The Intercontinental Chicago is located at the Magnificent Mile. If one travels from the airport to the hotel by public transportation (“Blue Line” CTA Train) one could do so, but has to change trains at “Washington” and walk three blocks from the nearest subway station, which is “Grand” on the “Red Line”.
The hotel is a high rise building, consisting of the historic tower of the former Chicago Athletic Club and a adjacent high rise built in the early 80ies.
Through a revolving door, one accesses the lobby from Magnificent Mile. The lobby is small compared with other hotels. It reaches over two floors on in the very front part close to the MagMile, while the major – rear – part is only on the ground level.
A few chairs and tables are available, but certainly you expect a more impressive lobby.
In the rear part are the desks to check in and out guests. There are two separate desks for Ambassadors / Royal Ambassadors. The concierge desk is located there as well.
Depending on part of the hotel your room is located in (new tower or historic building) you have to take the elevators on the left or right side of the lobby.
Located on the lobby level is also the bar “The Bar” and the restaurants “Zest”. While the bar is open 11:00 to 0:30, the restaurant serves breakfast starting at 06:00 on weekday and 07:00 on weekends and serves lunch, snacks and dinner until 23:00. The “ENO” wine, chocolate and cheese tasting room is only open Thursday to Sunday from 16:00 to midnight, on Friday and Saturday ENO opens at 13:00.
Also on the ground level and reachable from there is a Starbucks coffee. This is frequently used by guests in the morning for a coffee or something for breakfast.
The hotel offers a gym with pool on the 13th floor. The gym is over three floors, but each floor is small and narrow. The equipment is not the newest, but in good shape, though some machines are not working properly. Cardiometers, Treadmills and steppers are available for workout. In addition the hotel is offering a 25 m lap pool (half Olympic seize) for swimming. This pool was used by US Olympic participant Jonny Weissmuller, a member of the Chicago Athletic Club, which occupied this place before it became a
hotel. It was the first pool located on an higher floor. It is now used by the hotel and renovated but it still has the ambiance of the 1920ies. A very nice place for swimming some laps. It could be crowded in the afternoon, but it should be less crowded if one avoids the typical peak times for a gym.
A Business Center is available as are meeting and conference rooms of different style and size.
Stays 21 February 2009 -
visited on Winter in Chicago -
direct link to hotel InterContinental Chicago
Arrival Date: 21 February 2009
Departure Date: 22 February 2009
Room type booked: King Bed Main Building (got Junior Suite)
Rate Plan: Advanced Purchase Rate
Room Number: 2645
Room Rate: 139.00 USD (excl. taxes)
Status of Guest Program: Platinum / Royal Ambassador
I arrived at the hotel around noon and had to wait because a number of people were checking out and in and five people were queuing in front of me. Unfortunately the Ambassador Desk was not manned. But the agents were working fast and so the waiting time was not that long. The agent greeted and welcomed me in the hotel. I was addressed by name and the procedure was quite fast. However, no explanation of location of pool and gym were
made and also not of the times breakfast is served.
My room was a Junior Suite on the 26th floor in the new tower. The suite consists of a living and a separate bedroom. After entering the suite one was right in the living room, there was no hallway. On the left was the closet with ironing board and iron and on the right side was the entrance to the bathroom.
The bathroom had a bath, sink and a separate shower and the toilet separated by a door from the main bathroom. At the sink was the coffee machine. A make-up mirror and hair-dryer were wall mounted. Towels were provided for three guests, they came in big, medium and small size. Two bathrobes and slippers were provided for the use by the guest as well.
The room had a comfortable sofa and lounge chair as well as a lounge table. At the left wall was the minibar while on the other side was the entrance to the bedroom. In front of the window were a desk with phone, telefax and LAN connection. A lamp was there as well and the desk was big enough for working on a laptop. A few more power outlets would have been nice.
The bedroom was smaller than the living room and had a king bed with two bedside table with lamps and on one of them a phone while a Bose Wave Radio with CD Player on the other. A lounge chair was placed in front if the window and a big flat TV was on a sideboard in the bedroom. The bedroom is really packed and I think it would have been better not to put a lounge chair in the room. I would have preferred to have the closet in the bedroom rather than in the living room, but I have to admit, that it would have
been impossible to put a closet in the bedroom due to limited size of the room.
The decoration of the room was with brown and warm colors and the furniture in good shape, however some scratches and some stains in the carpets were visible.
The heating was very powerful and one could not really cool to room down a bit if one did not open the window, which is not the best way to do it in term of power efficiency and environmental friendly.
The attendant at the gym was not the friendliest one. I was arriving in proper training outfit and enforced to use the changing room. My only question is, into which clothes I should have changed.
Check out was fast and friendly. The fee for the use of the gym was taken off the bill, because the use is free for Royal Ambassador Members. I was asked I was satisfied with the stay, which I was.
The concierge was also very helpful and I got all the information I needed regarding the search for a specific store in one of the suburbs.
A nice change from the not so nice stay in on of the other landmark hotels in downtown Chicago, The Drake. Staff was friendly and helpful and the rooms are nice, despite the fact of lacking some charm, especially in the modern tower. To me, the pool is the absolute highlight of this hotel. Swimming in this nice ambiance in the first pool on a higher floor built in the late 1920ies was a dream of me for a long time and I am more than happy that I made this dream come true and it will not be my last stay in this