A safari is one of those exotic sounding vacation ideas…
Chicago is a town full of great hotels, many of which are located right downtown in either The Loop or the River North area. If you’re going on a short trip into the city, this is definitely where you want to stay because that is where most of the touristy things and many great restaurants are located. Location and comfort were my two main criteria (and price plays a part, too!) when deciding to say at Hotel Sax on our last trip to Chicago. The hotel is part of the Thompson Hotels group, and is a modern boutique hotel with an outstanding location. The hotel is right next to the House of Blues, almost right on the river, 2 blocks from some of my favorite Chicago restaurants and 3 blocks from the nearest El train station.
The hotel has a very modern and upscale feel to it, starting in the huge lobby. We thought that the customer service at the front desk was excellent, and the concierge was quite helpful with some restaurant recommendations (I wouldn’t have found Grahmwich without them!). The rooms were not huge, as is the case with many boutique-style downtown hotels in any city, but they were very well decorated and felt very spacious. The comfort of the bed is always important to us and this one was no exception. The bed, pillows and all the bedding had a very luxurious feel to them – and we liked the look and feel of the padded headboard on the wall. Our room didn’t have a fantastic view due to some neighboring high rises, but we loved the huge windows and all the light they let in.
We only had two negatives during our stay. The first came from the people across the hall holding what sounded like a kegger in their room one evening. Fortunately, they cleared themselves out before I needed to call someone from reception to keep them from being too obnoxious. The second was from the concierge, who preferred to recommend us to more “upscale” restaurants than to a place that served great Chicago hot dogs. Her recommendations in general were excellent – but surely it wouldn’t kill her to also be able to recommend a place where you can get the food (no matter how low brow it may be) that the city is famous for. Incidentally, one of the most famous hot dog places in town was about a 5 minute walk away. It didn’t mar our experience in any way, but no one wants to defend their food choices to someone they’re trying to get a recommendation from.
Everything else was great. It was such a short stay that we weren’t able to check out the hotel’s lounge or restaurants, but based on everything else we would definitely stay here the next time we’re in town. Maybe next time we’ll try the restaurant – although with Rick Bayless’s XOCO just a 3 minute walk away, I admit that it’s probably not too likely!