Chicago Stories and Tips

Holiday Inn - Chicago City Centre

Holiday Inn HQ have declined to respond to our emails of complaint. This is what we sent them. # We wish to raise the utmost concern about the scams, ripoffs and poor service at the BA recommended Holiday Inn in Chicago City Centre. # We stayed there twice - before Christmas and then after Christmas. # Our main concerns are as follows:

Reservations & Room Rates:
[*] The reservation for our second visit was cancelled for no reason at all. Ee only discovered this after arriving late from a traumatic flight from Lexington, KY.

[*] During our first stay management increased our room rate from the agreed $108 to $161 without notice due to a ball game in town and were very reluctant to refund the difference when challenged about this.

Room Facilities:
[*] During our second stay the nonsmoking room 1412 smelt so badly of stale tobacco that we requested a complete change of sheets and underlay, which cured the problem but why did the previous sheets smell so badly?

[*] The overlay blanket had a huge tear in it and what looked like cigarette burns.

[*] At the end of our first stay the electronic key system was switched off so that we couldn't enter our room to collect our luggage after breakfast - we had to return to the front desk to have the keys reactivated.

[*] During both stays sometimes the electronic keys simply would not open the door to our rooms - the key system appeared old and unreliable.

[*] Tea-bags were not available from housekeeping; we had to continually request these from the front desk because housekeeping couldn't (wouldn't?) provide tea bags. We were told if we wanted tea, then we had to order it from room service (at cost).

[*] Only two coffee sachets were provided per night - one reg. coffee, one decaf.

[*] Only ONE very small shampoo bottle was provided for two people in a twin-bed room [*] The television system did not have any British news channels - VERY important to us since the U.S. newspapers had even less U.K. news.

[*] During our second stay the phones in 1412 had to be reprogrammed so that the 'Room Service' and 'Housekeeping' buttons etc., would work.

[*] Local calls were charged at £1.50 each.

[*] No-one could tell us (would tell us?) what the Hotel charges were for interstate and international phone calls to the UK would be.

Front Desk:
[*] When we left after our first stay we were told that the hotel's car to O'Hare Airport would be the same price as the Airport Shuttle but we were charged $40 to go to O'Hare, the Shuttle only charges $32.

[*] When this was pointed out to the Concierge staff when we left after our second stay all we got was sarcastic comments from them about not wanting to use the car service instead of the Shuttle. The Shuttle driver told us that this was not the first time that she had received complaints about this. [*] No loyalty programme membership discount tokens for meals were offered when we checked in for our second stay.

Spa/Fitness Club:
[*] The spa/sauna facilities for women were VERY small and cramped. This was not mentioned in the hotel description.

Restaurant (300 East, American Cafe):
[*] When we had fried Lake Perch and chips all we wanted to go with this were vinegar and brown sauce, however it took four visits by the waitress (who could hardly speak English), a visit by another waiter (who was then rude to the waitress within our hearing), and then a visit by the Chef, to obtain Heinz malt vinegar and Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce - by which time we had nearly finished our meal, which was steadily getting cold. We declined to leave a tip.

[*] The plates were invariably cold, making the food cold and unappetising.

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