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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Chicago, Illinois / Palmer House Hilton

January 2014, Weekend, 1-night, King guestroom #8148 and Edison suite #8150

Status perks and check-in
I had made our reservation at the Palmer House Hilton quite a bit in advance of our stay. I found a fabulous rate for a Jr. Suite, so I booked that room type. Before our arrival, I noticed online that my room type had been changed to a king guestroom, and that there was an additional confirmation number listed with no information. When I called the hotel to ask about this, I was told that they did not have any Jr. Suites available, so my room had been changed to a king guestroom with a connecting door to a parlor room for the same price.

We arrived at the hotel before noon on the morning Amtrak from Grand Rapids. The front desk agent said that our guestroom was ready, and she allowed us to check-in early for no charge. The executive floor of the hotel was closed for remodeling, so she provided two coupons; one for breakfast and one for appetizers in the lounge. I also received two bottles of water, complimentary Internet access, and I was allowed to have late check at 1 p.m. the next day. I love having Gold status at Hilton!

arrival photo
Guestroom 8148
My previous stays at the Palmer House have always been on the executive floor, so I was initially disappointed when I entered the guestroom. This guestroom is quite a bit smaller than the guestrooms I had stayed in before, and the view looked out to a building wall and a fire escape type walkway.

photo taken the next day
The bedroom area contained a king size bed, desk and chair, night stands with clock, soft chair, and flatscreen TV on an armoire. Lamps were located on the nightstands, beside the soft chair, and on the desk. The bed, pillows, and bedding were all extremely comfortable. The sleep quality was excellent.

Glass glasses and an ice bucket were on the shelf area next to the TV. There was not a coffeemaker in the guestroom. A coffeemaker had been provided in the executive guestrooms I stayed in before, so I do not know if this was not provided because of the guestroom type, or if this had changed since our prior stay. A coffeemaker and supplies were available for no charge from room service. We called to request this, and it was immediately delivered.

A large closet next to the desk contained hangers, a folding luggage rack, extra bedding, an iron, ironing board, and a large safe. A full length mirror was mounted on the wall outside of the closet, and a second one was mounted on the bathroom door.

The bathroom was very small. There was not enough room to sit down on the toilet with the bathroom door open, and there was barely enough room to step into the bathroom and then close the door. The bathroom door needed to be closed to get into the tub/shower. 

photo taken the next day

The bathroom contained some amenities: soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. A hairdryer was in a bag hanging on the back of the bathroom door. 

The wall mounted makeup mirror in the bathroom was loose, so it slid down slightly when I tried to move it. There were some minor plumbing issues with the toilet. Sometimes we had to hold the handle down or jiggle it in order for the toilet to flush.

The connecting door to Edison Suite was located between the desk and the armoire. As soon as I realized the size and comfort of Edison Suite, I was amazed with this upgrade from the Jr. Suite I had booked.

Edison Suite entrance

Edison Suite 8150
We had access to the Edison Suite from our guestroom and from the hallway. The front desk agent had coded both of our keys so that they would work on both doors. Both rooms are marked in the photo of the guestroom diagram. Clicking on the photo will enlarge it to see the detail of the room layouts.

A wet bar area was located just inside the connecting room door entrance. This area contained a small fridge, sink, glass glasses, and an ice bucket. I was surprised that wine glasses and a coffeemaker were not also provided.

The sitting area was extremely comfortable and spacious. All of the white leather chairs were superb, and the other furnishings were comfortable and beautiful as well. My husband and I were traveling with two other couples this trip, and there was plenty of space for the six of us to visit.

view from table in front of bar area

The suite furnishings included two tables with eight chairs, four additional chairs, two couches, coffee and end tables, lamps, two flatscreen TVs, and more. 

There were two large closets and a half bath in Edison Suite. There was another connecting room door at the end of the room by the living room area.

The bathroom was more spacious than the one in our guestroom. It did not have a shower. I was surprised to see a couple of extra bathroom amenities in this bathroom. In addition to the bar soap, this bathroom also had shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and mouthwash. I would have expected the body wash to be in the guestroom bathroom.
center table in front of hallway entrance

Edison Suite has three walls of windows: facing north, south, and west. The flag is the view facing north, from one of the windows by the table next to the bar area. This is where the second flatscreen TV is located, which is barely visible in the photos.

Food & Beverages
The breakfast coupon we received at check-in said it was good for the continental breakfast buffet. The service in the restaurant during breakfast was mediocre. As the host seated guests with coupons, she said that it is $6 to upgrade to the hot buffet. I asked our server if I could use the coupon for a frittata instead, and he said no. He said that he could order this for me via the hot breakfast buffet add-on, so I did that. I ordered a spinach, mushroom, and goat cheese frittata. I received a ham, mushroom, and goat cheese omelet. I also ordered a glass of milk that I never received. Cold cereal was available at the breakfast buffet; however, we did not see milk in the buffet area. Other items in the buffet were scrambled eggs, pancakes, waffles, potatoes, fruits, breads, bagels, muffins, and yogurt.

We never received a check after we finished dining. We had heard servers discussing that gratuity is covered with the coupon, and we had observed several guests leave without a check. Finally, we asked our server if we were all set, and he said yes. I was glad to hear that we did not owe anything, since my egg order had been incorrect, and I never received my milk.

The appetizer coupon we received was good at Potters from 4 to 7 p.m. Unfortunately, we were away from the hotel at that time, and were not able to use that coupon.

We had lunch in the lobby bar area the day we departed, and it was excellent. The service was good, and the food was delicious. We had the pork sliders, and a bowl of mushroom soup. The pork sliders order included three sliders even though only two are showing in this photo. Our friends had the burger and southwest chicken wrap, and they were impressed with both food items.

Pool and fitness center
The pool and fitness center are both accessible from floors 7 and 8. They are located between the two floors. The pool was actually visible from one of our friends' guestrooms; #8-109. Their windows had frosted panes; however, they partially opened, and then they looked down at the pool.

We did not use the pool or fitness center, although we did walk through the area. The onsite fitness center is massive with many exercise machines. I did not take a photo because there were several people using the equipment when we walked through.
steps to whirlpool

The pool and whirlpool tub were both a decent size, and there were cushioned seats in the area. The whirlpool is up a few steps from the pool area. We did not check the water temperature, although I would guess that the tub temperature was comfortable, since there were guests in the whirlpool frequently. 

Misc. and overall

There is a lot of beautiful artwork throughout this hotel. The building has been preserved well, and it is beautiful.

There is a small museum onsite, although it has never been open any of the times that we stayed at the hotel. After I inquired about this at the front desk, I was given the name of someone who would take an appointment for a narrated tour. I think the names I was given were "customer relations or Ben Price." I did not keep this information after we left, so  if you are interested in this, check with the front desk.

I called and left a voice message with customer relations while we were there; however, no one called me back. I received a call from the Hilton shortly after I had left the message; however, the call did not ring long enough for me to answer it, and the person calling did not leave a message. I think that the caller hung up before it went to voice mail, since my phone did not even ring; I just saw it light up and tried to answer it.

The Palmer House Hilton is less than 3/4 of a mile walk from Union Station, and it is even closer to the Van Buren Street Station. This was our third or fourth stay at this hotel, and we have enjoyed every stay.