The Peninsula Chicago
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Historical Traveler Reviews The Peninsula Chicago
As long as you don't have the Sunday Brunch ...
The Peninsula is either letter perfect or head-scratchingly wrong.
There's no in between. More the former than the latter, thank heaven, but for what we're paying and for the reputation it brings, some of the stuff that goes on here is just plain wrong.
The arrival is a little confusing. Our car and bags were handled smoothly, even though we had brought our dog and he comes with a lot of equipment. (That's right, Peninsula accepts pets under 30 lb!) That's a good start. We move through the revolving doors, to the ... front desk?
No, it's the bell stand. The nice man tells us to take the elevator to the hotel lobby. We do, and we walk up to the ... front desk? No, it's the concierge. They politely point us to our left, and there's the front desk. We get a complimentary upgrade for the asking, and we are escorted to our room for the quick tour. So, even despite our confusion, we're off to a pretty darn good start.
Some hotels would call our room a junior suite, it's that big. Separate dressing area, decadent bathroom with separate tub (not a jacuzzi, alas) and shower, desk and loveseat-size sofa in the main part of the room. The bed was so comfortable, I forgot to check the label to see who makes it. I would get tired just standing next to it. We also get two bathrobes and slippers. And then there's the "James Bond" control panel. Everything in the room is wired to a bedside panel. Ever want to hit a button that would just light up enough lights for you to walk from the bed to the bathroom? Peninsula's got it. Ever want to answer the phone in the tub and speak hands-free? Ditto. There's even a button on the phone that they program to show you the time in your home town.
This is as nice as it sounds, but it can get confusing. We hit a certain combination of buttons that left the bedside sconce lights off all the time. And, you can't turn the TV off with the remote, you have to turn it off at the console. So I guess it's possible to be too high-tech. The only negatives -- too little closet space, and no coffee maker. Score another point for the room. (Note another thing here -- no icemakers in the hall. This was important because we brought a cooler with our dog food, and we had to keep it filled with ice. But the staff was glad to fill it for us.)
We then hit the spa. We both had a fine experience there, everything you could ask for and a solicitous staff to boot. We regret not bringing our swim suits, because the lap pool has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the Chicago skyline. Score another point.
Our only food & beverage experiences were at the Bar and Sunday Brunch.
Nothing wrong with the Bar, except the high prices, but hey, this is the Peninsula. Now then, about that Brunch. The food was very good (and again, high-priced), but the service wasn't just bad, it was nonexistent. I had to get up and find our waiter twice to get beverage service, and when it was time to leave, I walked to the front stand and told them that was our table over there, charge it to our room. And the place was only about two-thirds full! The fact that this was so shockingly out of step, where everywhere else we're treated like royalty, made it seem even worse. They really need to kick some behind here.
The Concierge was pretty disappointing. I tried to get them to get us show tickets, and they asked for my credit card number. I should have realized that they can't use my credit card, because they aren't me, but then they compounded the error by saying sorry, we can't help you.
I felt like saying, okay, let's open our copy of Concierge for Dummies, Peninsula buys the tickets then charges them to my room. But I let it slide. Later, my wife gave them a post card to mail, and was told the stamp costs 23 cents. I know, she said. The concierge said, should I charge it to your room? There was an awkward silence as my wife was formulating one of those cleverly obscene ripostes that are her specialty. But she too let it slide, and fished a quarter out of her purse. For what we're paying, postage comes gratis.
And since bad news comes in threes, let me tell you about the valet charge. $36 a day. That's three-six. Didn't get that bomb dropped on us until checkout. Anyone thinking about driving to Peninsula, note that there's a garage directly across Rush Street that charges $20 a day.
Despite these negatives, we give the Peninsula overall high marks and recommend it. We'd even say it's a good value.
From an Asian couple, They welcomed us...
I could not understand the 1-star Asian reviewer who felt discriminated against [11/16/2003]. My wife [born in the Far East] and I [born near NYC] are both full-blooded, unquestionably picture-perfect Asians. On the numerous occasions we've been to the Peninsula, we have been very welcome in all areas. Maybe we were lucky. We have NEVER been bounced.
The best in the world
The Peninsula group of hotels is the epitome of luxury, taste, style and class. If you want the best and want to experience a staff that will anticipate your needs, then stay at ANY of the Peninsula Hotels. I have stayed at the propeties in Chicago, Los Angeles and Bangkok. All are at the top of their league...by far! For a guest of The Bar at the Chicago hotel to imply discrimination at an Asian hotel company is absurd! While staying at the Chicago property for 5 nights, I encountered many Asian employees. There is NO discrimination here. You will only experience the most pleasant hotel stay of your life. Not to be missed!!
Incredible Facility, OK Service & severe Noise problem
The Peninsula Chicago is one of the nicest hotel facilities this hotel snob has visited in 20+ years of travel. The room service, maid service, health club, beds, HVAC & room lighting are outstanding & exceptional.That's why it's such a shame one can hear those in adjacent rooms sneeze, cough, flatulate, argue & engage in sex. (Although not necessarily in that order).It's also shameful that the front desk ignored my 1st request to change rooms. On the final day of my visit, after being kept awake from 5am by the room next door's ongoing alarm buzzer, I was moved...but not before security personel were sent to confirm my complaint! Furthermore, this (former) repeat customer has not heard from anyone representing the property regarding his complaints or concerns in the month since this incident.Notwithstanding the exquisite facility, I prefer sleep to luxury.
