Back in October I went to Chicago for the annual Chicago Seminars – a points and miles conference that takes place every year at the Holiday Inn Elk Grove Village. This time around I wanted to spend a few days in the city and decided to book the Hyatt Centric The Loop in downtown Chicago. The Hyatt Centric Chicago is a Category 4 Hyatt hotel, which requires 15,000 points per night. This hotel opened back in April 2015 and since Hyatt Centric is a new concept and there weren’t many reviews on this particular property, I wanted to check it out for myself.
After an Uber Taxi ride from Chicago O’Hare, I arrived at the Hyatt Centric The Loop at around 1 AM. Since I’d volunteered to get bumped off my original flight and knew I’d be arriving late, I called the hotel ahead of time to make sure my reservation wasn’t cancelled. When I arrived, the place was deserted, except for a doorman (who only had to press a button to open the automatic door) and a front desk agent who was frazzled, even at that hour.
The lobby was small, yet nicely decorated, with a large colorful painting placed behind the front desk and a definite boutique vibe. The front desk agent explained that their computers were down, so she would be checking me in on paper. This involved her writing my name on a post-it note, confirming that the card on file was ok for incidentals (and that she couldn’t change it anyway if I disagreed), and handing me the room key. A small area of her desk was covered in post-it notes. I don’t know anything about running a hotel, but this didn’t seem like the most efficient way to keep track of guests checking in. As has become the norm with my Hyatt stays, the agent didn’t explain the breakfast benefit or ask me which amenity I wanted – and I, being sleep deprived and ready to crash, forgot to ask her and had to call down the next morning to find out.
I grabbed my key and headed up to the room. The hallway leading up to the room was pretty drab, with checkered grey and beige carpet. It gave me flashbacks of the Hyatt Place LAX, a hotel I actually really liked. My room was off in a separate corridor that was separated from the main hallway by a door (which was propped open the entire time).
The room itself, while a decent size, was pretty drab and depressing. It looked very similar to a standard Hyatt Place room, without the seating area or a grey sofa to give it some color (yeah, you read that right). Right across from the door was the bathroom, which was identical to bathrooms you can find at Hyatt Place properties: The same stained glass doors were separating the shower, the gray floors, a massive mirror over the sink, the same unflattering lighting, Kenet MD bath products, and a generous amount of dust covering the counter. The bathroom had a large wooden sliding door for privacy, which I know is an issue for some folks now that hotels think its cool to have fully exposed bathrooms.
Across from the bathroom was an odd hanging closet unit. It had enough storage space for a few pairs of clothes and one bag, but otherwise it was tiny. On the up side, the fact that the closet hung way above the ground meant there was extra space underneath to store an extra bag. It was all a little too IKEA for me – don’t get me wrong, I love IKEA for their cinnamon rolls, but their furniture is kind of a cruel joke.
Past the closet area was the rest of the bedroom: A Queen sized bed with a dark beige headboard and grey or beige side tables on both sides. Across from the bed was the entertainment console, which was also beige. For good measure and to make the space even more depressing, two grey paintings hung on the wall above and next to the bed. The only splashes of color in the room were provided by the blue plexiglass covering the table by the window and the orange ottoman placed under the entertainment console. The two windows did nothing to liven up the room, providing a view of the building across the street and little natural light. If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, this room is definitely not for you.
The heater unit was loud and did little to alleviate the cold temperature in the room (and I’m not talking about the decor). Throughout my stay, the internet was ridiculously slow – at one point turning off completely. The hotel definitely had its share of technical problems while I was there. Thankfully, I was able to connect using my phone’s hotspot.
Diamond Breakfast at the Hyatt Centric Chicago
One of the major complaints on Flyertalk about this hotel is its Diamond breakfast policy. Hyatt Diamond members are supposed to receive complimentary breakfast at hotels that don’t offer a club lounge. Some hotels place a reasonable limit on this benefit, but the Hyatt Centric Chicago caps the breakfast benefit at $15 per person, per day. This includes room service, which is provided by the adjacent Cochon Volant restaurant.
