The Amalfi Hotel – Chicago

I’m trying to think of a legitimate reason why we wouldn’t return to Chicago’s Amalfi Hotel (in the Near North Side neighborhood).  It wouldn’t be for the service, location, dependability, cleanliness, accommodations, or perks.  Check-in and -out was a breeze. The room was more than ample-sized for a Chicago hotel.  There’s a deluxe breakfast spread every morning on each hotel floor—free.  There’s a drinks and appetizer reception on the 6th floor every night—again, free.  Newspaper—free.  Water at check-in—free. In 10 minutes after our call, a hotel engineer appeared to fix our minor toilet leak.  The only reason, expressed by my son, is that the boutiqueness doesn’t extend beyond the lobby.

Everywhere else, it looks like and acts like a Westin.   But if you’re looking for a boutique, that is, a cramped room with uncomfortable furnishings, outdated mattresses, and dark lighting, which you struggle to discover at the end of meandering halls, look elsewhere.  But if you’re looking for the best of boutique and the best of standard hotel hospitality, stay at the Amalfi.

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4 thoughts on “The Amalfi Hotel – Chicago

  1. nobody says:

    I’m curious. Is there any dependable way that you’e found to research whether the building or the boutique came first?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hahaha, yeah, sometimes “Boutique” really means “awkward and unlivable.” Sometimes a nice, well-run chain hotel has the comfort and consistency I am looking for.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course, there are wonderful boutiques. And then there are others. Sometimes, I’ve discovered that “boutique” is code for “rundown” or just plain “weird.” Perhaps, someone should explain how a bit of savvy research could discern the boutique experience.

      • Jerch says:

        I think “boutique” is supposed to mean firstly that it is a small establishment where there is time and eagerness to offer guests unique experiences. I think it also often means the hotel has made interesting design choices. For example, maybe the lobby is very small and not meant to be a place to congregate, but rather you are encouraged to hang out in the restaurant/bar, which itself may offer unique cuisine. Or as another example, maybe the rooms are small but have high-end features, like expensive espresso machines or luxury bath products. What I wasn’t clear on with the Amalfi was whether it was trying to scale-up boutique ideas to a larger number of rooms, or if it was a large hotel trying to disguise itself as boutique with a few novel concepts (like free breakfast on each floor, as the author noted). I think it really was just the rooms that did it in for me. Think large cubes with unnecessary space in between the furniture. Why is the TV so far set back from the front of the console? That makes it harder to see. I like that the room included a few “extras” already there; Conveniently, there were wine glasses, a corkscrew, an EMPTY fridge, and even a DVD player. But were we suppose to bring our own DVDs? Rent them? Ask the concierge? The rooms were clearly not constructed for the Amalfi. If I had to guess, I would imagine the building came first, and the Amalfi came later.

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