Review: InterContinental Chicago O’Hare

A couple of nights ago I voluntarily bumped off a Chicago to Tampa flight which was oversold quite a bit, leaving me overnight in Chicago. I couldn’t help but chuckle as the gate agent presented me with the hotel choices. “We can put you up at the Crowne Plaza, Hampton Inn, Ramada, or InterContinental. Which would you like?”

I don’t think anyone would have to think twice, and the choice was especially easy for me, as a Royal Ambassador with InterContinental. This was awesome, since I had wanted to visit this hotel anyway since it opened a couple of years back.

The agent printed out my hotel and meal voucher, and off I went to the outside roadway at ORD. The InterContinental shuttle showed up within minutes, and I could immediately tell this was no average airport hotel. Instead of the usual old bus with broken cloth seats, this was basically a party bus with plush leather seats. It even had a “couch” in the back of the airport shuttle!

We were quickly at the InterContinental, and again, it just didn’t look like an airport hotel. The lobby was quite grand with lots of art pieces (basically an art gallery), and I loved the airplane theme behind the front desk.


Lobby


Lobby

I was promptly helped by a very friendly agent, and after handing him my hotel voucher, rather sheepishly asked whether there’s any chance they’d honor Royal Ambassador benefits on the stay (which they don’t technically have to do on stays like this). His response was a cheery “of course,” as he explained all the benefits I’d receive. He upgraded me to a junior suite on the 9th floor, and explained the internet would be free, along with the beverages in the minibar and one pay per view movie.

I headed up to the 9th floor, where I found my room, 962.


Hallway

Holy cow, there’s no way this is an airport hotel! I know I raved about the Crowne Plaza Singapore Changi Airport and Hyatt Regency Incheon Airport, but this hotel totally blows both of those out of the water.

The room was beautiful, with high ceilings, plenty of open space, and very nice appointments.


Junior suite


Facing the entrance


Couch and minibar area


Minibar


Floorplan


Huge walk in closet

As if the room wasn’t nice enough, the bathroom was even nicer. Not only was it huge, but it had a really cool shower, Elemis bath amenities, and a rainfall shower.


Bathroom


Sink


Elemis bath amenities


Shower

Since I hadn’t eaten anything “real” all day and had a meal voucher, they offered to let me use it on room service. I ordered a grilled chicken ceasar salad and slice of strawberry cheesecake. The prices were quite reasonable, at about $25 before tax and tip.

About 30 minutes later I was delivered a huge tray with what I ordered, along with a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, compliments of the house. Holy cow, a quick overnight and they even have a very nice Royal Ambassador welcome gift! While I didn’t have any champagne, the strawberries were delicious, as was the salad and cheesecake. Though had I known about the strawberries, I wouldn’t have ordered the cheesecake.


Room service


Grilled chicken ceasar salad

Overall this was by far the nicest airport hotel I’ve ever stayed at. Actually, I can’t even call this an airport hotel with a clear conscience. I’ll be back at this hotel in a heartbeat.

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Comments

  1. I’m there tomorrow for one night, but at “gutter” status. Posted on my FB page is an article I read yesterday about the in-house museum with full-time curator. Looking forward to my stay, from airport shuttle to hotel art.

  2. How does one aquire Royal Ambassador status? Especially for some on that as of now has almost zero stays with ICH. Do they status match from Hyatt Diamond or SPG Plat?

  3. you can buy royal amb status, you just have to bid on it or sometime buy it now option…..

    JOSH

  4. LUCKY,

    did you get a free breakfast too? next time i have to request 962, it looks beautiful, the room.

    JOSH

  5. When flying international trips from ORD, I always try to fly to ORD the night before just so we can stay at this hotel.

    So I guess you DEFINITELY understand why I will be staying here for the ORD FT DO in October!! I hope Frugal Travel Guy can understabd now, too. ­čÖé

  6. I stayed there for a night when I was stranded at ORD trying to get to IAD during the December ’09 Snowpocalypse. Fantastic hotel, and I got a great last-minute rate too. ($85 all-in!)

    I too loved the design choices this place made. I don’t think I could find a single flaw with this hotel – after a rather stressful day filled with cancelled flights (and one that took off, only to turn around) it was a great way to relax.

  7. Lucky – what did you do with the champagne, assuming you only have carry-on & were left with 2 choices – drink it (unlikely due to early connection the next morning) or give it away?

  8. Stayed there recently on Pointbreaks. Great hotel! Even managed a nice upgrade with my lousy gold status…

  9. I stayed at this hotel in mid June after taking a voluntary bump from UA! I was upgraded to the SAME EXACT type/location of room…but was on the 11th Floor Room 1162. I have to agree, I was totally blown away by the hotel. No way has any other “airport” hotel come close to this. The bathroom was massive! with 2 sets of huge windows.

    The only small issue with the bathroom. If you shower with the blinds rolled down! (i like to bathe or shower, while looking out a window) Anyone looking across from the multi level car park, can see right into the shower…as I found out! ­čÖé

    But I loved the Jr Suite!

    Im looking forward to trying out the new Intercontinental, off Times Sq!

  10. I suppose it’s reasonable for room service but I’ll never understand any statement claiming a salad and slice of cheesecake – or similar items – is reasonable at $25. A $15 salad and $10 slice of dessert? It’s not a James Beard of Michelin meal. I just won’t pay that much for a little bit of convenience.

  11. Well I think lucky used his $15 meal voucher toward the room service that’s why it’s reasonable.

    JOSH

  12. Good point. $10 salad, cheesecake and the status gift of strawberries and champagne make it quite reasonable. ­čÖé

  13. I usually stay at O’Hare Hilton, but your post encouraged me to try Intercontinental. And it was exactly as you have posted. I was upgraded to one-bed suite as Platinum member, and the room was amazing. Seriously, it was the best airport hotel I have ever stayed at. Well, maybe as nice as Tampa Grand Hyatt Casita Suite…
    Thanks for the post, and now I fully trust your taste on the hotels! ­čśë

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