Crowne Plaza Metro Chicago

We have stayed at Crowne Plaza Metro in Chicago twice now. Our latest visit was Tuesday night. The video above was taken during our first stay at the property in December 2011.

Crowne Plaza Metro is just a short cab ride from Chicago Union Station. For both our recent Chicago trips we rode Amtrak’s Lincoln Service train to Union Station then took a cab to the hotel.

Valet / doormen are very attentive and patient. You’d think this wouldn’t be hard to come by at a hotel. But at many destinations the door person experience can be varied. These employees don’t get paid enough for what they do and the fact that they are the first interaction with your property.

Check-in process went smoothly but the male desk clerk could have been a little more friendly that night. One big plus for this property is late night check-ins aren’t hassled about getting a late check-out. Unless you travel a lot – you can’t understand how valuable this guest service is. It’s becoming very rare to find any hotels that are willing to offer this perk to guest. While the clerk could have been slightly friendlier – he was very helpful and did his job well.

Elevators, lobby and hallways looked to be well maintained. Our Crowne Plaza in Springfield IL needs a major refurbishment in regards to their elevators and hallways. Unfortunately nowadays there can be a big difference in property conditions and customer service with well known brands.

Once we got into the room it was a bit to warm. So we tried to get the thermostat to kick on to resolve that. This was easier said than done. It took some messing around with the unit to get anything to kick on. This is rather odd considering the thermostat panel isn’t exactly complicated. In hindsight we should have just opened the balcony door for a few minutes – would have been easier.

We didn’t have the password for Internet access. So getting online was a pain. Had to make a call to the desk clerk to get information on how to get things up and running. Many hotels forget to give you an Internet password during check-in. The Crowne Plaza Metro does provide a CAT5 cable to hardwire your computer into the network. You’ll find the cable in the desk drawer. This is something very few hotels offer – hard wire access, cables or proper length extensions for wired access.

One thing that stands out in a Crowne Plaza Metro room is the wireless phone. I can’t recall anywhere we have stayed recently or in the past that has this. Definitely convenient not to have to be tied down to one part of the room when making a call. I wish more hotels would choose this option. I’d assume theft would be one reason it’s not popular with hotel owners. There is also a wired phone in the bathroom. This is a feature I’ve only seen in some casino hotels.

The bathroom didn’t provide a night light that most Crowne Plaza properties have. The Springfield Crowne Plaza has this feature. What we did get is a mesh bag filled with ear plugs, eye mask and a small container of lavender air freshener. If I remember correctly the Springfield IL property provides this also.

The bathroom did have a few issues. One being the taste of water – it was just downright nasty. We also had problems with the adjustable shower head not wanting to move. It was stuck at a very odd angle.

One of the knobs for a light fixture by the television was very loose. At least the Crowne Plaza Metro offers a flat screen TV. Crowne Plaza Springfield still gives guest a very outdated tube television. Above the bed there are LED lights but all the other light fixtures use incandescent bulbs. Definitely doesn’t fit the energy conserving recycling image that some things in the room try to promote.

There is a paper sack with a note under it – this explains that the bag is for you to place recycled materials in during your stay. I don’t recall this being offered anywhere else we’ve stayed. Although the Marriott in Normal IL did offer recycling boxes in their lobby.

During our stay a large construction project was taking place right next door. I later found out that this was an upscale grocery store being built. Unfortunately our stay was the same day they were driving concrete pylons into the ground for the foundation. The provided ear plugs did little to block this constant pounding out. During check out the desk clerk apologized but didn’t seem to concerned.

After checking in and getting settled – we had just enough time to head downstairs for a late night meal. I think the restaurant was being rebranded with the new name Dine around this time. We were promptly and politely seated in a booth near the entrance. Our waitress and bus person were both attentive and engaging. Especially considering how close to closing we had come in. When our appetizer came out we quickly learned that this restaurant provides Midwest portion sizes. After sharing an appetizer neither myself or my girlfriend had much room left for our main course.

The next day after my approved late checkout I headed back to Dine for lunch. Turns out the “hostess” that greeted me was the bartender who would be taking care of me that day. Service was equally good that afternoon. Decent amount of conversation since I was the only one at the bar. That day the MetroKlub Kosher Restaurant inside Dine was filling a large amount of carry out orders.

Once again I made the mistake of ordering an appetizer and a main. The portion sizes were just as large as the night before. I definitely had leftovers for the train ride home. The food is good quality especially when considering what you receive. Value for money being spent.

Unfortunately I can’t find any of my receipts from that trip. I’ve recently tried to keep better track of these so I can give servers and employees who deserve credit or criticism acknowledgement.

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