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The Essex Inn: A Hidden Jewel in Downtown Chicago

March 3rd, 2014

  • Author: Kris Cain

When I attended the Chicago Auto Show earlier this month I had the pleasure of staying at the Essex Inn of Chicago. Even though I live in the Chicago area, I am about 1 hour from downtown Chicago in traffic, longer during rush hour. So when I can I choose to stay downtown for events that span more than one day. This way I can avoid the hassle of traffic and high parking rates.

The Essex Inn hotel in Chicago

In a world of huge downtown hotels the Essex Inn is a smaller family owned inn that has been in business since 1961. The Essex Inn is not a franchise. It is an one and only. The inn includes 254 guest rooms which may sound small compared to some of the larger hotels, but I think that is a great size for bringing in family, or even hosting a small conference. As you look around the inn you can see that there have been many recent updates, some still going on. The Essex Inn offers a few different guest rooms with a king bed, double queen, or suites with separate sitting areas to fit you and your family. Rooms are comfortable, spacious, and include a desk, plenty of outlets (important to me), and a mini-fridge.

Chicago hotel room in the Essex Inn
Inn Amenities

  • 254 Guest Rooms
  • 3 Banquet Rooms
  • 1 Board Room
  • 1 Media Room (currently being upgraded)
  • Restaurant (Brasserie by LM ) with beautiful private dining room
  • Large Pool
  • Large Fitness Facility
  • Sauna
  • Outdoor Patio
  • Indoor Valet Parking
  • Close to Downtown
  • Free (but slow) WiFi

Hotel with indoor pool Chicago
As I took a tour of the hotel I was quite impressed by all of the amenities offered, especially the amazing indoor swimming pool.

Gym at the Essex Inn

There is also a great fitness room that provides a great view of the pool area.

From outside, or even from the lobby it does not appear that so much is tucked in there. Besides the pool and fitness center, there is space for conferences.

Some of the rooms offer spectacular views of Michigan Ave, the Museum Campus, Buckingham Fountain, Lake Michigan, the Sears Tower, and Downtown Chicago. I can just imagine what the below photo will look like when everything is not covered in snow. I look forward to seeing this view when it’s sunny and green. :)

View of Chicago from Essex InnMore Pros 

  • Just outside of busy downtown Chicago
  • Low rates
  • Several amenities

Cramped bathrooms:
 As mentioned the inn has recently undergone renovations. I was told that some of the bathrooms got a face-lift. However as a result they are a bit small, and the sink is tiny. But, it gets the job done. How much time do you need to spend with the sink anyway? :) More Pros

I would definitely recommend the Essex Inn to someone looking for a good room in downtown Chicago. With many packages available that include shows, shopping, and more for families to enjoy Chicago it offers great value.

Disclosure: My room at the Essex Inn was comped in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

Kris Cain is a Chicago area mom to 2 sets of twins, and Digital Lifestyle Expert. On her blog, she writes about her love of technology, social media, travel, and anything else that crosses her mind. You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

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