November 18-20, 2016
Room Rate: 110 USD
I was in town to see family who lived outside of Chicago for an event on Saturday. Given that the gathering was taking place outside of the city, staying at an airport hotel (given the location’s proximity to O’Hare) seemed to be the most logical thing to do. There is no shortage of hotels right by the airport, but I decided to book my stay at the Westin O’Hare to earn a couple more SPG nights for the year. I was able to snag a room at $104 for a flexible rate.Jump to The Takeaway
Getting to the Hotel
Brian and I arrived fairly late – our flight was delayed about 30 minutes on our way out, so we didn’t land until about 9:45. It takes a bit of time to trek from the terminal to the pickup point – you’ll need to follow signs with a red icon to get to the hotel shuttle pick up point. The Westin’s shuttle picks up from Door #3.
The airport is a quick 7 minute ride to the hotel, so we arrived at around 10:15. The lobby was (oddly) busy, aflutter with young girls in their pajamas (did I just walk into a slumber party?)
There was no line at the check in counter, despite the busy lobby. They checked us in and upgraded us to a junior suite, which was very much appreciated. She asked if we would mind being near the elevator, since all the junior suites were located right by the elevator. Fortunately, I have no issues sleeping through some light noise, so I let her know it wasn’t an issue, but I appreciated that she asked. As my SPG Platinum amenity, I selected the breakfast option, since there was nothing right around the property and I didn’t feel like venturing out to find food the next morning. The front desk associate apologized for all the ruckus in the hotel – apparently there was a meet and greet type event with a youtube star and teenage fans had taken over the hotel or something of the like.
The hotel lobby looked very updated, lots of sleek finishes, plus some plants on the wall, but the floors were a little more plain, though practical.
As expected, the room was located right by the elevator. The 10th floor was a Starwood Preferred Guest floor, as denoted by the signage by the elevator banks.
Upon entering the room, there is a small entryway, with a sink and coffeemaker area to the left and the TV console and dressers on right.
The sink and coffee area was stocked with a small coffee maker and Starbucks coffee. I’m a big fan of iced coffee, so unfortunately, I never end up using these in-room coffeemakers.
On the console, I found a welcome present consisting of sparkling water(!), cashews, and blackberries. Included was a note from the property manager, who made note that it was my first stay at the hotel – which I appreciated that she mentioned! Hotels typically can see your stay history at the property, so it’s always nice when they specifically make mention of it.
On the TV console was a large screen TV, with the desk to the left.
In one of the cabinets on the TV console, I found the minibar – or so I thought. Upon opening up the refrigerator, I found that it was empty! A little bit odd, since I’d expect the average person staying at an airport hotel is a little more desperate for drinks or snacks so is more likely to open something up from the minibar, but maybe I’m missing something.
On the desk were two bottles of complimentary water.
To the left of the deks area was a chair and ottoman. I was surprised how little sitting options there were, given how spacious the room was/felt.
The bed was located behind the desk and sitting area, with plenty of space to walk around the bed. The bed was the standard Westin Heavenly Bed, which was as comfortable as expected. The pillows were soft but firm (my favorite!) – no complaints here.
If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a culprit for using my phone right up until I fall asleep, so I appreciate a socket right by the bed. There was one located at the base of the lamp(!). on the bedside table was also a radio/alarm clock/iphone dock, which had the previous generation 30-pin connector to plug into your iphone – which always baffles me. It’s been years since iphones have needed the larger connector to charge – I always wish hotels would update their in-room amenities!
One the bedside table was also a lavender balm, which is supposed to help you fall asleep. I was too tired to try this, though having this in-room is always a nice touch.
On the left side of the bed was the bathroom.
The bathroom was fairly large, though didn’t feel that way since there was a wall between the sink area versus the tub and toilet. Upon entering the bathroom, you’ll see the sink area, which was wonderfully spacious. I was a little surprised, given how much counter space there was, that they didn’t have two sinks in there.
As expected, the toiletries were the usual White Tea Aloe products, though this is the first time I’m seeing the new tube packaging (in contrast to the old bottles). Similarly, the leaf-shaped bar of soap was white now, instead of the green shade it used to be.
The closet was located in the bathroom right by the sink. It housed the safe, a luggage rack, an ironing board, and an iron).
As I’d mentioned earlier, the tub and toilet are separated from the sink area by a wall, So while the sink area was well-lit, the tub and toilet room was much dimmer – the entire area was lit by only one light.
The tub came equipped with rainforest-style shower, and a handheld showerhead. Neither had particularly great water pressure, which was a bit of a disappointment, given that these fixtures were clearly on the newer side.
Wifi is complimentary for Starwood Preferred Guest members and for guests who book directly with the hotel. The wifi was fine for most things you’ll need to do online, but streaming Netflix or Hulu was painfully slow.
