Hotel review: Hotel Monaco Chicago

by David Eckoff · 0 comments

I recently stayed at Hotel Monaco Chicago while on a business trip to Chicago. Here is my review:

PRE-ARRIVAL: I booked a suite for this stay, thanks to a great deal that I got on

I am a Kimpton “Inner Circle” elite level member, and hotel General Manager Nabil Moubayed e-mailed me in advance of my arrival with a personal note, to let me know that he pre-blocked me into a river view suite on a high floor.

I was impressed that Mr. Moubayed took the time to contact me in advance of my stay. I was VERY impressed that he thought about other details from a guest’s point of view. For example, Mr. Moubayed noticed my Inner Circle welcome amenity preference for cheese and crackers – and asked what time I would be arriving to ensure the cheese selection would be fresh.

That’s the kind of personal service and attention to detail that is not only hard to come by (even at boutique hotels), that wins me over as a loyal guest for my future visits to Chicago. Memo to Tom LaTour, Kimpton CEO: you could use more GM’s like Mr. Nabil Moubayed… give this employee a raise!

LOCATION: Hotel Monaco Chicago is located in the center of downtown Chicago, close to the North Michigan Avenue shopping district and the Loop business district. I found the location to be convenient for business, dining and shopping.

TRANSPORTATION: Upon arrival at O’hare International Airport, I took a taxi to the hotel, about 30 minutes without traffic.

CHECK IN: Check in at the front desk was efficient, although not quite as polished as other boutique, luxury hotels I’ve stayed at.

I arrived shortly after the conclusion of wine hour in the lobby, but upon request, a hotel staffer was nice enough to bring me a glass of wine when I was checking in.

General Manager Nabil Moubayed met me in the lobby at check in to personally greet me – now that’s service!

HOTEL BUILDING: Hotel Monaco Chicago is a 192-room hotel. The lobby is comfortable and inviting, as I’ve found all other Kimpton properties.

MY ROOM: Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly about my suite:

The Good:

  • Very clean
  • Comfortable bed and pillows
  • My corner room suite had lots of windows with beautiful views of the river.
  • Window seats installed at every window made the room unique – I liked sitting inside the window seat area and looking out over the river. Very cool.
  • Plush terrycloth bathrobe
  • Oversized deep soaking tub with with jacuzi jets
  • Nicely furnished: rich mahogany writing desk and armoires
  • Stereo system with CD player
  • My Inner Circle welcome amenity was in my room upon arrival, and was fresh. Bravo! I should note that the cheese selection wasn’t as high quality as what I’ve received from Hyatt as a Diamond level member, so while everything was satisfactory, there is room for improvement.

The Bad:

  • I called the hotel concierge mid-morning to assist with dinner reservations, and left a voice message asking for a return call to my cel phone. No return call received. Everything worked out okay, however the concierge should have called me back during the day.
  • Bathroom was a little on the small side. The shower stall in the corner of the bathroom was rather cramped.
  • Although I was very happy with my room, the room didn’t seem that large, compared with other suites I’ve stayed in.
  • The closet was in the main room of the suite instead of the bedroom. I’d rather have my clothes in the bedroom. I suppose they didn’t have any other choice because there wasn’t space available in the bedroom for a closet or armoire.
  • Perspective: none of those issues were particularly bad, and if these are the only issues, then the hotel management can feel very good about what they are doing.

The Ugly:

  • The alarm clock. On the surface it looked like any other alarm clock but the buttons were not labeled, so I wasn’t entirely sure that the wake up alarm was set correctly. The front desk was unable to help, referring me to engineering. It shouldn’t take an engineer to figure out how to set an alarm clock. Memo to hotel management: consider replacing the alarm clocks with ones that are easy to figure out.


SPECIAL AMENITIES: Hotel Monaco Chicago, like all the Kimpton properties, has an evening wine hour, during which guests can socialize with each other. I very much like this concept. Complimentary morning Starbucks coffee and various teas in the lobby, was a nice touch and appreciated. Complimentary morning newspapers were good, as well.

HOTEL STAFF AND MANAGEMENT: The hotel general manager did a great job making me feel like a valued guest. The hotel staff were friendly and helpful. At times the front desk staff went out of their way to be extra helpful.

CHECK OUT: fast and efficient.

THE VERDICT: Big thumbs up! I will stay at Hotel Monaco Chicago on all future trips to the windy city. I enthusiastically recommend Hotel Monaco Chicago.

UPDATE: I have made a return visit to Hotel Monaco Chicago, and had another good stay. Thumbs up!

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