might have found it cheaper and got more but never mind. You learn from experience and if we go to another big city in the USA we will shop around a bit more. It was certainly convenient to be one street corner away from the ‘Magnificent Mile’ and we were able to walk to everywhere we wanted to I guess that is the convenient you pay for. I think if we had not been so spoiled in Las Vegas and Malta with those suite hotels as well as Salt Lake City where we had a huge suite then maybe we would not have been so disappointed in getting just an ordinary two double bed room.
Avenue Crowne Plaza Hotel and Suites
160 East Huron Street
Chicago, Illinois, 60611
(312) 787-2900

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