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Travel Blogs from Chicago
To: Travel Blog
Sent: Wednesday, August 6, 2008 8:37:12 PM
Subject: Concert time
At beautiful Millennium park- a violin concerto, PJ 'appropriated' a
seat in the reserved section!
Today we took a bike tour, it was fabulous! What a great way to see the city. Getting fitted for helmets and bikes was kind of a hassle, but once we got going, it was all good. We had a great guide, and he had a good sense of humor and was a good storyteller.
We saw Lincoln Park, the Zoo, the Beach, and the Navy Pier, among other sights …
When traveling, we like to enjoy local spots, and try to avoid 'tourist' ones. Usually the food quality is quite good, and it is also usually affordable. Today was an exception, we ate a a place called 'Yolk" mostly because it was adjacent to the park and museum we planned to visit
What a great surprise! The spot was definitely touristy, but …
Please DO NOT click the Facebook like button...thanks!!
Got everything packed in the van and ready to take off at 4 p.m. Spent a few minutes trying to find Sam's phone. It was last seen in the family room on Saturday morning. Of course he had it on silent so that didn't help matters. We're hopeful it is in the house somewhere so we decided to keep looking for it when we get back ...
... com. Janice is the Editor of SkyChi.com, an international traveler, and a linguist. She has lived in France, Belgium, Venezuela, Argentina, and Turkey. Janice speaks French, Spanish, and some Turkish, and has the unique ability to communicate and understand people of other cultures. ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
- Room service
- Free High-Speed Internet
- Fitness/Health center
- Wheelchair accessibility
Historical Traveler Reviews James Chicago
A pleasant and upbeat experience
The location of this hotel was great. All the shopping you could want was a block away, with excellant food equally as close. Dispite having just bought a new mattress for my home bed, the bed and the bedding was heavenly. The staff was very friendly and extremely helpful. I want a T.V. at home that was like the one in my room. We had a great time for our first time in Chicago.
James was OK, but not fantastic
i just returned from a four night stay at the James. My teenage daughter and I went for a girls' weekend. First of all, the James is very nice, don't get me wrong. And, we paid less than $300 per night for our room, so we definitely got a good deal. There are just so many things they need to work on, none of which are major, but they do add up.
The good news is that the service is excellent. from the bellman, to the doorman, to the concierge, to the room service staff (who we got to know very well). All more than helpful, always cheerful, doing all they could to ensure that we were having a good time. And really, for me, that overcomes almost everything.
the beds were fantastic. lots of pillows, soft sheets, and comfy bed. we did love that. the TV was also great, as other reviewers have remarked.
The downfalls...the room smelled. i actually think it had been a smoking room prior to the hotel's renovation,and that smell hit us every time we walked in the door.
maid service was inconsistent. we were left washcloths only one day, which was odd. some days we were left with two towels, some days three (never four). our minibar wasn't restocked daily (so that when my daughter went to get her nightly reece cup, she couldn't have it!) the "house" slippers were always (inexplicably) left in the middle of our floor - go figure.
the wallpaper in our hallway was falling down. as you walked off the elevator, it was all peeling off the wall, and leaving quite a mess. again, not a really big deal, but for a hotel of this caliber in this location, it should have been fixed.
all these little things made me feel as if the hotel had opened before it was really ready. i'm sure that once these "little" things get ironed out, it will probably be great. but i'm not sure i'd go back. if the rate was under $275, i might. otherwise i'd be inclined to pay a little extra and go to the W.
Great Hotel, Great Location
I booked a hotel through hot wire and ended upt at the Tremont Hotel. Upon arrival the hotel had been over booked and they sent us to The James and refunded our payment. What a pleasant upgrade!! My opinion may be a bit skewed as the Tremont is not very nice at all but I thought The James was wonderful. Very trendy and modern. The staff was very helpfull. The 42 inch plasma TV in the room was perfect. The bed was a dream. Very clean lines and pleasant atmosphere. Never wanted to leave!
I just got back from a weekend stay at the James hotel, where I stayed with 4 other girlfriends of mine for a girls' weekend trip. This hotel was absolutely lovely and a delight. From the moment we were walking in the door, the staff and customer service was the best I have ever received at a hotel. The doorstaff, especially, went above and beyond to always be pleasant and friendly and just overall provided an exceptional customer service level. The room itself was perfect for 5 girls. The bathroom door, which was a sliding door, did break but the friendly maintenance person came immediately and fixed it. The elevators are very small in this hotel, but they are quick so you are not waiting forever. The contemporary decorations and design of the hotel are well maintained. As for location, I don't think it could be beat. The hotel sits 1 block away from Magnificent Mile and everything was within walking distance. I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone staying in Chicago.