Since we’d arrive so late, we were too tired to figure out dinner, so we ordered room service. I had the grilled chicken sandwich with mozzarella, which came with a pesto aioli (but I asked for this on the side). The sandwich really hit the spot for me – I’m not sure if it was because I was so hungry or because it was actually amazing, but I was more than happy with my meal.
Since there was no drinks in the minibar, I called the front desk to ask where I might be able to find some drinks (I’d forgotten to order one with my sandwich). The front desk associate let me know the vending machines were located on the 11th and 12th floor. What she didn’t mention was that there was only one vending machine located on each floor – you’ll find the snack vending machine on 11 and the drink vending machine on 12. On every floor, the vending machines are located right by the ice machines.
The restaurant in the hotel is called The Benchmark, which is located on the first floor of the property, right by the hotel entrance. Breakfast, including the SPG Platinum amenity is served at this restaurant.
The restaurant looks newly remodeled, with an interesting mix of wooden tables, metal chairs, and plush couches lining the restaurant.
While the center of the restaurant was filled with tables, there were plenty of plush couches around the sides for lounging.
I’ve had my fare share of Platinum amenity breakfasts, and I’ve seen the range of breakfasts – from a smaller selection of items, to the most incredible breakfast spread I’ve ever seen. This has got to fall at the absolute low end of the spectrum for SPG breakfasts.
The Platinum amenity breakfast is limited to the continental breakfast. This includes fruit, cereal, oatmeal, bread, and pastries.
If you’d like to add in eggs, bacon, and the like (including the option for the omelette station), you’d have to pay $6. While $6 is not a lot, I was completely put off by this – the actual free breakfast was so limited, even with the eggs and meat, the spread was smaller and more underwhelming than anything I’d seen at other properties that offer a completely complimentary breakfast buffet as the platinum amenity.
Toast is also available, though you’ll have to order this from your server.
The staff at the hotel was a little bit odd. One of the chefs noticed me taking photos of the breakfast spread and asked why I was doing this as though I was invading his privacy (even though I did my best to keep people out of the photos). Our waiter was also a little bit odd as well – he came off a little flighty and aloof and just a bit aggressive at the same time.
Since there is no lounge on the property, as an SPG elite, this is your only option for (complimentary) breakfast in the hotel.
As an airport hotel, the property does have an airport shuttle that runs daily from 5:00 AM to midnight, every 15 minutes. If your flight arrives or departs outside of those times, you can arrange for pick up with the hotel.
The property does have a gym on-site, which I didn’t get to check out while I was there. The hotel also offers a running map of the area, which you can also find on their website.
On the property is also a Starbucks, which is wonderfully convenient, since there is nothing in the immediate area you can walk to. The Starbucks is located in the lobby, on the side of the building opposite to the front desk and elevators.
The hotel also had a business center in the lobby, which had 4 computer stations and a printer.
This was located in the lobby as well, right by the seating, so I can’t imagine anyone taking any private business calls here, though it is convenient if you need to print out a boarding pass or the like.
Make a Green Choice: Yes
Check In: 10/10 – Quick and easy, with a polite front desk agent
Elite Recognition: 10/10 Upgraded to a junior suite, offered Platinum amenity, plus found a Platinum gift waiting for me in my room
Room: 8/10 – Large and spacious, though I would have loved better water pressure and (more) lighting in the bathroom.
In-Room Technology & Entertainment: 8/10 – Large TV, plus plenty of sockets by the bed, but points off for slow wifi and a dated radio/alarm with a dated iPhone charging dock (c’mon guys, it’s been over 2 years since the 30 pin dock connectors have been in use)
Staff: 8/10 – Most were friendly and courteous, though the staff in the restaurant were a bit odd.
Location: 9/10 – 7 minutes away from the airport by shuttle. Would only be better if this was actually in the airport.
On-Site Dining: 6/10 – Room service was good, though breakfast (and my experience there) left plenty to be desired
On-Site Amenities: 7/10 – Not sure I’m truly rating these amenities, but they were convenient.
Hospitality Services: N/A – did not avail of any concierge services during my stay
Hotel Appearance: 8/10 – The lobby had clearly been remodeled recently, though the floors and rooms were a little more plain vanilla.
Overall Rating: 75/90 (83%) ★★★★★
When I factor in how much I paid for the property (just over $100), I do think the value was there, especially when I factor in the upgrade to the junior suite. I was, however, incredibly put off by the $6 up charge for access to the complete breakfast. If I’m in the area again though, I would likely check out the Sheraton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel instead, since that property is an all-suite hotel and has a lounge, and pricing tends to be comparable to the Westin O’Hare.