Worth every penny
We stayed at the Peninsula on 12/27. From the time we checked in until the time we left we received outstanding service. Upon arrival we were upgraded to a junior suite that overlooked Michigan Avenue and the Water tower. Our room had a spacious bathroom and a super comfortable king size bed. The room was extremely well appointed with everything you could hope to need during your stay. There is a beatiful atrium area on the second floor where they serve afternoon tea and live jazz in the evening. There is a cool bar with a fire place that is also located on the second floor. The hotel is located in the center of great shopping and restaurants. From talking with others this is now "The" place to stay in Downtown Chicago. It is expensive but worth it. I will be back.
Simply the Best
I travel for my job and stay at hotels all over the world. I have had plenty of experience with the cream of the crop, as well as average hotels. And... when not on planes... I live in Chicago, so I know a thing or two about the local hotels. I've stayed there 5-6 times.
Given that backdrop - take my word that this hotel is not only the best in Chicago, but probably among the best in the world. Why? Take the main things you look for in hotels: 1) comfort is second to none, great decorating, spacious rooms, highest quality beds, pillows and linens, and all very new - the hotel is one of the most recently built ones in the city; 2) location is the best is Chicago, right on the Mag Mile, elevated off the street to reduce noise, views of the Water Tower and the lake. What more can one want? 3) service, in my experience, was extremely attentive. We ordered breakfast and it was delivered almost faster than we could get dressed, the concierge helped arrange several things and they were exceeedingly friendly and concerned about our enjoyment.
I should also note the spa is out of this world, and the restaurant is top-rated as well.
I cannot comment on the some of the other ratings, but anyone who has an real experience traveling would instantly recognize that hotel is a true gem. I cannot imagine anyone could find a single fault with it.
This level of service comes at a price, but if you can afford it, you cannot go wrong. It easily tops the other hotels in its price range.
I think they discriminated against me
I went there with friends on a Saturday night after dinner. It was a friend's birthday, so I was dressed pretty well. I was able to get into the bar, but I then left and went to the bathroom. Imagine my surprise when I was told that I couldn't re-enter the bar, because it was 'too crowded.' I calmly and politely asked if I could at least see if my friends were still there. One of the 'bouncers' went in to check and came out about 30s later saying that there was noone by my friend's name in there. I tried calling my friends, thinking that they had left.
Finally one of my friends came out. The rest of the night when my friends went to the bathroom they re-entered the bar without a problem.
At this point I will say that I am Asian, and my friends were white. It was a pretty uncomfortable situation to be in, especially since I was about to leave my friends, several of whom were from out of town. It was their analysis, and I have to agree, that it was racially motivated. In any event I have to say to avoid this place, if you oppose bad service and/or discrimination. I'm not convinced it was discriminatory, but it's not as if I'm a scruffy-looking guy or anything. And surprisingly I didn't lose my temper and start insulting them or behaving inappropriately. So it's hard for me to explain what happened but I would still say to stay away.
An amazing hotel
Started out at the W Hotel Lakeshore...checked out after being there 10 hours...absolutely horrible...found out it was an old Days Inn, in my opinion it still is, with a coat of brown paint and a 250.00 a night increase in price (the worst hotel)...moved to the Penisula the next day...I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful this hotel is...I travel the world and the service, attitude, quality of this hotel was the best I have EVER seen...the staff was more than friendly. Every staff person from the front desk to people you would see in elevators acknowledged you with a hello, how are you, how is your day...they were definetly TOP NOTCH...the W Hotel lake shore was $279.00 a night and the Penisula was $379.00...the extra $100.00 a night is more than made up for in the size of the room, the amenities, the spa, gym, service, etc. A wonderful hotel that i will stay in on every visit to Chicago.
It seemed as though I was the first person to stay in that room, it was so clean and fresh, it was amazing...The W lakeshore looked as though it had been hit by a bomb and they had some extra brown paint lying around and slapped it all over...rooms cannot get smaller than those at the W Lakeshore...if you can afford a bit more, the Penisula will give you 100 times the quality...Congrats Penisula for making my stay the best hotel experience I have had in a long time....
Very Disappointing and Overrated
The service level at the hotel bordered on horrible. The staff had an attiutude and were unfriendly and the level of cleanliness in my room was poor. THe location is great but other than this the hotel should not get high ratings.
Lobby Dining & Dancing
What a treat to dine and dance in the sophisticated lobby of the Chicago Peninsula this past Saturday (3/25/2003)! We were actually booked for the Shanghai Terrace. But in passing thru the lobby, we heard the magical music of Stephanie Browning and her trio. We could not leave. After a magnificent dinner by a most attentive staff, we had three incredibly pleasant hours as we danced and danced .. just like an old-time movie. Total costs less than a C-note, but pricelessly valued memories for my wife and me.
TripAdvisor Reviews The Peninsula Chicago
Travel Blogs from Chicago
... and Sonoma before heading home.
This trip will put Dad in all 50 states and something like 12 foreign countries. As always, this isn't just a "vacation" but a journey and an adventure. We'll check back in as soon as we can. Meantime, I have to finish packing. Much more to come!
Dave And Paul ...
... the stairs and not convenient. The bar soon called last orders anyway so they went to get a last beer.
Weirdly, within five mins of calling last orders, the bar put the lights on and bouncers started ushering us out. Pretty unfair, anyone who had bought a drink would have to down it. On our way out we paused by the door so Sam could do that, and Julia could drink a bit more. A bouncer called out to us to hurry along and Julia told him he could go F himself, she was ...
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