Back in March, I bought a YouSwoop coupon for a night’s stay at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago. I figured that I’d use it to have a girls’ night in slumber party some time this spring. That never happened, so I ended up using it Sunday night, the last night it was valid, for a little relaxation.
I was really happy with my stay, though I wish I’d made the reservation for Saturday night so I’d have some time to sleep in Sunday morning and take advantage of a noon check-out. It was weird walking out of the Hard Rock, which is a lovely boutique hotel (with a bar that I have yet to check out!), and straight onto the 151 bus to go to work.
I checked in at about 7:45 Sunday evening. The bar was pretty lively, and guests were getting ready to go out for a walk in search of dinner or just some entertainment. I think Blues Fest was just winding down a few blocks away in Millennium Park. The girl who checked me in welcomed me back, and requested the YouSwoop printout, which I was glad to have (even if it was a bit wrinkled after being in my purse all day). I got my room key and an envelope which contained a voucher for free breakfast at the China Grill.
Some pictures from my overnight stay are below:
The last time I stayed at the Hard Rock, the artwork in my room featured Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. This time, my artful companion was Angus Young. Unlike last time, my bathroom did not have enough wallspace to have art in there as well. Which was a shame (not really) as I enjoyed putting on my makeup and, okay, showering under the fierce watchful gaze of Ms. Tina Turner (really!).
My room had windows on two walls, giving me northwest, west, and southern views. This is what I was able to see:
- Northwest: What you see as soon as you enter the room and turn to your right. A view of the Chicago River, the IBM building showing its support for the Blackhawks, and the red brick building across the alley.
- West: The red brick building across the alley. There were two more windows on the western wall that were mostly obscured by the entertainment center which featured a flat-screen television. I watched the Tony Awards Sunday night. The program looked great. If only the performances were better!
- South: More buildings! If you peered slightly southeast, you could see Michigan Avenue and a little bit of Millennium Park. Though if you’re staying that close to the park, you may as well just walk to the park and look at Cloud Gate and the Crown Fountain in person.
I love the bathroom. So white and spare and sleek. Not like my bathroom at home which is due for a cleaning. For being completely interior to the room, it didn’t feel like showering in a broom closet. No tub (aw) but it feels airy. The shower has a half panel of glass instead of a curtain. No matter how hard I try, I always seem to splash water on the floor outside the shower, though. I was absolutely crazy for the citrus smell of the bath products, which I took home with me. No robes, but the towels were soft. I didn’t call for extra towels just to see how long it would take for housekeeping to bring it, but I may do that in future. Also because towels are handy.
The bad was not too squashy, or too hard. It was, in fact, just right. I didn’t arrange the pillows like I usually do, sort of angling them to support my shoulders and head, the way I do it at home. I tossed and turned, never really sleeping. Which was weird, as the bed was just right, the temperature was cool (I like to sleep in a cool room). Was it just so slightly humid? Maybe, or did I really have to eat that late night burger and cheesecake? I didn’t have an upset stomach, though I did go to Pappadeaux earlier in the day with Adrienne and Kathy to gorge on fried seafood. It was just me.
The room, a Deluxe King, wasn’t very big, which is something to be expected in an older building. But I’m a sucker for architecture, and the Carbide & Carbon Building is a gem. Still, though, it was just enough for me and the king size bed, as well as an armchair, desk, and entertainment center. The wardrobe was built into the wall separating the room from the lav.
I ordered a bacon cheeseburger and a slice of cheesecake with blueberries around 9:05, just to see how long it would take and also because for some reason I was starving but not for my leftover fried shrimp and catfish. The food arrived in 20 minutes, which was what the kitchen had estimated for its arrival time. Actually, it was a little early. Probably not too many guests on a Sunday night, so I figured it wouldn’t take very long. The food was not exactly cheap, but it was exactly what I needed. I asked for the burger medium, and it arrived medium well. Did I want medium rare? Not really, so medium well was fine. The cheesecake disappeared in about two seconds. Which means I must have liked it!
The next morning, I got breakfast at the China Grill. My ticket allowed me to partake of the buffet, which was set up at the back of the restaurant in front of the open kitchen. I’ve been to the China Grill at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegasages ago, so I’d like to come back to this China Grill and check it out. The decor was a lot like the restaurant in Las Vegas, but no drawbridge! The food was pretty standard breakfast buffet fare, with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, pancakes, and oatmeal. Separate tables bore fruit, pastries, yogurt, and pitchers of fruit smoothies.
I have to admit that I was cranky about the breakfast when I first checked in, tweeting that I would have preferred free wi-fi. I believe wi-fi would have cost $9.95 or $14.95 per night, depending on the amount of data I’d want to download. But it turned out alright, as I could focus on relaxing and enjoying my stay instead of staying up late and surfing the web (like I usually do). Given that I don’t usually eat breakfast, even though I’m supposed to, having it for free was a great incentive.
I guess the breakfast coupon was supposed to be a drink ticket for the bar, according to that Twitter update from @HardRockChicago. I replied that I hoped that I didn’t get anybody in trouble.
- The room had two phones, one of which was a cordless. The handset on the cordless either wasn’t working or it was charging that I couldn’t use it. I used the corded phone to place my room service order.
- I found two small notepads and a single piece of letterhead. No pen. I asked the nice young man who brought my food if I could keep his pen after signing the bill. But then who uses the stationery anymore besides me? Maybe I’m spoiled because my wee cabin at The Jane Hotel (where I stayed for a couple of days last spring on my last visit to New York City) came with a fat notepad of hotel stationery in a lovely salmon pink.
- Hi. My name is Jasmine, and I’m a stationery addict.
- I thought about looking for amenities like a fitness center, or at least about flipping through the binder of information you usually find in a hotel room. There was none that I could find, though I did have reading material:
- Time Out Chicago
- Rolling Stone
- some other magazine I don’t remember
- some coffee table book
- I debated jumping on the bed (the only rock star-ish behavior I could see myself indulging in) but considering all the food I’d eaten, I settled instead for dancing around a bit during the Tonys.
- cost of YouSwoop deal: $99/night. There were blackout dates, which included a few weekends but not all of them. This did not include taxes, which came to $14.48 (room state tax)
- room service (bacon cheeseburger with fries, blueberry cheesecake): $36.48 (that included tax and a mandatory 18% gratuity). I gave the man who brought it a tip.
- miscellaneous: $19. There is a Walgreen’s right across Water Street from the hotel. Which is where I went for snacks, as well as contact lens solution and a tube of mini toothpaste.
- photo set for this hotel stay [Flickr]
- pictures from my last visit in February 2009 [Flickr]
- I didn’t take a lot of pictures of The Jane (which I should have, as it’s supposed to be quite the hotspot now) but a couple made into the photo set for the trip I took (by Amtrak!) to New York last spring [Flickr]