The Hyatt Regency O’Hare is like an old college friend with whom you share distant memories – great for a night of catching up, but not something to plan a vacation around. I’ve had many stays at this property over the years – sometimes planned, sometimes due to irregular operations. I’ve found the property to be very consistent – both in what I like and what I don’t.
The hotel is accessible from O’Hare via shuttle. It’s supposed to run every 15 minutes but I waited closer to 20. When it arrived, multiple descended on it like locusts. Apparently a United flight had cancelled and sent all of its passengers to the Hyatt, many with no bags.
When the shuttle arrived, it was a mass scramble to get to the front desk first. As luck would have it, my bags were last off the shuttle baggage compartment so I was the last one into the lobby. Two long lines had formed at the regular check-in. I decided to go stand at the Platinum/Diamond check in line, much to the consternation of some of the distressed passengers. (I was reminded of that George Clooney check-in scene from Up in the Air.)
Of course, no one seemed to be working the Gold/Diamond check-in… and due to my own delay, I was now cutting into my own sleep time as I’d be going straight to bed when I got a room. My attempts to online check-in earlier had been unsuccessful so I didn’t dare leave the line to try the self check-in kiosks. Meanwhile, the voucher check-ins were taking a while. United had combined the meal and hotel voucher, so the agents had to go to the back to make copies for each passenger. One agent kept glancing my way but each time she would finish, another passenger would rush up, glaring at me as they did.
Finally she held off another passenger and called me over, apologizing that they did not have the elite line staffed. “We had been dead all night – and then the line formed before we could reorganize.” I understood, I told her. She recognized my status, offered my points or amenity as a Diamond, and confirmed my executive lounge access.
I have stayed at this hotel before and they have some nice executive rooms, but they are located in a back tower behind the main building and accessible by a hallway and separate elevator. As I would be leaving early in the morning, I requested a room in the main building. The desk agent asked if I was sure I wanted to give up the executive room? Yes, I did.
A bit of typing, then a key was issued. I was on my way.
So I basically knew what I could be getting myself into when I requested to not be put back in the back tower. There was a chance that rather than one of the atrium rooms, I’d get a room in one of the circular corners. And I did.
Room 952 was in perfectly reasonable condition, but it was the size of a cruise ship cabin. This did not matter since I was going straight to bed and would shower and go straight to the airport in the morning. On a longer stay, this would be an issue.
The size of the room – and the poor lighting – made it impossible to get good photos of the room. These were the best shots I could obtain – and that tells some of the story!
The heat was turned WAY up when I arrived. It was sauna hot – and this coming from someone who had just stood outside for 20 minutes. It took about 30 minutes to cool things down enough to be able to go to sleep.
The bathroom was small – so small that it was difficult to photograph as the door got in the way when open and when closed, there was not enough room without a wide angle lens. The toilet is oddly positioned into a corner and because of this, it is not a tank toilet but a public restroom style one with a metal flush handle.
Aesthetically pleasing, it is not. The shower is a square hole and the bathroom vanity is squeezed between the two. This would be an uncomfortable bathroom to share with another person.
The hotel shuttle runs every fifteen minutes during peak hours. I arrived down in the lobby at 5:53 am, prepared to catch the 6:00 am shuttle, so I bypassed the front desk, planning to check out online.
Unfortunately it was already full and they were turning passengers away to wait for the 6:15 am one. Temperatures were in the single digits and no passengers were waiting outside but inside, a large cluster was starting to form by 6:05 am to wait with no semblance of a queue. Frustrated, I walked outside to wait along with another passenger who also missed out on the first shuttle. We asked the bellman why there was no order and he assured us that this was a larger van and would hold everyone who wanted to go. Not convinced, the other passenger asked me if I wanted to share a taxi to the airport. We were ready to hail one when the shuttle pulled up and started loading.
The hotel could have used a more consistent means of guaranteeing that passengers have shuttle access based on the promised schedule.
I liked the Regency Club at this property. I did not have an opportunity to visit it on this stay as I arrived very late and departed very early. The location off the lobby is nice given the hotel layout as it’s easy to swing in for evening appetizers upon arrival or before dinner. Breakfast is easy to grab on the way out the door.
I’ve also used the fitness center on past stays and was pleased with the equipment and facility set up.
This is my favorite of the Chicago airport hotels in terms of overall offerings with the exception of the rooms themselves. This is a hotel I’ll elect on layovers or during irregular operations, but avoid for longer stays when room size and comfort is of importance.