Sometimes “Good” is good enough. Although we checked in to attend a conference, we think the Holiday Inn Chicago – Elk Grove is definitely good for business and leisure but, as always, the devil’s in the details.
Not Shabby, Not Chic (and that’s ok!)
We’ll set the stage by saying this Holiday Inn is not a fancy hotel, but then it’s not a Michigan Avenue property. Elk Grove Village is a hard-working, office park sort of area, and the Holiday Inn fits that personality. The hotel is nice – good rooms with basic amenities and a solid, helpful staff. Our stay was for a weekend conference, and everything was handled well and run smoothly. Checking in, the desk was crazy busy but very organized, patient, efficient and, most importantly, very nice and cheerful. Our room rate included breakfast (a perk of our conference, I think); the only mistake made was giving us double breakfast vouchers. (Maybe I looked hungry?)
Our room was very clean and in good condition. Having read a few reviews that mentioned the in-room HVAC being loud and either too hot or too cold, I was a little worried about the unit. However, it ran quietly and kept the room at an even, comfortable temperature throughout our stay. While the furniture was all clean and in good condition, the desk chair did not adjust and just barely fit beneath the desk; the armrests scraped against the table, making it hard to pull in and out. That also meant it could not be raised for a more comfortable working arrangement.
My Kingdom for a Power Plug!
The only real annoyance is the lack of outlets in the room. There is ONE plug on the desk lamp, and none on the wall nearby. The coffee maker is also on that table, so you have to unplug whatever is plugged in if you want to make coffee. In fact, the only outlets on that wall were located behind the bureau/tv stand, and several feet further away near the dressing mirror. There was another plug near the bed – with the alarm clock and lamp plugged in – and another by the sofa, not convenient to any table or other surface where you might work or set devices to charge. The nightstand lamp did have one socket. Overall, too few and poorly placed.
Our room was quieter than expected. Situated right next to a service closet (I have no idea what was in it) with an elevator and an ice machine very close by, I did not expect a restful night. I was so wrong! Yes, there was the occasional noise from the hallway or the (adjoining) room next door, but it was very quiet overall. The beds were comfy with big, fluffy pillows, and I was out like a light until my alarm went off every day of our stay.
Amenities were basic and were oddly lacking hair conditioner, even after we asked for them to be replenished. One nice thing at this hotel: If you’ve forgotten your toothbrush, tooth paste, razor or other sundries, you can get one for free at the front desk. (In fact, the desk staff were always very helpful, helping us with everything from directions to finding a Band-Aid.) The one amenity we appreciate most, however, is free Wi-Fi, which we did have. We can’t say it enough: this should be an industry standard, just like alarm clocks and telephones (which most people we’ve asked don’t use anymore).
Beyond the Room
The hotel does have a rather nice indoor pool (photo above, courtesy of Holiday Inn/IHG), with men’s and women’s saunas in the showers/bathrooms. During most of our stay, the pool room was quiet and empty; a nice place to retreat and relax. (During spring break and summer months, we’re sure it’s a popular area for families.) There is also a small exercise facility with a treadmill, bike and weight machine. Nothing fancy, but good enough. Maybe better than good enough with showers right there. Outside of the pool area’s glass walls is a furnished courtyard with a fireplace. Unfortunately, it was too cool for us to really enjoy, but it looked very nice.
With the exception of the in-room power situation, the Holiday Inn Chicago – Elk Grove is a great option for business travel: affordable, efficient, good location (Elk Grove Village is next door to Chicago O’Hare airport). But we think it’s a good family and leisure hotel as well. The pool is the star, and you can take advantage of Holiday Inn’s family-friendly ‘Kids Eat & Stay Free’ policy. Within 45 minutes, you can be strolling Michigan Avenue, catching a game at Wrigley Field, or wandering Millennium Park. Also, being so close to the airport, there is a free shuttle if you choose to go car-free, as we did. Also on the plus side, there’s a small laundry facility.
And then there’s the restaurant…
Adjacent to the hotel is Shelby Campbell’s Almost Famous restaurant. We did eat there the first night, but that was it. The food was good, and prices were equivalent to similar chain restaurants, but they were woefully understaffed. And those servers on hand were very poorly organized. It took us 20 minutes to get seated, which wouldn’t be unheard of if the restaurant was busy, but it wasn’t. Once seated, we waited 30 minutes for someone to take our order, another 30 minutes to be served, and almost 45 minutes to get our bill. In all, we were in the restaurant for more than two hours. We took the opportunity to relax and visit, but the wait was horrendous.
Despite that, we have to say the food was good and the portions were large. Our waitress was obviously stressed (given the situation) but, to her credit, she remained cheerful and friendly. (We genuinely felt for her, and were tempted to pick up a table or two to help out!) At any other time, it would probably have been a great experience. Given this experience, though, we chose other dinner options for the rest of our stay. We were attending a conference, which had breakfast and lunch catered by the hotel. I’ll just say that they were low-cost, conference type meals.
Overall, our stay was good which, in the circumstances, was good enough. Have you stayed at the Holiday Inn Chicago Elk Grove? We’d love to hear about your experience, or if you would consider staying here when you visit Chicago. Just leave us a comment below!