In October 2011 I was lucky enough to attend the Chicago Seminars. I didn’t initially book in time to get a room at the host hotel, the Holiday Inn Elk Grove Village, but at the last minute I was lucky enough to be able to pick up the reservation from someone else who decided to stay at a different chain. I was thrilled to be in the host hotel and not have to deal with driving in from another hotel or taking the shuttle bus from the overflow hotel. For me, every single minute counts, so being able to walk right down the hall and be at the Seminars was a huge gift.
The Hotel Main Areas:
The Holiday Inn Elk Grove Village has a shuttle bus that takes you to and from O’Hare Airport between the hours of 6AM to 10.30PM. I didn’t time it, but I think the ride was in the 12-15 minute range. The hotel is located a bit further away from the airport than most airport hotels I have stayed at, but it isn’t too terribly far away. If you do choose to drive the hotel does offer complimentary parking and seemed to have ample parking spaces. Even though the Seminars had virtually taken over the hotel, I found the staff that I interacted with to be extremely nice and accommodating. More on that in a minute.
Here is a shot of the main lobby as you walk in. It’s not a “fancy” hotel, but it is certainly a very clean and comfortable hotel. Notice The Frugal Travel Guy in his Hawaiian shirt at the front desk. The doors off to the right in the photo take you to a restaurant/bar within the restaurant. I had a few drinks and a meal in there and found it to be totally acceptable for a hotel restaurant. Can’t beat the convenience!
While I didn’t bring my kiddo along on this trip, I did like that the hotel had a good size indoor pool. If you veered left a bit when you walked in the hotel, you would be able to see the pool. It is right in the middle of the action at the hotel, which I also like. I hate it when you have to go on a scavenger hunt just to find a small pool tucked off in the corner of the hotel. I didn’t use this pool, but I was glad it was there in case I ever do return with my family. Which is a possibility for the Seminars this year.
I had a room on the first floor with two double beds. The double bed was plenty adequate for just me, but if my husband had been with me we would have had to have slept in separate beds because that just isn’t enough sleeping room for us!
The room was also plenty big for just me, but would have felt a bit tight if my husband and daughter had both been with me. If that had been the case I would have booked one of their larger King Suite rooms. Those rooms are typically only slightly more expensive at this hotel. In fact, rates at this hotel are often under $100, so it is not a hotel I would really recommend using points at (unless it turns up on the Priority Club 5,000 points Point Breaks list). Generally, I would save your points for more expensive hotels, and use cash for affordable hotels such as this one.
Since I always look at things from the point of view of a family traveler, I very much appreciated the in-room mini-fridge and microwave. Very handy to keep some snacks and light meals on hand for a snacking toddler. Or hey, it’s super handy for keeping some beer cold, too.
My only real issue with the room was all of the screaming that I heard in the hallway one night. It was like I was on some sort of Spring-Break-gone-wrong type of adventure. Between the hours of about 2AM-4AM I heard crying, yelling, door slamming, banging on doors, etc… I just assumed it was from a wedding party I had seen at the hotel earlier in the night, but I have no idea. There was some sort of Jersey Shore-style drama going on for sure. I should have called the front desk, but I was so tired and just kept hoping it would stop. I’m not sure if the doors and walls were kinda thin, or if this group was just really loud, but it was intense. Thankfully that only happened one of the nights I was there.
The bathroom was pretty small, but functional. It was nothing to get excited about, but it had a tub/shower combo and did the trick.
The Main Reason I Think This Hotel is Awesome:
I mentioned earlier that I really thought the service at this hotel was phenomenal, but here is why. About an hour after I left the hotel, I was at O’Hare and had an “Oh $h!t” moment. I realized that I had no memory of packing either my portable keyboard, or more importantly, my pearl necklace that I wear all the time. I dug through my bags at the airport and indeed neither of those items were accounted for. I quickly called the hotel who said they would send housekeeping to the room to see if the items were there. Within minutes they called back and said they had located both items and were holding them for me.
I then called my friend Daraius, aka Million Mile Secrets, who I thought to still be at the Seminars, and arranged for him to get the items from the hotel. I was so impressed that the hotel got the items back for me – we all know that doesn’t always happen, especially with something like jewelry. I was also so grateful to Daraius for getting the items and then expertly packing and mailing the items back to me. He wouldn’t even let me pay him back for shipping! I still owe him for that.
Overall I definitely recommend this hotel for family travel if you are in the O’Hare area. It is clean, functional, affordable, and has great employees who seem to really care about the guests that come through the doors. When I checked just then (Friday night), there were still double bed rooms available for the 2012 Chicago Seminars.
Have you stayed at the Holiday Inn Elk Grove Village? What did you think? Are you going to be staying there for the Seminars this year?