Visiting Chicago on Marathon weekend may not be the best budget-saving strategy as hotel rates would generally cost 50% more than on any other weekends. However, it is definitely worth every penny if you choose the right hotel for your visit, especially if you will be a part of the marathon event.
Majority of the hotels for the marathon weekend would require at least a 2-night stay, however I was glad to find The Kimpton Gray Hotel on Monroe Street (only a few blocks away from Grant Park) didn’t have this requirement.
Since my flight from Los Angeles arrived in Chicago O’Hare at almost midnight, we managed to combined our stay in Chicago by staying in Marriott Suites O’Hare on the first night for the purpose of earning Marriott points and save 50% of our hotel expenses. Hotels near O’Hare were priced much lower than Downtown Chicago at the time of booking.
Booking The Hotel
While it took me quite a while to decide where to stay in Downtown Chicago, booking a room at The Kimpton Gray Hotel Chicago only took a few minutes online.
The Kimpton Hotel is an award-winning boutique hotel group with 64 hotels in 33 cities, mostly in the United States, 1 in the Caribbean and an upcoming location in Paris and Amsterdam.
The best available rate I found on the night we wanted was $350/night and in comparison to other hotels such as the Westin or JW Marriott that had a published rate of over $450/night, I thought this was quite a good deal, especially when I found out the best available rate for a standard room in same month for Kimpton Gray is $529/night!
Kimpton Hotels loyalty program is called the Kimpton Karma Rewards and since this was my first time staying in a Kimpton Hotel I immediately signed up for this program in order to earn some reward points.
Other than receiving Exclusive Offers (discounts on stays for members) at Kimpton Hotels, the first major benefit as a reward member is to receive 2 Free Nights after staying 10-nights at Kimpton Hotels, which I find to be quite achievable and a great offer to have as a member.
The hotel lobby is so immaculately designed that you wish this was your own personal living room at home. It combines a beautiful set of elegant furnitures and sophisticated lighting in a well-lit second floor space. A self-serve complimentary tea & coffee is offered at the lobby at all times.
The lobby is definitely my favorite feature of the hotel.
Checking into the hotel was a breeze and the room was made available for us even though we came in early at 9 in the morning (normal check-in time is 2pm). The staff was genuinely friendly and welcoming, she also informed us about some of the hotel facilities and the hotel’s rooftop restaurant/bar that I was not aware of.
The stylish guest room is quite spacious and well-designed up to the lighting and curtain details.
The closet design was quirky, complete with lush bathrobes and a yoga mat which was a nice touch.
Restaurant / Bar
The hotel has its own signature restaurant tucked off the ground floor of the hotel called Vol. 39, a Chicago Loop Bar, which unfortunately we didn’t get to try.
Nando’s Peri-Peri Chicken located only 2 blocks away was far more appealing at the time after our long day out in Chicago’s cold weather.
However we did have a quick stop at the hotel’s rooftop lounge, Boleo, located on the very top floor of the hotel. It was a ‘covered’ rooftop though, understandably wise considering Chicago’s winter that is known to be cruel.
Overall & Tips
How would I rate this hotel:
- Room 4/5
- Service 5/5
- Location 5/5
- Food & Restaurants 4/5 (on Atmosphere, didn’t get to try the food)
If you want to stay in luxury hotels, Chicago has great hotel options where you don’t have to spend too much but only if you visit at off-peak season (compare rates from several websites including Booking.com).
Don’t go after the big names such as the Peninsula or Ritz Carlton because you’ll be paying a fortune for similar (and sometimes better) room qualities as some of the boutique hotels around where you can pay half the price.
Some other hotel options that has pretty good rates at low $200/night (depending on dates):
- Londonhouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
- Hyatt Chicago Manificient Mile
- The James Hotel Chicago
Do you have a favorite hotel in Chicago?