Review Intercontinental Chicago Mag Mile
This is the first of a ten part series of Chicago hotels reviews. During lockdown from November 2020-February 2021 I took some staycations. At the time hotels were offering insanely low rates plus I had some accumulated free nights.
Pretty much everything in all hotels were closed at that time so I won’t be reviewing too many amenities. You can check the link to the hotel for more details. I also don’t discuss decor because I don’t care about that. When I travel I care about location, price and cleanliness. That is I want a clean room close to transit and all the things I want to do at a reasonable price.
Review Intercontinental Chicago Mag Mile
Where: Intercontinental Chicago, 505 N. Michigan, 312-944-4100.
Hotel tax in Chicago is 17.4%. This hotel charges a $15 nightly “Destination Fee”. The Destination fee includes in-room WiFi, daily bottled water, local phone calls, 24/7 access to fitness center, access to indoor pool. I stayed for two nights in mid-November 2020.
This is a great location to be based at when visiting Chicago. It’s located on Michigan Avenue with easy access to transit, restaurants at all price points, shopping, museums, the lakefront and Navy Pier. If you like to swim stay here! They have a fantastic pool. More on that later.
Hotel rooms recently renovated
I stayed in a standard room in the Executive Tower (the original tower built in 1929) with a side view of Michigan Avenue. The hotel is 42 stories with two towers. Even with the latest lockdown in effect at the time (November 2020) it was still pretty noisy from buses, horns and sirens. The front desk told me that they renovated all their rooms in the last two years. The other tower, the 26 story Grand Tower, is located on the north side of the hotel. It was added in 1961.
Everything in the hotel was closed except the fitness center, locker room, the magnificent pool, the spa and Starbucks (open 7AM-3PM). You can’t order through the Starbucks app at this location. The hallways while dimly lit but appeared to be very clean and not worn out. Before my stay someone from the hotel texted me and I was able to communicate with them via text throughout my stay. The hotel is pet friendly for a fee. I’ve seen dogs in the elevator lobby in the past because in normal times I use their lobby restrooms when walking around. There is a part-time concierge. Concierge hours fluctuate due to Covid.
Dining and room service
The hotel has a Michael Jordan Steakhouse and Eno Wine room. I have never been to either. Room service was not available when I stayed.
The Shops at North Bridge mall is across the street and there are a ton of restaurants and bars nearby at all price points. The buses going down Michigan Avenue go to all the main attractions. Head south (CTA buses 147, 151) to Grant and Millennium Parks, the Art Institute. Take the (CTA 146 bus) south to the Museum Campus and Soldier Field (CTA bus 146). Take the (CTA bus 151, 147) north to Water Tower Place and 900 N Michigan. Take the (CTA bus 151) north to Lincoln Park Zoo, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Lincoln Park Conservatory.
To get to the Lakefront Trail, Navy Pier or Ohio Street beach take the stairs in front of the hotel down to lower Illinois and catch the 65 Grand Avenue bus going East. Or walk. Don’t go down there at night! To get to Wrigley Field or Guaranteed Rate Field walk two blocks west on Grand Ave. to the Red Line Station. Only ride the trains at night immediately before and after the game when there are crowds present.
To get to Oak Street beach walk or take the 151 or 147 bus to Michigan and Walton/Delaware. Do not get on an express bus! There is an underpass to Oak Street Beach. Do not go along the Lakefront, Beach or Lakefront Trail at night. Ohio Street Beach is one block west of Navy Pier.
In ordinary times the hotel offers a recorded self-guided tour of the hotel. The hotel is architecturally significant. Read more on the hotel website.
I always recommend signing up for hotel loyalty programs. They’re free and they usually offer a member discount plus you’ll get emails alerting you to sales. Always click on the Offers, Deals, Specials, etc. tab on every hotel website to find current deals. Log in to your account when you’re searching. Read all the terms and conditions before booking including the terms for changing and cancelling. Some hotels offer prepaid rates. I never book those. Regardless of how attractive the “no cancellations” rate is don’t do it! There are too many uncertainties, especially now, and you don’t want to lose your money.
Check your rates after booking
Whenever I plan a trip I continually check my room rates up until I can no longer cancel. You’d be surprised how many times the rates go down. In normal times you can just call the 800 number and get them to change the rate. If your reservation allows changes call. 99% of the time I make a new reservation online and then cancel the old one online.
IHG website and app
The IHG website does not have a “flexible stay” search option like Marriott and Hilton. For example online flexible stay options allow you to search for a two night stay on any days in a particular month so you can find the cheapest rate. With IHG you have to search day-by-day. Generally weekends are more expensive than weekdays. The app is also buggy and it logs you out. You cannot check in remote via the app.
Join Lettuce Entertain You’s Frequent Diner Club. Use my link and get $10 free! (I also get $10 after you dine. Thank you.)