Review Waldorf Astoria Chicago
This is post four of a ten part series of Chicago hotels reviews. Link to other hotel reviews are below. 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 Waldorf Astoria Chicago
Waldorf Astoria Chicago, 11 E. Walton (312) 645-1500. It’s located on the ground to 26th floors of the building. Floors 27-60 are condos. Hotel tax in Chicago is 17.4%. I stayed for two nights in late-December 2020.
This hotel originally opened in 2000 as the Elysian. It struggled before it was sold to Sam Zell in 2012 and re-flagged as the Waldorf. The hotel was recently sold again to the founder of Morningstar in late 2020. My theory is that it’s just too far from Michigan Avenue even though it’s only about two blocks away. I would want to be closer so I could easily get to all the buses on Michigan Avenue to all the attractions.
I’ve actually stayed at this hotel a couple of times when I had a credit card that gave me one annual free night. Some years I wouldn’t use it in my regular travels so I would do a staycation here. During this stay while my room was nice but the rooms have seen better days. As mentioned previously the hotel was sold recently so let’s hope they renovate the rooms. I booked a standard room and I was upgraded to a junior suite (with fireplace) with a city view. Apparently due to maintenance issues the fireplaces were not working, The lobby and hallways are beautiful and well maintained and the service is always excellent.
In terms of noise I didn’t hear anything outside. I always forget to specify that I don’t want an adjoining room and I forgot to and got one. On night one it was fine but on night two a couple of women and a child checked in. I walked past them on my way out. Ugh! Super noisy. I had to blast the tv and thankfully they went to bed early.
Everything in the hotel was closed except the fitness center, locker room, the spa and The Patisserie a small takeaway shop in the lobby. Before check-in someone texted me and I was able to communicate with the front desk via text during my stay.
Dining and Room service
I was given a $30 a day dining credit for my mid-tier Hilton status. This was enough to get takeaway from The Patisserie for breakfast both days. The food was very good. I’ve dined and boozed it up in the main restaurant, formerly Margeaux Brasserie, now called The Brasserie because they used to have an excellent happy hour. It was closed and there was no room service during my my stay.
Review Waldorf Astoria Chicago – Off the beaten path
There are a quite a few restaurants and bars nearby on Rush Street. There’s also a Potash Grocery store around the corner on State. There’s a Walgreens across the street. The always free Newberry Library is down the block. Free exhibits Newberry Library.
You can catch the State Street bus (CTA 36 bus) south into the Loop or north into Lincoln Park and Lakeview.
Walk to Michigan Avenue to catch the buses going to all the main attractions. Head south (CTA buses 147, 151) to Grant and Millennium Parks and the Art Institute. Take the (CTA 146 bus) south to the Museum Campus and Soldier Field (CTA bus 146). Take the (CTA bus 151) north to Lincoln Park Zoo, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Lincoln Park Conservatory.
To get to Navy Pier walk south to Chicago Avenue and take the CTA bus 66. To get to Wrigley Field or Guaranteed Rate Field walk to Chicago and State Street to the Red Line Station. Only ride the trains at night immediately before and after the game when there are crowds present. Warning: This CTA station has a ton of crime in and around the station so I do not recommend going anywhere near it at night.
To get to the Lakefront Trail walk east on Walton to Michigan Avenue, cross and walk north to Oak Street. There is an underpass to Oak Street Beach just north of Oak. Do not go along the Lakefront, Beach or Lakefront Trail at night. Ohio Street Beach is one block west of Navy Pier.
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.
Hilton website and app
The Hilton app and website has a “flexible stay” search option. 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. Generally weekends are more expensive than weekdays. Someone from the hotel texted me the day of check in and I communicated with them via text. There app is excellent and I used it twice to rebook my room because the rates kept going down.
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