On a recent business trip to Chicago, I stayed at the recently renovated Westin O’Hare. After grabbing my bag from baggage claim at O’Hare, I followed the maze down to the shuttle center, and boarded the Westin’s complimentary shuttle. The driver threw my bag into the back, and we were on our way to the hotel. I’m not sure whether the driver was having a bad day, or just doesn’t like people, but he didn’t ask how my flight was, confirm my destination, or say anything at all.
Tip: Wear comfortable shoes, there’s a long walk between baggage claim and the shuttle center.
Photo shared with me by CentralMNMom
A great thing about staying at the Westin O’Hare, besides the fact they’ve just completed a massive renovation of their rooms and meeting space, is the short five minute ride from airport to hotel. My hopes of grabbing a shower and changing clothes before lunch, were dashed when Maria at the front desk said my room wasn’t ready. With at least an hour to wait before my room was available, I sat in the cafe’ so I could whip out my laptop and be productive.
Since I’d been awake since 4 AM, and was fighting my eyes from closing, I grabbed a caramel macchiato at the Starbucks. Joking with the barista, I asked if the coffee was guaranteed to wake me up. She promised it would, or I could return and she’d give me a Red Bull. Sipping on my tasty coffee, I tried to gain control over my inbox that was filling up, but the Internet was a little inconsistent and I was booted off regularly.
An hour later with a rumbling stomach, I headed to Benchmark for a group lunch with the other moms and bloggers attending this event. We’d chosen our lunch selection from the restaurant menus before arriving in Chicago, so our food would arrive promptly at noon. For a hotel restaurant, they really have some great choices created using seasonal and locally harvested ingredients. There’s also a SuperFoodsRx™ menu, with dishes made from healthy ingredients full of nutrients and high in antioxidants, like the blueberry protein smoothie.
During our two night stay, I had the sesame seared salmon salad, the egg white and young spinach omelet, and the Chipotle chicken tacos, everything was delicious. An added bonus, all my choices were on the SuperFoods Rx menu! We were always in such a hurry when it was time to eat, that I didn’t get any photos of my food.
Did I mention all the guest rooms have been renovated? My favorite part of the room, other than the heavenly bed which I didn’t have enough time to enjoy, was the 42 inch flat screen television. Yes, we have an amazing tv at home, but mine is always on the Disney channel or showing cartoons, so it was nice to watch a regular program, while lounging in the bed.
All rooms have their own wake-up coffee makers, with Starbucks coffee that can be brewed according to your schedule. The fitness center is open 24 hours and has enough Life fitness equipment, to make even rush hour a practical time to workout. As a night owl that often finds it difficult to get to the gym when traveling, I enjoyed popping it after 10 at night, and having the place to myself.
In room internet access is $12.95 per day, and they don’t offer discounts for multiple days. However, you can either access the free wi-fi in the lobby/cafe’s area or use one of the computers in the 24 hour complimentary business center. There wasn’t a fridge or min-bar in my room, and I hope they’ll consider adding a fridge. (guests want a place to keep their leftover Giordano’s deep dish cold, or store their frozen pizzas they’re flying home with)
On the last night of our stay, we gathered in the lounge area of The Benchmark to visit and enjoy a few drinks. Karen, our server was wonderful, and the bar has a good selection of local and craft beers.
Tip: Order the dead guy, or ask your bartender or server to suggest a local beer on tap.
By the way, while we were being social in the lounge, and talking about the fun we’d had in Chicago, a gentleman walked by and asked us, “what kind of party we were having?” Never one to meet a stranger, I told him to pull up a chair and join us. Instead, he thanked us for being there and walked off, which seemed a little strange. A few minutes later, he walked past again, identified himself as the owner of the hotel, and thanked us for spending time in the bar.
Personally, nothing about the Westin O’Hare, really stood out. The service was average, the food was good, and the rooms were a place to sleep. But when the owner took the time to stop and thank us for being in his bar, and then stopped and listened to us as we asked a few questions, the hotel went from average to above average. Hopefully, his enthusiasm and passion for the guests will spread to the employees, making this property stand out as the #1 choice when staying at O’Hare.
Oh and while he didn’t go into specifics, the owner did mention the second phase of renovations would make the restaurant and bar, a place you’ll want to meet your friends for a bite to eat, or a drink.
My flight to Chicago, stay at the Westin O’Hare, and meal expenses were all covered by Golden Heritage Foods, for a focus group meeting, which I was selected to participate in. No compensation was received and I was under no obligation to share any of my experiences, as always opinions are 100% my own.
Photos that have been watermarked were taken by me, all photos not watermarked are used with permission from the Westin.