My hotel life may never be the same. The last time I stayed in a hotel in Chicago I was 13 years old, the windows didn't open, and there were syringes in the flower pots outside the hotel. Let me tell you how incredibly far away from that experience my visit to the Sheraton Chicago was. Wow. I can't even put it on a number line. They don't belong on the same spectrum.
Less than a mile from the train station, we were able to ride the CTA train from O'Hare almost right to our hotel for only $5 (and $3 on our return trip). The hotel didn't have a shuttle, but it was only about a 45 minute train ride, and as a group of bloggers we were intrigued by the prospect of people watching! The nearby train station was also great because I don't think we saw hotel parking anywhere downtown for less than $60/night.
So we marched ourselves from the train to the hotel, where we were greeted warmly. They were on top of their game and knew that we were arriving. As soon as we said we were bloggers, most of the staff knew exactly that we were coming and were excited to welcome us. Sure, we're writing about our experience, but that's not always the reception you get as a blogger, so their organization was greatly appreciated.
The lobby was impeccable, with beautiful lighting and flowers, and a restaurant attached. We went to check into our rooms, which were neat, clean, and full of outlets! Have you ever traveled with a pack of bloggers? Outlets are a huge priority. In fact, let me show you the lengths I will go to to find an outlet:
|Photo Credit: Donna Hup of donnahup.com|
After hanging out in "'da club" we headed out to Navy Pier - again, less than a mile to walk. I thought the location was ideal. We were right on the river, close to a train station, right off Michigan Avenue, and right by Navy Pier. As a mom of three young kids, short distances are really the key to a successful vacation. Lugging diaper bags and small legs all over the city wouldn't necessarily be my idea of a good time, but the Sheraton was located next to enough attractions that we could spend a whole weekend filling our time right within walking distance.
When we returned from Navy Pier, and after we had visited the club, we came back to a wonderful surprise of chocolate covered strawberries, champagne, and Voss waters, along with a note welcoming us and asking us to contact the hotel with any needs we may have. This was an incredible touch. I don't have a lot of experience with blogger travel, but those in our group who do travel told us that this is not the norm, so we definitely appreciated the wonderful treat to end our first day!
Basically what it comes down to is this: I have always shied away from downtown hotels in Chicago due to the higher price, but this was a great lesson for me in "you get what you pay for." I don't think I would ever prefer to drive downtown Chicago if I could help it. Parking seems stressful, there are all kinds of fun one-way streets, and then there's Wacker running literally all four directions throughout the city. Being in a clean, safe, beautiful location, close to shopping, attractions, and many varieties of food is worth every penny! I'll definitely keep this in mind for future events - especially if our team returns to the IGI Chicago Style meet on Navy Pier.
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