I recently stayed at the LondonHouse Chicago, which is Hilton’s Curio Collection hotel in Chicago. I liked it enough to write a real review and not some sarcastic grousing about how I hate taking pictures of hotels or how hotel reviews drive me crazy. I still hate taking pictures of hotels, though, so I apologize for the shitty pictures in this review. The takeaway is that the LondonHouse Chicago is a great hotel, and I heartily recommend it.
The setting of the hotel is pretty dramatic – right on the river, right across the street from the majestic Fuckface building, which is one of the tallest buildings in Chicago and also hands-down the fuckface-iest. But, if you turn left or right, the view is pretty good. The one annoying thing about the entrance is that the hotel’s overhang is only around three feet wide, so when it’s raining, it’s impossible to not get wet. That wouldn’t really matter if there were a lobby just inside, but there isn’t – the entrance is a narrow hallway that leads to a staircase, so there’s nowhere to stand while, say, waiting for an Uber to take you to your parents’ place.
The lobby is on the second floor and consists of a fairly small mixed-use space that includes check-in desks, a concierge desk, a bar with some really nice top-shelf liquor (at top-shelf prices, but it’s a hotel bar, so what did you expect), and a business center.
I have Hilton Honors Gold status through my Citi Reserve Hilton card (as well as my Amex Platinum), and the hotel offered me a choice between a one-category upgrade from the junior suite I booked or a discounted upgrade to a nicer suite with a river view. Since I was only staying a couple nights, I declined the upgrade altogether, since I had booked a corner junior suite, and it seemed like the best option overall. The guy checking me in told me that was the right decision, and that the base-level one-bedroom suites aren’t as nice.
Let me say a thing about the decor here before going on. When I first got into points and miles, I hadn’t really stayed at any luxury hotels before, so I didn’t have much of a preference either way of what “type” of luxury I preferred. (Go ahead and leave your FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS comment below, I’ll wait.) Now that I have a better basis for comparison, I really appreciate how the LondonHouse’s overall decor is refined while still having a lot of personality. Consider, for example, the Park Hyatt up the street, where the atmosphere is so dark and monastic that I half expected to find Paul Bettany self-flagellating off to the side as I approached the check-in desk. On the other extreme, there’s the W, which goes so far out of its way to be hip and cool and social and young and hip and cool that you wish it had nuts so you could kick it in the nuts. The LondonHouse balances these two poles really successfully, which is a big reason why I liked it so much.
The corner suite I was in is basically one big room with a partition in the middle; there’s a desk and sitting area on one side and a majorly comfy bed and ginormous TV on the other. There’s also a really long, unnecessary hallway that leads into the room. Here are a bunch of photos:
One nice thing about the room is that there are windows all around, although that becomes annoying when you go to close the shades and have 15 individual curtains that need to be closed. Seriously this room has more curtains than I’ve ever seen in one place.
The bathroom is pretty basic, and it definitely sets the room apart from somewhere like the Park Hyatt, where the bathroom is the same size as the rest of the room. That said, for one person on a two night stay, I didn’t need a spa tub or whatever, so it was fine. There were also little bottles of lotion, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. Oh and a free loofah! Also, I appreciated the dental kit, since I actually forgot to bring a toothbrush.
Okay, so that’s the room… what else? Pretty good on-demand movies that I didn’t watch, and I always like a Nespresso machine instead of a Keurig. There’s a fridge but no minibar, which meant that I had to walk in the rain across the river to Walgreens to buy myself some treats (although I saved lots of money in the process, of course). Again, the bed was comfortable AF and even had the LondonHouse logo imprinted on the linens. Class all the way!
Normally I get annoyed when hotel reviews dedicate a lot of space to elite benefits like free breakfast and shit, but since Hilton Gold status is so easy to get (just open a Hilton credit card), I’ll talk about the free breakfast for elites. It was… not great. There’s a restaurant on the first floor that has a separate section of the menu for Hilton elite members. I would have preferred if they just gave you a credit toward the bill, but the vegan oatmeal was fine. The Hilton options are also on the paid part of the menu, and so I was able to figure out that the value of the free breakfast works out to around $12-15 after you account for tax and tip. One annoying thing is that the restaurant can’t charge the bill to your room, so if you want anything else, you have to pay for it there.
I think that’s it. Oh wait, there’s one more HUGELY important thing I forgot… the main feature of the hotel is its 21st floor tri-level bar, which is supposedly spectacular. Unfortunately the bar was closed due to weather during my stay, so I didn’t get to see it. However, if I enjoyed the hotel as much as I did without the bar, then it must be a pretty damn good hotel.
In this part of Chicago, I have stayed at the Swissotel, the Hyatt Regency, the Radisson Blu, the Intercontinental, and the Park Hyatt. Of all of those, this hotel was definitely my favorite… and for around 1/2 the cost of the Park Hyatt at that. Now that I’m loyal to Hilton, I’m interested to try the Conrad up the street, but it’s usually pretty expensive, whereas the LondonHouse is often a fantastic value given how expensive hotels in this area can be.
Go stay at the LondonHouse. You’ll like it, I promise.