W Lakeshore Chicago – Nothing “Spectacular” About This Stay!

Overview: An upper-midscale hotel that is long on the tooth and weak on service Strengths: Lake views, price, SPG gold recognition Drawbacks: Rooms, service Update – Jan 17: see note and link in the comments section about shooting at this hotel which occurred just before my stay. A business trip brought me to Chicago earlier […]

Keeping the Uber-SPG Connection Going!

Update Jan 16 2016: SPG confirmed via Twitter that you don’t start earning each year until you have completed one SPG stay.  Their language (second image below) could have been construed as just applying to the year you register (though could also easily be read to say you need one stay each year before the meter turns […]

J House (Greenwich, CT) – Good, with a Reputation

Overview: An upper-midscale hotel in “tony” Greenwich, CT Strengths: Rooms, dining Drawbacks: Slight housekeeping issue Notable: This hotel has a certain “reputation” Earlier this fall, I ended up taking a red-eye flight home from the west coast in order to be back in the office the next day for some important late morning-meetings.  After a […]

Park Hyatt Washington DC – Some Parts Better Than Anticipated

Overview: A comfortable in-city option in Washington DC Strengths: Dining, service Drawbacks: Aggressive housekeepers, room and corridor finishes are a mix of “Hyatt” and actually what you’d expect from a luxury property A quick business trip brought me to Washington DC for the night.  While I have typically stayed at either the Ritz-Carlton, Mandarin or […]

The Breakers – Olde School Palm Beach

Overview: The Olde School choice for 4-star oceanfront luxury in Palm Beach Strengths: Location, outdoor complex/pools, gym, golf Drawbacks: Dated rooms and decor, weak dining, a very large property, hallway noise in rooms Notable: You are asked to show your room key entirely too often Earlier this week, I spent a night at the Breakers as […]

The Greenwich Hotel (New York City) – Good, not great

Overview: A NYC-style boutique luxury hotel Strengths: Location, quality of furnishings, dining [and the spa] Drawbacks: Service lapses in the “Drawing Room” and elsehwere, hallway noise coming into guest rooms (See bottom for a brief note on our extraordinary meal at Jungsik!) Backed by Robert DeNiro (among others), New York City’s “The Greenwich Hotel” has […]

XV Beacon Hotel – Good hard product, weak soft product

Overview: An in-city, boutique hotel that misses the mark on a luxury experience Strengths: Rooms (excluding bathrooms), location Drawbacks: Service experience, bathrooms, Virtuoso is an afterthought Notable: Room service has access to their in-house steak house (great), but brought me someone else’s order (not great) A two-night business trip brought me back to Boston several […]

Waldorf Astoria Chicago (formerly The Elysian) – Just OK, not Great

Overview: A luxury city hotel that is just OK, not great Strengths: Service, location Drawbacks: Suite felt boxy, connectivity issues in rooms, average dining, challenges with the doorman I’ve been reading and hearing about this hotel since when it first opened as the Elysian in 2010.  Many early guests raved about the hotel and it […]

Four Seasons Palm Beach – Palm Beach’s Most Refined Choice

Overview: A highly refined, luxury beach-front resort Strengths: Quality of rooms, service, views Drawbacks: Meaningful beach erosion over the years I’ve stayed at the Four Seasons Palm Beach well over a dozen times in the past twenty years.  Across those stays, the hotel has demonstrated itself to be a very consistent and refined luxury beach […]