Sunday, April 5, 2015

Westin Chicago Northwest

Hotel Details
Hotel: Westin Chicago Northwest
Dates: April 2-5, 2015 
Rate Paid: $35 + 2,000 SPG points per night 
Regular Cost: $204 per night 
Redemption: 8.3 cents/point

Whenever we visit our friends in Chicago, we usually stay at the Sheraton Suites in Elk Grove Village. It's pretty cheap and only about 10 minutes away from Jack & Connor's house in Rolling Meadows.

But the condition of the property has really gone down in recent years. Our last stay there (September 2014), we couldn't help but notice all the wear and tear on the walls, furniture and carpet. Plus the amenities were sub-par (dirty swimming pool, unstaffed bar, mediocre restaurant).

So this time around, we decided to stay a bit further away at the Westin in a town called Itasca. But since the drive on an expressway, it's pretty easy to get to/from our friends house.

Also, the Westin was a Category 2 at the time of our booking, so it was just $35 cash + 2,000 SPG points per night.  If we paid with just SPG points, it would be 3,000 points per night. Since this is a business hotel, the Thursday night was retailing for $204 (after taxes). So our cash and points redemption saved us $160, which meant a ridiculously amazing 8.3 cents/pt redemption rate!

The Friday ($109) and Saturday ($98) nights were a lot cheaper since the hotel doesn't attract weekend tourist crowds, but it still made sense to use SPG points to subsidize our hotel costs - especially when it costed the same as the Sheraton in Elk Grove. Plus when we arrived, we saw how much nicer the hotel was relative to the Sheraton. It was a lot newer and larger and more appropriate for conferences and weddings. The main atrium was open so you could see the entire hotel from the lobby floor (see left). The Sheraton (see right) was more dated and more typical of a mid-range hotel.


The elevators had a glass window so you could see how high you were, and it really freaked out my parents who are both afraid of heights. I wanted to jump up and down in the elevator to tease my father, but he would have flipped out. I did get a nice look from our 5th floor hallway though.

When we checked in Thursday night, we were pleasantly surprised to have been upgraded from a standard room to a massive 700 sq ft one-bedroom suite. Here's a floor plan showing our suite (room 536) in the bottom right corner versus the other standard rooms.

In addition to having a lot more space, we had a dining room table that seats 6, a few couches to watch TV and a wetbar in the livingroom.

That's in addition to the super comfortable Westin Heavenly king bed in a massive bedroom and a very spacious double sink bathroom.

Then the hotel swimming pool was a lot nicer and cleaner than the one at the Sheraton. On Saturday night, we invited my friend Jack to go swimming. The hot tub was almost scolding, but we got used to it and it was fun to go back and forth from hot to cold.

Plus with my father's Starwood Platinum status, we got vouchers for breakfast each morning at Shula's Restaurant in the lobby. The breakfast buffet wasn't much to write home about, but for $0, our family of 3 was more than happy to fill up each morning.

So yeah, for just $35 and 2,000 SPG points a night, we really lucked out!

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