Review: Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile

I visited this property late last summer for a one night stay.  Talk about running behind on writing a review!  This hotel used to be a Wyndham and had a pretty bad reputation.  I’d never stayed there before but I’d heard from folks who vowed they’d never stay there again.  Well, times have changed. Mag Mile is one of 5 Hyatt properties in greater downtown Chicago and definitely represents the brand well.

For award nights, this property is a Category 5 in the Hyatt Gold Passport system, which means 20,000 points a night for a standard room.  This hotel is not located on the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave), but it’s a very short walk to the heart of the shopping district.

The lobby of the hotel is actually a short elevator ride from the street.  The lower lobby is fairly nondescript, though there is a helpful bell staff there to assist you with luggage.

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The fact that all the customer public space is contained one floor above the street is part of what makes this property special.  Hyatt has done a great job segmenting this space into a bunch of unique spaces.  You exit the elevator at the front desk where there are a couple pockets of soft seating.  As is a custom in a number of Hyatt properties (and a lot of newer properties), the desk is a lower profile and split so the staff can walk out and greet you.

To the right of the desk is an area that could best be described as a business center, but is so much more unique.  There are a handful of large iMacs, soft seating, and a library.  This area is separated enough from the rest of the lobby as to be quiet, but still open and close enough to everything else going on.

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To the left of the front desk is another soft seating area  that begins the transition to the bar. In between, though, there’s a sushi bar (!) and then finally the bar and restaurant.  Again, the spaces are very well segmented with plenty of places to sit and have a semi-private meal/conversation.  I didn’t get a chance to try the sushi bar but I intend to on a trip I have coming up shortly.

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I was upgraded to a corner suite, which turned out to be a very spacious room.  The living room area has a large couch and some soft seating as well as a work desk.  Hyatt has a habit of picking out eye appealing finishes for rooms and this one was no exception.  However, I do wish they would consider a more ergonomic desk chair, possibly one with wheels.  It’s a small nit, but I do tend to work in my room and always appreciate a good desk chair.

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The bedroom area was sizable, with some soft seating and blackout blinds.  Plenty of plugs and small night lights make this room very comfortable.  The bedroom is separated from the living area with french doors in case someone needs to take a nap while people hang out in the living area (think families traveling with a baby).

The bathroom is a function of the structure of the hotel.  The entire room seems to wrap around some structural columns or infrastructure like vents.  The bathroom takes the brunt of this in a bit of an odd design but still functions well.  I might have chosen a lighter wallpaper or brighter light fixtures since there’s not a lot of natural light, but it’s actually pretty spacious given the constraints.

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I also got the chance to tour two other types of rooms.  First was a suite that will be the normal upgrade Diamond members can expect to get when using a Diamond suite upgrade.  This is an oversized bedroom with a large L-shaped couch, some soft seating and a work desk.  For a downtown property in a major US city, it’s a decent sized room and nicely appointed.  It’s comparable in size to the junior suites I’ve received at the Hyatt Regency Chicago but better furnished (though I haven’t seen the renovations there yet).

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The standard rooms are great.  Plenty of lighting, electrical outlets, and a personal favorite of mine, a refrigerator.  A new flat screen TV and completely renovated bathrooms round out a really nice room product.  I’d be very happy in one of these rooms.

As a category 5 property, I think this is a touch high at 20,000 points a night when I look at their average rate.  That being said, their rate has risen a lot and continues to rise.  This puts the property in between the Park Hyatt (Cat 6) and Hyatt Regency Chicago (Cat 4).  I’d say that the Hyatt Regency, having gone through a renovation recently is probably a better value for some folks at 15,000 points a night.

I was always “fine” staying at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.  But the more reserved nature of Mag Mile suits me better.  It’s well-appointed, well located, and the staff was exceedingly helpful during my short stay.

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