This having been my 6th time visiting Chicago and my 6th time staying somewhere different, I’ve experienced many sides of The Windy City and can confidently point just about anyone in the right direction as far as where to stay, depending on interests and reasons for visiting.
The W Chicago Lakeshore was in a great location. Originally, I was a bit worried that it wasn’t closer to the John Hancock Observatory building, the Water Tower Shops, and that area. However, what we traded proximity for was a beautiful view and a quieter, more residential feel. The hotel is perched right by the lake with a stunning view of the Navy Pier and is about a 7 minute walk to the Magnificent Mile and the area mentioned above. It’s also closer to Millennium Park and some of the museums than if you were to stay near Michigan Ave. and E. Chestnut St.
For those who like to go on a jog while on vacation, The W is in the ideal location because it’s across the street from the winding Lakeshore Trail. I did one of my most memorable morning runs there during my trip. The view of the sun rising, the water, and the Navy Pier was breathtaking and the wind coming off the lake was refreshing.
The hotel is modern and the decor very cool. The looks are sleek and shiny and the rooms have city scenes on the walls as well as interesting art throughout. Despite The W brand of hotels being somewhat known for nightlife, the rooms were quiet at night and the beds comfortable.The hotel gets an A+ for cleanliness.
There is a buffet breakfast that can either be purchased or included in the room rate. It’s just OK, with eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, and cereal. The service in the restaurant is hit or miss–we saw a few patrons taking a more proactive role, going up to the wait stand and grabbing their own drinks. Our waitress disappeared for a good 30 minutes at one point. There’s also no one (and no sign) at the front of the restaurant to either direct people to a table or to tell them to seat themselves, so most people that approached the dining area stood awkwardly for a few minutes while waitstaff walked by and ignored them before finding their own seats.
The other bummer was that we went to Gino’s East one night and had some killer Chicago style pizza. Of course we had some left over and couldn’t let it go to waste, so we brought it back to the hotel. Much to our chagrin, what looked like a refrigerator in the room was nothing more than a black box that did not open. I then read in the hotel information card in the room that refrigerators are available upon request. We called for a fridge but they were unfortunately out of them. Our tasty lunch for the next day went to waste in the trash can.
The last thing I noticed was that the elevators don’t have properly functioning sensors. There were a few times I saw people stick their arm between the elevator doors to wait for someone and the doors kept closing, until the person had to jerk their arm out and the elevator left. It didn’t happen every time, but enough that it was worrisome for small children and people who weren’t quick enough.
I would put this in my top two favorite places I’ve stayed in Chicago and I’d definitely stay again. The location was perfect and the hotel itself very upscale as well as a reasonable price by Chicago standards. The W Chicago Lakeshore is perfect for young people looking for a unique place to stay or celebrating a special occasion like a birthday or bachelor(ette) party.
The morning run is my best memory, so if you are an avid runner or like to exercise outdoors or even just stand by the water (there is a small beach near there), there’s absolutely no better place to stay.
CAITLYN WITHOUT A COMPASS