Hotel Reviews: The W in Chicago, Illinois

January 2011

If you have the opportunity to visit Chicago, do it. Even at the start of a cold January, the city was great. I’m a warm weather kind of guy, so I need to visit in the summer, as well, but from the food to the sights to the history of the city, I was impressed with all it had to offer. If you’re looking for a good burger, try Kuma’s Corner. Another good restaurant is the Weber Grill Restaurant (little known fact: Weber brand grills began in Chicago). If you’re looking for a great tour, try Chicago Trolley Company. They offer a 15 stop tour on a double decker bus all around Chicago. Ask for Lance Romance to be your tour guide, he’s great. If you’re looking for a great view of the city, try the Sky Deck in the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). You won’t be disappointed. However, if you’re looking for a pleasant hotel, I would not recommend the W on Lake Shore Drive, near the Navy Pier.

I arrived on Thursday afternoon to begin a four day work trip in Chicago. After unpacking my gear, I was ready for a short siesta. I went to close the drapes and learned there are none. Only transparent shades that block maybe half the light coming in. There’s no way to make the room completely dark. Overlooking that and still attempting to rest a bit, I climbed in the king size bed and it was comfortable for the most part. I like having a lot of pillows and the bed offered me plenty. Unfortunately, I found a few strands of hair on the bed. I chalked it up as the maid’s and I overlooked that, too. What I couldn’t overlook, or more specifically, overhear was the sound of construction across the street. To me, there’s nothing worse than the shrill clang of hammers hammering, large drills drilling, and big trucks backing up when I’m trying to sleep. Beep beep beep… and on it went. I’ll give the W the benefit of the doubt, since it was out of their control.

After my short nap, it was time to get ready for the events of the evening. What does that mean? A visit to the shower fairy. My room offered a walk-in shower (no door) and a rain-style shower head. While I like the idea of warm water falling all around me, this shower was not that. If warm rain was a great dane, this was a min pin. The water fell in an eight inch radius and the best way I can describe it is this: if your right side was warm, your left side wasn’t. If you’re front was warm, you’re backside wasn’t. It was impossible for your whole body to be comfortable all at the same time because there wasn’t enough water to make it happen. And if you’re like me, I wash my hair and face with a cooler temperature than I wash my body, but with the water coming straight down from above, I either had to duck my head out or keep the water on a cooler temp. Neither idea was enjoyable. There was no bathtub. Free internet was not offered in the rooms, however it was offered in the hotel lobby.

To be fair, there were some attractive things about my stay in the W. My room offered an mp3 plugin to play my iPod through the room stereo, which helped drowned out the sound of construction. They had a complimentary robe for me to get comfortable in, which I did. While showering took some effort, the water was pleasantly hot. And they offer a complimentary service called “Whatever/Whenever.” This service included free rides provided by Acura to anywhere within 5 miles of the hotel. “Whatever/Whenever” also included free movie rentals (using the in-room dvd player). The hotel also extended a free printer service for all your document printing needs.

Good:
mp3 plugin
robe
walk-in shower
“Whatever/Whenever” service
hot water
free printing

Bad:
construction noise
walk-in shower, no door
rain water shower head
free internet only in lobby
no bathtub
no window shades

To sum up, if all you’re looking for is a large bed to sleep in, the W should be just fine. However, if you’re looking for an escape, a place to relax and forget the troubles of “the real world,” the W is not the hotel for you. Too many little frustrations that won’t sit well with you. Thanks for reading and let me know if you agree/disagree or have a different experience at this hotel in Chicago.

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Ali Fedotowsky The Bachelorette, Episode 8.

The only solace I have today is knowing that George Steinbrenner was alive long enough to see Ali meet the remaining four bachelor’s families. Talk about weight lifted off the shoulders. Wooo. *wiping nervous sweat from forehead*

First up on the hometown visit episode was Roberto. He takes Ali to the University of Tampa’s baseball field, where he played in college. They walked around the field and practiced batting and fielding. Clearly Ali is smitten with Roberto but an expert Bachelorette consultant friend of mine pointed out that Roberto doesn’t seem to be reciprocating the affection quite as much. Holy Justin Bieber, Batman! This could be crucial info as the season comes to a close. Ali and Roberto did more baseball related things, which apparently makes Ali laugh because she laughed quite a bit throughout the baseball field tour.

Ali: “Today’s date had all the elements I want in life.”

Yeah, first base, second base, third base… places you’ve already been with how many bachelors? Hiiiyoooo! Later Ali meets Roberto’s family. His dad pulled Roberto aside and called him “a big price.” I love when parents are encouraging. So much of what’s wrong in the world (and in this show!) would be remedied if parents would love their children and encourage them. Justin Bieber! I didn’t mean to get deep so quick. Sorry. Before the hometown date was over, Ali mentioned she’s getting cold feet. I only hear that phrase when it’s related to a wedding. Interesting.

the circle of trust.

The next hometown date was with Chris L. If I had to describe Chris in a few words: solid, genuine, deep. We learn from this date that Chris comes from good stock. His dad is cool, his brothers are cool, and his sister-in-laws are cool.  They live by the motto: “Love is the only reality.” While they were all talking, Chris’ sister-in-law asked Ali about the tennis bracelet he gave her in Portugal. My only question is, will Roberto mail the bracelet back to Chris L. when the show is over? There’s a Lambton circle of trust, and Ali won’t make it in.

Kirk Sir-Smiles-A-Lot hosted Ali in his hometown next. His parents are divorced so this date will include two separate visits with his dad then his mom. Turns out Kirk’s dad is passionate and professional about stuffed animals. Literally. Real animals. Stuffed. He brings Ali down to the basement to show her his trophies.

Ali: “What is this thing?”
Kirk’s Dad: “What that is, is a caribou foot that I put eyes on.”
Ali: “Wow.”

Unfortunately, this little visit didn’t seem to please Ali, which will not award Kirk any points. She probably thinks of Kirk as an apple that won’t fall from the tree. On a sidenote, Kirk’s dad if you’re reading this, I have a few moles digging up my yard that I’d love to have taxidermied. Email me. Part two of this date is at the home of Kirk’s mother. The headlines from this portion are that the cheesy potatoes were a big hit. That’s about as interesting as it got for the rest of that date.

The final hometown date was in Chicago with I’m-Wearing-A-V-Neck-That’s-Not-Really-A-V-Neck Frank. They meet on the Navy Pier, run to each other and hug. In a raspy voice, Frank says, “Ali.” They take a boat ride across the water, aaaand scene! On the boat ride, Frank revealed some of his insecurities about the relationship, which surprised Ali. Eight episodes into the season and this is the first time we hear of Frank’s doubts? Whatever happened to reality television? I’m suspicious that somewhere deep in the bowels of ABC there’s a host of writers along with a team of producers along with a pack of wolves along with Kasey who’s pitching songs he makes up on the fly.

In the end, roses went to Roberto, Chris L., and Frank in that order. It was Kirk’s time to go home, so he made like a pelican and flew out of there.

caribou foot with eyes.