Hotel Group: Langham Hospitality Group
Hotel Status: Exployer (Base member)
Booking Type: Points Booking
Room Type: Executive King Club Room
Date of Stay: October 2017
The 316-room–including 48 suites–hotel is located on floors 2-13 of the legendary IBM building. The IBM building was the last from renowned architect Mies van der Rohe, who is credited with being the inventor of the modern skyscraper.
The Langham opened its doors in 2013 and immediately became one of the best hotels in the United States. Just this year, it received the Five Stars award by Forbes Travel, #1 hotel in the USA by U.S. News & World Report, Five Diamond award by AAA, and #3 Travelers Choice Luxury Hotel in the USA by TripAdvisor, among many other accolades.
The hotel offers its guests an award-winning spa, a pool, a health club, two beautifully designed restaurants, club lounge, butler service, and about any other amenity you could think of.
I stayed here in 2015 and was blown away by the level of service and attention to detail they displayed. One of the hardest things for a true five-star hotel to do is provide a consistently flawless experience for their guests, so I was curious to see if The Langham could deliver yet again.
Valet parking is $71
I booked an Executive Club King room using Chase Ultimate Rewards points. The cash rate in the Chase travel portal was $654.25, which cost 52,340 Chase Ultimate Reward points. If I’d booked on Langham’s website the exact same room would have cost $757.23.
I want to express that I DO NOT recommend anyone use this many Chase Ultimate Reward points for a hotel stay. Spending over 50,000 points on a one-night hotel stay is downright dumb, in my opinion. There are so many other great ways to get much higher value than just 1.25 cents from your points. With that said, I booked using points for several reasons. First, The Langham is one of my all-time favorite hotels, and I wanted to share it with Marianna. Secondly, I write hotel reviews and wanted this to be one that I have reviewed on my site. Lastly, I have a nice balance of Chase Ultimate Reward points, and at the time I’d rather have $652 than 52,000 Chase points.
We pulled up to the entrance of the hotel and were immediately greeted by the bellhop, who assisted with our luggage. He asked if I was Robert Ensor and radioed up to the butlers in the Club Lounge to tell them we were on our way up. The club lounge is located on the 13th floor (12c). All Club Level guests go there to check in. All other guests go to the second-floor reception lobby.
The bottom floor is where the bellhop station is, as well as a small lobby area.
The elevators are to the left after entering the main doors and, like the rest of the hotel, are beautifully designed.
The second-floor reception desk and lobby area is the most gorgeous of any hotel I’ve stayed in. The colorful blown glass pebbles overhead offer a stunning visual that gives the lobby a glitzy feel.
The Club Lounge is located on floor 12c. Chassidy was there to welcome us and finish formalities. She was kind enough to give us a late check-out the following day since we weren’t flying out until 6pm.
Overall the check-in process was seamless.
We had the 516 sq ft Executive Club room CL112, which was about halfway down the hallway from the Club Lounge.
The room features a dressing parlor and vanity, a cellarette, a 55in TV, work desk, and a separate seating area. I’ll let the photos do most of the talking.
The king bed was as comfortable as it looks, with a nightstand on each side. Sadly, there was easy access to a power outlet on only one side of the bed. 🤦🏽♂️
The cellarette housed the Nespresso machine, snacks, glasses, and beverages. I could have sworn I took a photo of the mini-bar prices, but I can’t find it anywhere. I’m slippin’.
The closet in the dressing parlor contained the robes, slippers, safe, a shoe shine kit, and the laundry pricing.
The wi-fi was decent and came with complimentary access to PressReader, which gives you thousands of newspapers and magazines on your device.
We had a nice city view but you could see a little of the Chicago River also. I’d recommend getting a river view if you stay here. I had one last time I stayed here and it was far better than the city view.
Lastly, here’s the TV channel listing.
The bathroom has a mix of Botticino Fiorito marble, Alaskan white granite, and travertine. It features a double sink, deep soaking tub, and rainfall showerhead.
A really cool feature of the bathroom is the opaque privacy glass. At a touch of a button you control whether or not you can see into the bedroom.
All of the amenities are from their signature Chuan Spa.
Overall, the bedroom and bathroom were exactly what I was expecting: luxurious and comfortable.
The Chuan Spa was recently rated Five Stars by Forbes Travel Guide. Hotel guests get free access to spa facilities, including men’s and women’s locker rooms, pool, and fitness center. The moment you get off the elevators you know the spa is going to be special.
The locker room is where you’ll find an herbal sauna, Himalayan salt stone sauna, aromatherapy shower, steam room with scents of Chamomile, and relaxation recliners “radiating heat to create a sense of harmony,” as they put it. I don’t know about a wave of harmony rushing over my body, but the recliners were great. It wouldn’t take much to fall asleep lying on these.
As for the treatment rooms, I was unable to get any photos but I did take a few of the relaxation room. On each side of the room, facing the couches, was a waterfall against the wall. It’s hard to see the water in the photos but it’s a great design. I mean, Himalayan salt saunas, chamomile scented steam rooms, back rubs, waterfalls? I’m relaxed just thinking about it.
Here’s a sample of the treatments they offer.
