I’ve stayed at this property a few times in the past. It’s well located with a decent sized club for Diamond members. The hotel consists of two towers (East and West). I’ve generally found the rooms in the West tower to be in better shape, but the walls seem thinner. So, upon check-in for my most recent stay, I was a bit concerned to find I had been put in the West tower. I was greeted as a VIP and thanked for my loyalty and sent on my way.
As I rounded the corner on my floor, I was pleasantly surprised to find a double door for my room. Suite upgrade! This has been a recurring theme lately with Hyatt, and one I’m quite pleased with. This is actually the second time I’ve been upgraded at this property in the past year without using a suite upgrade. The room was still one big room, but had a living room the size of a regular hotel room that transitioned to the bedroom with a large desk for work. The room was in really good shape even though it didn’t look like it had been recently renovated.
The bathroom was a tad on the small side, but nicely appointed.
The peak of this stay was most definitely the service. 2 minutes after I reached the room, the VIP manager who checked me in called to ask if I needed a late checkout. I thanked her for the room and she was very gracious and warm. I told her I knew they were sold out for a convention and that I would be happy to vacate my room on time since I was moving to another property for my second night in Chicago. She assured me that my late checkout was part of my benefits and she would be happy to honor it (more on that benefit later). I politely declined again, but thanked her for the offer.
She had a great personality, and this property has been very consistent offering me benefits in the past. And, as I mentioned, I’ve been upgraded in the past even though I didn’t use a confirmed suite upgrade (a benefit all Diamond members are allowed to use 4 times a year). I’m always a big proponent of trying to find a loyalty program to have some level of status in, whether that’s through stays or credit card spend. But, the longer I travel, the more I realize that picking the right brand to patronize makes a huge difference.
I’ve already gotten 3 or 4 upgrades this year in 20-plus stays with Hyatt, all without redeeming any upgrade certificates. And, while Starwood does offer upgrades based on availability for all stays, I can honestly say I’ve never received as many upgrades on an annual basis with Starwood over the past 5 years as I have with Hyatt in the last 2.
Will that stay the same? I’m not sure. But Hyatt definitely has the feel of a much smaller company applying great customer service trapped in a big hotel chain that’s opening new properties at a pretty decent pace.