During a recent trip, I had to stay over for the night in Chicago. If you want extreme convenience for early flights out of Chicago O’Hare, this is definitely the hotel that you want to stay at. I had visited it before during a layover to meet friends but this was the first time that I had actually spent the night.
Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport
When it comes to convenience, there is no better Chicago airport hotel than the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport hotel. You never need to even step outside from the airport as there is a tunnel that takes you directly to the hotel. Just follow the signs as you approach the baggage area for the Hilton. Once you are within the hotel, just follow the signs for the check-in area (go up the escalator or elevator if you came through the tunnel).
The check-in desk was quite long and the area was roped off into two separate lines – one for Hilton HHonor elite members and one for general visitors. Being a Gold member, I headed to the elite check-in line.
While such a line is normally setup for quicker check-in times and to set priority for the agents as they check customers in, this was not the case. I was the first in line, with a couple of others behind me. They only had one agent at the counter for the elite members and she was trying to help a couple check-in who did not speak English. At the other end of the desk for general guests, that line was staffed by three agents who were moving through the customers quickly. The problem was that they ignored the elite line. I thought that was a big oversight on their part as I and a couple of others stood in the elite line for 15 minutes before some switched to the regular line to be waited on. They all were through before I finally was called up. I could have switched but I was honesty curious to see how long it would take for someone to call us forward.
Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to check out or use the fitness center. That is because it closes at 10PM and opens at 5AM. I got in a little while before they closed and I had to leave for my flight before it opened. To be honest, I find it strange that such a nice, business-minded airport hotel does not have a 24 hour fitness center. It may have something to do with the fact that it is actually one floor below the lobby. It is somewhat of a transit area in the tunnel for people passing back and forth between terminals People are checking in at all hours of the day and night after flights and I am sure that many of them would like to be able to workout, at the very least to stretch a bit extra between flights. So, not very happy about that as I had been looking forward to getting a run in. From what I could observe on my way out, it did seem to be a very well-equipped fitness center with plenty of machines.
As a Hilton Gold member, I am able to get free breakfast. Unfortunately, the restaurant did not open until 6AM so I was unable to checkout the breakfast spread either. While I understand that 6AM is early, there are quite a number of flights that leave between 5:30 – 6:45AM so I would have thought that this airport hotel would have had an earlier open time to accommodate those passengers with early flights.
I am not really a foodie type person. Because of that, my suggestion for eating places may not resonate with a lot of you. But, in case there are some of you like me, here is an option instead of dining at the restaurant and paying the high prices there. Remember, you are in an airport with several food courts. I simply stopped at Subway on my way to the hotel to grab a salad to take back to the room. You have several takeaway options enroute to the hotel so you can easily (and somewhat cheaply) pick up your meal to take back to the room, or run out later to get something.
I was booked into a regular room and found it to be very adequate. As a room amenity, there were two bottles of water in the room for me. The room was spacious and had a nice work center and a large screen TV with several inputs – including HDMI, composite, and USB. I find this to be the case every so often in hotels to have HDMI inputs. I never carry around an HDMI cable and not sure if most travelers do so it would be nice if they had an HDMI cable in the room. I know people might lift it, but it could have a security line to the desk. Not going to happen, but just thinking out loud. 🙂
The bed was firm with a nice variety of pillows. I do not normally sleep well on hard beds, so this was on the softer side of firm and I found it very comfortable for sleeping.
As a person that likes baths, I did take advantage of the bathtub. It was comfortable to sit in and was even able to relax nicely.
The sitting area of the room had a helpful amount of available power outlets. Some near the great chair and end table and still more at the work center.
The internet was complimentary (since I was a Gold member) and had somewhat slower speed. It was not as fast as I would have thought given that it is such a well-positioned business/airport hotel, but it allowed me to get a little bit of work done before turning in. Had I paid for it, I would have been disappointed in the speed. I’m sure that other people have had different results as I have experience different results in different stays at some hotels, but for this stay, I thought that the speed was less than optimal.
One of the advertised features of the hotel is the No Fly Zone that is supposed to keep the sound of the airport out of the rooms. Given that this hotel is located right at the airport, this could be a serious problem for sleeping given that it is located at one of the busier airports in the country. However, their No Fly Zone worked wonderfully. I did not hear any of the air traffic during the stay and slept very well!
I did not have a receipt under my door so I made sure I stopped by the desk on the way out to check-out on my way over to the airport. Again, I had to wait – this time for 20 minutes. Yes, it was early (5AM) but there was only one agent working there and two pilots checking in and four of us checking out. There was no key box in the area so I kept waiting to see the agent to check-out.
The agent finally got to us and did not apologize for the wait. I am not expecting anything different than I would have behaved so found it strange that she did not at least acknowledge that we had waited awhile. I know I would have apologized for the wait even though I would not have been in charge of scheduling.
The room itself goes for over $300 a night. In fact, a person waiting behind me for checking out mentioned that he had paid almost $400 for that one night. Instead, I used points. It is a Category 5 so it took 40,000 Hilton points, which was quite a bit, but I had some extra Hilton points and Hilton’s Points & Money option was not available for that night. If it had, it would have required 17,500 points and $100 per night (but that rate can vary greatly depending on availability and cost). It is hard to find a night for the next 6 months that has that rate available (as in not possible) so do not depend on using the Points & Money option).
I had checked the cash price for the hotel room when I booked it and it was at $359 (after tax) for that night. I would never spend that much money on a single night for a hotel, especially not an airport hotel so going points was my only option. That enabled my 40,000 Hilton points to be redeemed at a value of just under a penny a point. That is not a great deal but if you do need to stay near the airport for flights in or out of Chicago O’Hare, you will not find a closer hotel than the Hilton Chicago O’Hare hotel. From the time I left the check-out counter until I got to security for my flight, it was a total of 3 minutes. That is really convenient!
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