Sunday, April 14, 2013
Chicago – Doubletree Hotel by Hilton (Magnificent Mile)
On a recent business trip I found myself in downtown Chicago at the Doubletree by Hilton-Magnificent Mile. The hotel was conveniently located just a block from Michigan Avenue (the Magnificent Mile). This hotel offered a pleasant environment with an open lobby area including a bar with seating for meeting with work colleagues, an attached restaurant, and an Einstein Bros. Bagels with an inside entrance off the lobby as well as access to the street outside.
My company had a corporate rate for $105 for a room with two double beds. The bedding was Hilton’s normal clean and comfortable linens and comforter they like to call Sweet Dreams. The only bad thing about this hotel was the on-site parking which went for $45 per day. That combined with the room rate made the hotel $150 per day – but for downtown Chicago that is not bad, in my opinion. I’d even looked it up on Travelocity before I left home and the room was going for $99 per night. There was parking across the street for around $33 per day, but the convenience was worth the cost for me. My first night there I ventured about three blocks away to Gino’s East for some Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Unfortunately I was unable to eat more than one piece. I had been suffering with the flu the week before and was finding that my appetite was not returning, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from indulging in at least one piece of pizza. The walk to the restaurant was easy and would have been more enjoyable if the temperature was above single digits. This hotel offers the option of not having your room serviced with new linens each day for an $8 breakfast voucher. I opted for that and was able to go to Einstein’s the next morning and eat a breakfast sandwich bagel and a bottle of apple juice for free. After a day in meetings, I returned to the hotel exhausted. My body was just not rebounding from this flu. My first stop was to get to Walgreens. I had to walk a block up to Michigan Avenue and then three to four blocks to the Walgreens right near the Water Tower. My flu was gone, but I had a nagging cough that was driving me crazy. I knew having been to Chicago before that the Walgreens would satisfy whatever medicinal needs I had. I picked up my sugar-free cough syrup and headed back out the door into the freezing temperatures. Every so often, I get that urge to move to a bigger city and with Chicago being the third largest in the nation, I also sometimes dream of moving here. But then, all it takes is being there in the middle of February when the temp falls below the teens and the wind whips in off of Lake Michigan to make me change my mind. On my way back to my hotel room, I was able to stop in at a couple of shops on Michigan Avenue. And while most stores here do not carry my size of clothing many were having clearance sales and I was able to pick up a very soft scarf to keep my neck warm for under $7. I removed the tag from that puppy immediately and placed it around my neck to block out the chill of the wind. At this point, I was ready for dinner and spied the Grand Lux Café. This is owned by The Cheesecake Factory and the husband and I had eaten at this chain when we were in Las Vegas so I’ve spoken about it before. I was placed at a window table overlooking Michigan Avenue where I was able to people watch and be entertained by human nature until my meal arrived. I enjoyed an Asian salad and barely able to keep my eyes open, I ordered a dessert to go. I went back to my room where I was able to curl up in the comfortable bed for an early night. The flu still had its hold on my energy and I fell asleep around 8:30 p.m. But I was able to sleep very soundly because even though the room was close to the busyness of downtown – the noise did not enter my room. And the blackout curtains kept the lights from the high rise apartments and hotels out of my room. So if you are planning a trip to downtown Chicago anytime soon, compare prices on Trip Advisor, and know that I approve of this destination for its convenience and comfort and only disliked the cost of parking at $45 per day – but this did include unlimited in and out privileges. The opinions expressed herein are my own and directly related to my own experience at this hotel and in Chicago. I have not been compensated by the hotel for my comments.