R! Well, Actually, W!
September 19, 2006
Ahoy, maties, today's shot across the bow is all about the ostentatiously trendy place we stayed over the weekend:
The W Hotel, City Center, Chicago.
Friendlier staff you never will meet. There were people opening doors for us, chatting us up in the elevators, greeting us from the concierge desk, bringing us breakfast.
Unfortunately, we could barely see them. None of the lights in this joint are more than 25 watts, generating an ambiance that makes you want to lie down for a nap. The only lights in the halls were pin spots that illuminated the art hanging on the walls, which comprised silver things (a pen, a cigar case, a key... you get the idea) ensconced in shadow (appropriate!) boxes. At least the concierges had desk lamps so that they could actually see what they were doing.
Even when we turned on all the lights in our teeny tiny (yet quite comfy) room, it was still dim. But! The room service was great! And the snack tray was quite comprehensive, with everything from Oreos to Twizzlers to a teddy bear to an "intimacy kit". Of course, it was all priced accordingly. Six bucks for Oreos!
The decor was excruciatingly tasteful -- all muted, earth tones throughout. The lobby (what we could see of it through the trendy gloom) was almost all black. Black sofas, black tables, black pillows -- when we left to meet our pals on Friday evening, we noticed a dude sitting in the darkest corner of the dark lounge wearing all black clothes, a black ball cap, and (yes!) sunglasses. He would have disappeared completely if he hadn't been a white man.
I kid, I do -- but overall the W was a fine and gracious host. The bed was extraordinarily comfy, with wonderful feather pillows and plenty of them. The bathroom amenities were great, which helped a lot because we left most of our toiletries at home so we could carry our backpacks on the plane. A quick stop at the CVS travel size bin supplied us with toothpaste, moisturizer, shave gel, and disposable razors for less money than the Oreos.
I'd go back, definitely.
But I'd bring a flashlight. Arrr!