Great hotel find and location
The James Hotel is a nice find in the Chicago hotel landscape. Very friendly staff and helpful with directions and recommendations for places to go. Rooms are small - reflective of the renovation of the previous very old hotel - but nicely furnished. Loved the bed and 52" TV. Would definitely stay again. Close to Michigan Ave & River North area, right off of Rush so location is fabulous! Did not eat dinner at the attached restaurant but had breakfast there. It was ok. Overall, a very pleasant experience.
Okay if you don't mind walking in on total strangers
We had heard rave reviews of the James hotel, so we were looking forward to our trip. I had called to confirm my reservation a day before I arrived, and the information and dates the hotel clerk gave me were correct. However, when I arrived the next day, the desk clerk told me that my reservation was for August, 2 weeks away. There was no other reservation. The clerk said, "And you are staying with a Jane Smith?"* I told her I was not, and I had no idea who that was.
The clerk then was able to find a room (after some searching on the computer), and gave us keys. When we stepped off the elevator, there were large patches of caulking on the walls. We then get to the room, and we were very surprised to find 2 guests already in the room. (They were very surprised, too). I called the front desk from the house phone on that floor, and the desk clerk told me I had to come back down to the lobby (including hauling all of our luggage back downstairs). (In my opinion, the hotel should have met us on that floor with the new keys).
I told the clerk what had happened, and she was about to give us someone else's room AGAIN, when another clerk caught the error and told her that the second room was already taken. We were then given a THIRD room. I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she was a new employee.
We finally got to our room, and luckily there was no one else in it this time. We ran into the lady who was in our first room, and she was the "Jane Smith" that supposedly was staying with us, according to the James' computers. She booked with Travelocity, and I booked with Hotwire, and the hotel had correctly confirmed the reservation one day ahead, so it appears this is the hotel's issue, and not a Travelocity/Hotwire issue.
The room was small. We had a view of the trash on top of the building next door (photo attached).
We paid $475/night and stayed for 2 nights.
The positives: The location of the hotel is great, and the decor is modern and hip. The beds are very comfortable. The doormen were friendly and very helpful.
* Name has been changed.
Very Disappionted with The James
Just returned from the James Hotel after staying at the Park Hyatt. I have stayed at most Chicago Hotels: Pennisula, Four Seasons, The Ritz, Fairmont etc. Had heard a little about the James and the Primehouse at the James. We paid MORE for the room at the James then at any of the above mentioned hotels. What a disappoitment! The room we stayed in had 2 double beds. The toilet broke and overflowed, the tub didnt drain while showering and the HUGE bathroom door that was almost too heavy to close broke several times. The closet had no door but a curtain to close and no drawer space for clothes at all. The room was very small and non descript. Much like staying at an IKEA but without the color. Windows to outside terribly dirty and the elevators dirty and small. The staff however was top notch and exceptionally helpful and friendly. The room had a huge 52" plasma TV that was nice. There is NO way this hotel is 4 star yet. The room rate close to $500.00 a night was WAY of of line. We paid more here than any of the above mentioned hotels. The rate should have been about half of that.
The James is an excellent addition to Chicago.The rooms were incredibly spacious and well laid out with a impressive attention to details.The bed was so comfortable I wish it was my bed at home!We randomly chose the James-not realising it was new-so I was expecting it to be a bit of a gamble but I was very impressed.The location is excellent-right next to good food and the magnificent mile.Which can be either a good or bad thing depending on the state of your credit card!The staff at the hotel were attentive and helpful-the concierge was fabulous at getting difficult dinner reservations.I was most impressed by the david burke steakhouse within the hotel-I was expecting just an average meal but what we got was one of the best meals of our entire vacation with attentive service and beautiful food.My boyfriend vistis Chicago for work and we wouldnt hesitate to stay at The James again-in fact we look forward to it!
James Hotel is Tops
I have stayed at many hotels traveling for both business and pleasure and I can honestly stay that The James is tops. The service at the hotel is first class. The rooms are modern and very comfortable. The location is perfect within walking distance to all of the great sights and restaurants. Highly recommend to both business travellers and couples.
Great Concept, great location
After reading about the James Hotel, our stay was everything I had expected. Beautiful decor. Like the W Hotel, but with a splash of color/whimsy & quaint & inimate...much better, I'd say. The rooms are small, but the layout was well thought out, so they appear bigger. Service was super attentive & location couldn't be beat, we walked to almost of of the hot restaurants in Chicago or jumped in a cab for five minutes or so.
Because it is new, there are a few kinks that need to be worked out, for instance, since one of the partners in this hotel is a co-founder of Equinox Gym, shouldn't that have been a priority; The Fitness center still wasn't opened to guest. Also, & this is a big one, upon checking out, we were given the wrong directions to the airport which made us miss our flight home. This is a common request & they should have gotten this right, with question.
We did call them, & to compensate they took off the valet charges & offered us a free night stay if we couldn't get on a flight...that is a fair compensation I'd say. If we didn't need to get back home, we might have taken the offer.
Even with those inconveniences, we would definitely stay here again.