Hiltons in Chicago (Exec Lounge)

Discussion in 'Hilton | HHonors' started by pauluk, Apr 7, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. pauluk

    pauluk New Member

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    Dear All,

    I am going with my wife to Chicago in week of 27th April for 5-day holidays. I was planning to use my HHonors points to stay in one of Hilton and leverage my Diamond status to get an access to Executive Lounge, like I always did while travelling & working in Europe. As I never stayed in Hilton in US before I did my research to choose the best option (incl. valuable insights from this forum), but it seems to me that Exec Lounge experience differ a lot between US and Europe. In hotels I visited so far (London, Vienna, Prague) I was always granted access to Exec Lounge (as Diamond member) and the concept was quite similar:
    • full breakfast in the morning (could freely choose between Restaurant and Lounge)
    • For most of the day Lounge open with cold & hot drinks and some snacks & fruits
    • 2-3 hours during the evening with free beverages, alcohol (wine, whisky, etc.) and some hot & cold snacks /food
    As I understand in Hiltons in US (Chicago) is a little bit different. Firstly, you can be refused access to Lounge even being a Diamond member (e.g. The Drake) and then there is no time when you can have wine / drinks for free (you pay what you consumed based on your declaration) ? Moreover, I understand that for Diamonds the breakfast is always guaranteed, but sometimes you cannot eat in the restaurant (you have to do it in lounge, where I guess variety is limited)?

    As said, initially I wanted to choose one of the Hilton in Chicago with Executive Lounge (i.e. The Drake, Palmer House, Hilton Chicago or Hilton Chicago/Magnificent Mile Suites), paying for them with points, but if Diamond benefits are so limited I am not sure and probably would like to consider other options.

    I would appreciate all insights about Exec Lounges in Hiltons in Chicago. Of course any other information / suggestions about Hiltons in Chicago are welcomed. Thank you in advance!
     
  2. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    HH Diamond perks in the US are notoriously inconsistent. I stayed at Hilton Chicago in December and other than remembering that I was upgraded to a junior suite, everything else is a blur because nothing was memorable. I could not even tell you whether the property has an exec lounge because I did not look for one. Ironically, what it sounds to me like you are looking for may, in fact, be most consistently offered for free to all the guests at Embassy Suites:

    About Embassy Suites
    I will be in Chicago during the last week of April and decided to stay at an Embassy Suites for convenience because it is located near the venue of my event there, but I have peace of mind knowing that I will be staying in a suite, as well as have ES's patented free cooked-to-order breakfast every morning and free drinks for a couple of hours in the evening to unwind. No need to play the complimentary Diamond suite upgrade lottery!

    BTW, I have never heard of HH Diamonds being denied access to the exec lounge at properties that have one...
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  3. pauluk

    pauluk New Member

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    Thank you NYCUA1K for explanation and additional information you provided - it was very useful.

    In terms of HH Diamonds being denied access to exec lounge I have read about couple of situation at The Drake in Chicago - they were told that Exec Lounge is too small and only people staying in Exec floor can have access (T&C says that Diamonds even without an upgrade to Exec floor should have access to Lounge).

    Have a good day.
     
  4. roadweary

    roadweary Silver Member

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    Ahhhh..... The beguiling "USA Executive Lounge Enigma". I'm a Diamond Hilton and travel the world. Everywhere I go outside the US, I can count on a relatively consistent and pleasant Exec Lounge experience. Good breakfast options, free flowing drinks and appetizers in the evening, etc. In the US, it's as if they didn't get the memo. Like NYCUA1K said, it is very inconsistent, to the point that I don't even factor the executive lounge into my decision. Now, regarding your specific question of Chicago, I love the Drake. I stayed there last weekend on an award stay with my wife. It's a classic with a great history and the rooms are large. The location is excellent and they upgraded me to a huge suite (bedroom, living area, two baths). For sure, the lounge is underwhelming with a very modest breakfast, but it's quiet and the views looking out over Lake Michigan are incredible. Hope you have a good time.
     
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  5. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    I still subscribe to the theory that Hilton Diamonds (and especially Gold) are too plentiful in the US due to the program design, nature of business, geographical context, CC partnerships, etc.

    This is entirely different in the rest of the world so when a top-tier (not limited to HHonors) member is in US vs other parts of the world, the service provided just cannot be the same.

    In Asia, without CC partnerships, generally lesser promotions, fewer property choices especially the lower tiered (aka cheaper) properties, getting a top Elite status is extremely challenging and properties.
     
  6. chitownflyer
    Original Member

    chitownflyer Silver Member

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    There is often a very substantial difference in the quality and benefits for elites when staying at international Hiltons versus domestic Hiltons. This should not be interpreted as US Hiltons are of poor quality, rather there are some excellent US based Hiltons, but Executive lounges in the US do NOT provide free evening drinks as the international Hiltons do.

    I understand why people like hotels with an Executive lounge, I do enjoy them myself as well, especially at locations like Berlin and Buenos Aires. However, I would not exclude staying at a hotel just because it does not have an Executive lounge. I truly enjoy the Trafalgar for its location and nice, but minimalist accommodations.

    To the OP, I would recommend staying at the Conrad Chicago, which is attached to the shops on Michigan Avenue. It has a nice breakfast and granted me a nice suite during my stay after SMDIV. The Conrad even provided me with a sound machine, so I could use it with white noise so as to drown out any street noise and sirens along Michigan Avenue. I also have read that the Waldorf Chicago is supposed to be well regarded. Chitown has some great restaurants, so do explore more than the Executive lounge at the hotel. The Drake is also a classic old world hotel held in regard by native Chicagoans. Enjoy your stay in Chitown.
     
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