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Home Base: Chicago's Fairmont Millennium Park

View from my room at the FairmontFairmont Millennium Park
200 North Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601, United States.
Ph: (312) 565-8000

 The United flight actually got in a few minutes early, but when i made my way through the lengthy terminal  to the baggage claim area, my friend was waiting. As I had only a carry-on bag we were soon on our way downtown.

Probably because it was the start of a long weekend, and the flight arrived around 3:30, the traffic snarl from O’Hare airport e to the Fairmont Hotel at Millennium Park in the heart of downtown Chicago, was horrendous. But we spent the time catching up on events since we had last got together in Vancouver (see Walking Downtown Vancouver in the Summer).  

nice seating area, great bed, perfect pillowsWhen we arrived at the Fairmont, the cheerful door staff let us leave the car at the entrance while I checked in and took my things up to my room. The room, on the 27th Floor was spacious and nicely appointed and had a fantastic view. I could even get glimpses of the lake in the distance.

The bathroom had a well designed shower, with a niche in the wall that could comfortably hold soap, shampoo, and conditioner. I hate those little metal holders that some places have where something always falls down onto the wet shower floor.

The only two flaws as I discovered on returning to the room later that night, were the air-conditioning unit  odour and the bedside light that didn't work. I thought it was probably unplugged but the bedside table was too heavy for me to move alone so I got the housekeeper to help me check the next morning and sure enough, it had been unplugged. When I switched the air-conditioner off prior to getting into bed it emitted a strong acrid odour that was so strong I actually thought it may be on fire.

IPad with newspaper apps in AriaA call to the front desk to ask whether this was a problem was reassuring - apparently it can be quite bad if the AC has been on for a long time but the smell should dissipate after about ten minutes. I switched off the light and went to sleep trusting that she was right.

While preparing for this trip I checked the Fairmont Hotels site for information. On-line I was able to join the Fairmont Club and therefore qualify for some of their benefits. Although the golf club loan did not interest me, the  free wireless internet access did.  This is limited wireless access - email, social networking etc. but still was quite adequate for my needs.

The next morning I was going out with my friends at 10:30 so I decided to try the Aria restaurant for breakfast. At the entrance, the hostess offered me a choice of newspapers or an IPad which had apps that offered access to about twenty major newspapers.

crab and avocado omeletteThe menu offered an interesting selection of omelettes. I chose a peekytoe crab omelette with avocado, onion and tomatoes.  I did not want the hash browns so instead they brought me a bowl of delicious mixed berries.

I read later that the peekytoe crab is a variety of rock or sand crab  found in Maine. The name comes form the sharp pointed end of the crab leg that turns inward.

While enjoying my breakfast I had a long chat with Marisa, one of the 6 restaurant managers, who has been with the Fairmont for 17 years. She told me they had introduced the IPads into the restaurant about  7 months previously and they were really popular. I commented on nice the large marble topped tables were. Lots of room for four people to be seated comfortably. But apparently because they are so heavy they are really difficult to move when large parties come in.  I had not considered that aspect.

I was impressed by the attitude and efficiency of the Fairmont staff from the food services to the door staff.  I asked room service to bring me a fruit smoothie on the dot at 6 am on the morning I was checking out of the hotel, and they were there on the dot of 6.  I also noticed that two Aria meals on the same day had been charged to my account though I had only had the breakfast there. I called down and by the time I came to checkout,the bill had been fixed.

Overall I was impressed by the Fairmont and pleased that I joined the Fairmont Club as I will certainly consider these hotels an option for future travel - room price dependent obviously.