What I liked about this hotel was their no-frills approach to room service: You order your food and an employee hands it to you in a black box. No carts to wheel in and no drawn out processes. When I called room service to place an order, I asked if I could have the eggs benedict without ham. Her response was “I’m not sure. Usually they follow the order off the menu.” With that kind of certainly I just oped for scrambled eggs with corned beef hash and received it less than 30 minutes later (I was quoted 45 minutes). The food was a bit on the greasy side, but the portion was generous (very becoming of a midwestern breakfast).
The Corner: The Club Lounge at Hyatt Centric Chicago
One unique feature of the Hyatt Centric Chicago is the fact that it has a club lounge, called The Corner, which is open to all guests. I really only had a chance to visit the lounge in the afternoon. There’s a lot of confusion about the lounge – first, it’s open to all guests and not just elite members. There is no “club room” you can need to book – everyone gets access to the lounge. Second, the Hyatt Centric website doesn’t really advertise this feature on their website anymore. At one point, they had a page dedicated to what they called “The Corner” that contained some information about the lounge, but that page hasn’t been working for a while. Third, The Corner lounge doesn’t have a traditional food spread you’d find at other hotel club lounges. Instead, there is a selection of free drinks and some snacks (pretzels, cookies, etc.).
When I arrived, there were a couple of people in there, grabbing snacks to go. The lounge attendant wasn’t around, but considering the lounge is open to everyone, I don’t know that it’s entirely necessary to have one. That being said, you do need a key to get in.
I thought The Corner lounge was cozy and an ideal place to work. It consisted of three areas: The kitchen, a computer station, and a living room. The kitchen was stocked with drinks and snacks – fruits, pretzels, mixed nuts, bottled water, and a coffee machine. There was some seating nearby, with more seats available in the living room area.
As you’re walking out of the kitchen towards the living room, you’ll pass the attendant’s desk, with the computer stations on the left. This area was fully occupied when I was there and I didn’t want to take a photo of a bunch of strangers, but it was a small area outfitted with three desktops. Past the computer station was the living room, which was decked out in the same prevalent beige and grey tones, with some much appreciated splashes of color.
There were a few books and board games on the shelves next to the fireplace, creating a very inviting atmosphere. However, seating was limited and considering this lounge is open to all guests at the hotel (and the hotel has 257 rooms), I can imagine it might get crowded during peak times.
Overall Impressions of Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago
I was disappointed with a few aspects of my stay at the Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago (mainly the wifi issue), but I found the hotel to be an overall good value and the staff pleasant. Not that there were a ton of people to interact with, but the ones I did speak to were mostly friendly and professional.
The hotel’s location was very nice, right in the financial district within walking distance of restaurants and shopping. As far as location and value go (especially given the fact that the hotel has a club lounge open to all guests), the Hyatt Centric Chicago Loop is a great choice. Sometimes rates drop down to $109 per night, which is an amazing deal.
That being said, I found the rooms to be depressing and cold (both literally and figuratively). They could do well to warm them up with some colorful art, throw pillows, or better lighting. The Diamond breakfast benefit is also a bit stingy and needs to be increased. I also don’t quite get the Hyatt Centric concept or how it’s different from their Hyatt Place properties. I understand they’re going for a boutique hotel vibe and they certainly achieve that with the smaller hotel size/number of rooms, but not in terms of the way the property is decorated. For example, the Hyatt Centric website describes Hyatt Centric rooms as “Eclectic…[including] touches of local artistry to add unique, individual character to your stay.” If you consider the odd two-tone grey painting above the bed eccentric or reflective of local artistry, I guess it fits the bill.
That’s my two cents on the Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago…five months after my stay. Have you stayed at this hotel since? What are your thoughts?
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