Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Aloft Chicago O'Hare

Hotel Stay Detail
Hotel: Aloft Chicago O'Hare
Dates: July 6-7, 2013
Rate Paid: 3,000 SPG points/night 
Regular Room Rate: $134/night (incl. tax) 
Total $ Benefit: $134
Point Redemption: 4.5 cents/pt

Because we had an early 8:56AM flight Sunday morning, my parents decided to stay near the airport Saturday night so they could just hop on the free shuttle in the morning instead of having to return a rental car or have someone drive us.

Since my father's trying to hit 50 nights at Starwood this year to get 2014 Platinum Status, we picked Aloft Chicago O'Hare. If you haven't heard of Aloft Hotels, its a trendy budget hotel brand that's a cross between Starwood's W Hotel and Four Points.

My parents actually stayed here a few years ago before I was born. They liked the hotel a lot then, but it was located further away from our friends in Arlington Heights, so they opted for the Sheraton Suites in Elk Grove Village instead for the first few nights.

Check In
We arrived late around 9PM so we didn't have any time to check out the lobby lounge/bar or the hotel pool, but we definitely loved the high contrast bright colors splashed all over the common areas. I don't know how long the modernist style will last (think those 1970's style motels), but for 2013, it will do just fine.

We were given Room 634 (top floor, a few rooms off the elevator). The room had the exact same layout as the one my parents had in 2010. To say it nicely, it was "an efficient use of space" where the king bed took up most of the room though there was a small desk in the corner. Wifi was free for all guests and the room came with 2 free bottles of water and instant coffee. There didn't seem to be any room for a crib (but we didn't ask for one, and honestly, don't even know if they're offered at Aloft).

The bathroom was set behind the headboard which doubles as shelf space / closet on the other side. The mirror you see besides the sink is actually a door that slides shut when someone uses the shower or potty. Water pressure was excellent, but no tiny bottles of shampoo to take home. It was school bathroom wall pump style.

Sleeping that night was a bit tougher than we thought. The bed was super comfortable and the AC worked perfectly, but all the hallway noise came through the closed door. Being somewhat close to the elevator sounded good when we were carrying our luggage during check in, but it was a drawback when we were trying to sleep. Apparently some of the other guests on the 6th floor had a fun Saturday night out.

Sunday morning, we woke up at 6:30AM and went downstairs by 7:15AM to get on the 7:30AM airport shuttle. We were three of 7 total guests heading to the airport (most of which were airline crew). The ride took only about 5-7 minutes and we were checking in at our United Terminal 1 before we knew it. Note: If you're a United Elite flyer, your Priority check in area is at the far end of the United Terminal instead of at the front end where they drop you off.

Final Thoughts
Overall, Aloft Hotels aren't made for guests who want to spend an extended amount of time in the hotel, but more for people who want a comfortable place to sleep at night at a reasonable price point. They have a few amenities (pool, gym, bar, lounge, and snack area), but no full service restaurant and the staffing at the bar depends on the night. Again, we didn't get to use anything, but it's nice to know it was available.

For us, the Aloft Chicago O'Hare was a fine stay for the price point we paid (3,000 SPG points) - especially since we were getting 625 SPG points for our stay. 125 SPG points back as a Gold Welcome amenity and another 500 SPG points for making our booking using the Starwood iPhone app during their Summer Promotional period, which comes out to 2,375 net SPG points for a free $134 hotel stay (an amazing $0.056 per point redemption).

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