There are plenty of hotels close to Chicago’s O’Hare airport to choose from. They come in different shapes, sizes and price points, and most of them are no more than 5-15 minutes away from the terminals at O’Hare. In such a competitive market, the hotels have to find a way to set themselves apart from each other, and the InterContinental Chicago O’Hare does it with modern flair and impressive customer service.
When I checked in Friday around 11 AM, my room was ready, and Ryan at the front desk made me feel welcome. I love that he asked how was my trip in from Texas, instead of the more generic, “how was your flight?” His smile was contagious, and reminded me if I needed anything to use the “instant service” button on my phone and ask for him.
The ultra modern look of the bathroom with the Kohler fixtures, and the subway tile, give the room a fun, contemporary feel.
After getting settled in my room, I went downstairs to the fitness center. Equipped with Life fitness elliptical machines, treadmills, and circuit training machines, this is truly a “fitness center.” While I was sad the InterContinental doesn’t have an indoor pool where I could swim laps, the assortment of machines and size of their gym makes up for it.
I loved the seating area in my room, it was perfect for Saturday evening when friends came to visit, and could sit without being on the bed. Also, the desk chair was so comfortable, that I spent half of the cold, rainy afternoon working on my laptop at the desk. There’s a fully stocked min-bar below the television, but no coffee maker in the room. Since there’s a Starbucks in the lobby that’s not really an issue, unless you have to be up at 3 AM to head to the airport, and need some java to get you motivated. True story.
Tip: There are paintings and art throughout the hotel, so if you just want to take a stroll there’s plenty to see, and all of it is for sale.
Ready to find some dinner, I was all set to walk to a nearby Mexican restaurant Maria’s, until I stepped outside into a 40 degree rain. Since I’d already had too many unpleasant experiences with the cab drivers in the area, I headed to the front desk for some advice. As a frequent traveler, I figured they’d loan me an umbrella or a poncho and wish me well.
Instead, Tim at the front desk, walked me through the hotel and out to the back side where I was just a few steps away from the restaurant! Safe and dry, now, that’s customer service! I noticed that throughout the hotel the “employee only” areas, were labeled as “colleagues only.” I wonder if its that attitude of treating their employees with respect, that influences their treatment of guests.
Back at the Intercontinental, I ran into Tim again and got walking directions to the entertainment district, and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar. The rain had stopped, but it was still very chilly outside. So when Tim told me if I’d call him when I was ready to return to the hotel, that he’d send the shuttle over if it was available, I was even more impressed by the customer service.
Tip: The Rosemont Entertainment District has restaurants, bars, a movie theater, and a retro bowling alley, and is located within walking distance of the hotel.
On Friday night, Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar’” wasn’t charging a cover, and had two live bands scheduled. If you go, grab a beer, they serve them in mason jars. Also, while there aren’t really any shops nearby at the moment, on August 1, The Fashion Outlets of Chicago will open, right behind the Intercontinental.
Tip: There are three restaurants on the hotel property, Capital Grille for steak, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood, and Fresco 21 Mediterranean.
While I didn’t dine at Fresco 21 on this trip, I stopped in for a quick peek at the restaurant, and loved the bottle arrangement on the bar. Anna, the food and beverage manager, showed me the menu and gave me a quick tour of the brick oven/kitchen. The bar area has a very casual vibe, and the dining room in back is a bit more formal. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, very convenient for busy travelers staying at the hotel.
Of course, if you want to go into the city for dinner, sightseeing, etc., the blue line train is less than a mile from the hotel, and the shuttle will take you and pick you up. The weather on Saturday, after the Cubs game was so nice, that I walked back to the hotel from the CTA station. There are sidewalks the whole way, and the area seemed safe.
With so many hotels to choose from in the O’Hare/ Rosemont area, the InterContinental Chicago O’Hare stands out for me mainly because of their outstanding customer service. David, Tim, and Ryan at the front desk were all extremely helpful, and Christopher the concierge gave me some great tips on exploring the Rosemont area. The fact that you can walk to nearby restaurants, and shops in a few months, are an added bonus.