The fitness center is located down the hall from the men’s locker room and is open from 5:30am-10pm. There are fourteen cardio machines, fourteen weight machines, and several medicine balls. They also offer group exercises. I didn’t take a photo of it but I noticed in one of the back rooms they offered group exercises with surfboards. I’m sure some of you know what the exercise is called.
The pool, like the fitness center, is open from 5:30am-10pm. The pool is their centerpiece for the spa and for a good reason. It’s 67 ft and has spotlights reflecting off the water from above and below. The deep-blue colored water mixed in with the yellow hue of the lights made for a great ambiance.
At the far end of the pool is a heated jacuzzi.
As you can see, this is one of the better hotel pools in Chicago.
A hotel inside a hotel is one way to describe the Club Lounge. It’s on the top floor (12c) and costs an additional $125 per person, or if you have a guest for one day, it’s $50 per service. The lounge provides a breakfast buffet, all-day refreshments (not including alcohol), mid-day snacks, evening hors d’oeuvres, evening bar service, two-hour complementary boardroom usage, butler service, private registration for arriving and departing, pressing of three garments, two computer workstation, a small library with a writer’s corner, and complimentary car service within two miles of the hotel. I’m sure I left something out. The space is beautifully designed and has the best views in the entire hotel.
I’ll go through all the food options starting with the breakfast. The hot items were eggs, bacon, waffles, and two other things I don’t recall.
The mid-day snacks were very light. The beef tenderloin crostini with caper lemon aioli and Havarti cheese was one of my favorite things I had during the stay.
As for the evening hors d’oeuvres and premium bar service, I thought the only things premium about the bar offerings were the Ketel One and Grey Goose. Serving Glass Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon that retails for $8 per bottle for which they probably paid $4 per bottle, is not premium or top shelf. Furthermore, they don’t even serve Champagne, just Prosecco. The food offerings I’d give a 6.5/10. If you took away the shrimp cocktail the score would be much lower.
The butlers in the lounge offer an array of services including packing and unpacking of clothes, luggage repair, travel logistics management, and butler-drawn baths. I’m a sucker for a bubble bath, so I requested one soon after we arrived. Two things to note: they ask that you give them a two-hour notice, and it comes with a glass of Prosecco.
The workstation comes with one PC and one Mac, each connected to a printer.
Overall, I wouldn’t pay to for Club Lounge access again. I think the food and drink offerings are dismal for $125 extra per night. The only time you can get an alcoholic drink besides beer is between the hours of 5:30pm-8pm and the alcohol offerings they do provide are a terrible excuse for premium drinks. They don’t even offer bloody marys or mimosas at breakfast. I’m on vacation, I want a bloody mary to start the day. As for the butlers, I think they do a great job providing personalized service, but I did have one problem. I left our bags in the lounge when we checked out because we were going to lunch before we left for the airport, and Joseph assured me my bags would be downstairs with the bellhop at 3pm. When I arrived to retrieve them at 3:05, the bags were not there. It may not seem like a big deal, but we were rushing to the airport and trying to beat traffic as best we could. It also didn’t help my Uber was stressed that he had to sit in front of the hotel for 10 minutes waiting on me. Only after finding someone with an earpiece to call up for our bags were they delivered. The bags arrived at 3:20pm. It wasn’t the seamless experience I was hoping for.
With all that said, I could see the Club Lounge being a good option if you were traveling with kids.
The hotel has two restaurants: The Pavilion and Travelle Kitchen + Bar. Both are located on the second floor. The Pavilion is right next to the reception desk. They serve afternoon tea daily and during the evenings they have cocktails and lighter fare. The space is stunning with some great views of the city. We didn’t have time to try out anything here but I will make it a priority next time I stay here.
Travelle Kitchen + Bar is right across from the reception desk. To the right is the main dining area and to the left is the bar and lounge. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We sat in the bar area for a quick drink and a snack the night we were there. I ordered a French 75 and the steamed pork won tons. Both were excellent.
Here’s a sample of the menu.
And here’s a sample of the room service menu.
One thing that blew my mind was the bar doesn’t open until 3pm. That means the only place to get a cocktail or glass of wine before 3pm is by room service, or if you sit in the dining room of Travelle. The Langham is a well-oiled machine it seems, so I’m sure they know what they are doing but not having a place to get a drink during the afternoon is silly to me. We ended up walking across the street to have wine.
Last time I stayed here I would have given them a 9.6/10. This time around I’ll give them a 8.9/10. Joseph from the club lounge forgetting to bring our bags down when we were in a rush to leave was a mistake that shouldn’t happen. Nevertheless, all other associates we encountered during our stay were delightful.
As you can tell I have some issues with this place. Club Lounge being stingy with wine and liquor and the food options not being great that evening were a real bummer. It’s not hard to offer wine all day. Just put out that $4 bottle of red wine and put some glasses around it. Even if the guests went through 20 bottles a day you are only in it for $80. And the fact the bar doesn’t open until 3pm is crazy to me. With that said I still love this hotel. I think the staff generally care about making sure we are happy and satisfied. I highly recommend this hotel but I’ll be skipping the Club Lounge next time.