Ahhh...our first trip to the windy city; Chi Town; home of Harpo, the Bears, Cubs, and the White Sox. I couldn't wait to get there and take it all in. After all, summertime in Chicago is supposed to be beautiful, and it was. We were there for the first two days as advocates for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, an organization giving a voice to youth and families in trauma treatment environments. To say this was an exceptional experience for both my daughter and I is an understatement. What an honor and we had the opportunity to take two extra days to enjoy this unforgettable city.
Navy Pier and viewing the city from the top of the Ferris Wheel was gorgeous and the stained glass display with the history of the the pieces there really was awesome to see. The deep pan pizza was the best cheese pie I have ever sunk my teeth into and the dogs at Downtown Dogs gave me a new appreciation for "fixins" on a bun.
The jazz at Grand Park with brightly colored umbrella's coloring the atmosphere and people mingling and munching, especially the sweet old guy named Al that sat next to us, made for a fantastic outdoor evening surrounded by fabulous historic buildings, kids playing and eating ice cream and how can I forget "The Bean". Two days is only enough to scratch the surface of what there is to do and see there.
But back at the Avenue hotel off Michigan Avenue on the Magnificent Mile, things went from bad to worse. At first glance our hotel room was the picture of perfection. Modern meets retro vibe with fun zebra print chairs my teenage daughter loved. We arrived at 2 AM and immediately fell onto the beds, which turned out to be the second best part of the room. The first: the incredible city view from the 38th floor.
But just as I was admiring the view I noticed that it sounded like a helicopter was hovering just outside my window. When I called down to the front desk they had no idea what it could be and no earplugs to send up. (Yes, I learned to pack them every time I travel now!) The next morning we were up at 6:30 for all-day meetings and dinner with the group and back at 10 pm. Loving the "on top of the world" view I opted for earplugs from Walgreens and not to change rooms or the hassle of moving all our things. And just before I climbed into bed a hot shower was just what the Dr. ordered.
The big round showerhead was calling my name. But as I turned the handle the trickle remained a trickle. My hot shower became a hot annoying, barely more than a dribble experience. So, my mind says go look at the view and breathe and get some sleep. No big deal, right?
By night number 3, and enjoying the fact that the bath tub was in working order, it was pouring rain and the thunder and lightning made for a fantastic show out the big window. We pulled up the chairs, put our feet up and watched in wonder as the sky lit up and rumbled. As my daughter went to bed and drifted off into a peaceful sleep I turned on the TV and then heard a "thud" on the floor near the door. Anyone would normally jump a bit in this situation and I, being a kidnap survivor who was held hostage after men broke the backdoor to my home down at night, was even more jumpy when I heard the noise. My heart was pounding as I turned on the light to see a plastic part from the wall had fallen off and hit the floor.
Relieved, but shaking my head due to the obvious thought "what the hell is going on with this room", I headed back to bed. On the way to my bed, however, I stepped into a small puddle of water on the carpet near the bed. Needing some sleep, I put my earplugs in and drifted off into a semi-sleep state thinking I will deal with that in the morning. By morning it was a giant 4 foot flooded area that made a "squishy" noise when we stepped on it. My daughter and I could not help but laugh and call the Manager. The front desk informed me he would be paged and would call us back. Knowing we would definitely need to change rooms for our last night in Chi Town due to the now flooded room, I waited for his call. Two and a half hours passed. No call.
I finally called back and firmly suggested the front desk person get him out of whatever meeting he was in to help us get out of our soggy, falling apart room. John called back within ten minutes and had us moved to a corner so called suite (smaller bathroom, smaller sleeping area now with only one bed instead of two queen, and a living room area with a broken air conditioner). When I asked him what he was going to do to compensate us for all that had happened he offered to comp one of our four nights there. Hmmmm. I could understand that offer if only one thing had gone horribly wrong. But all this and wasting three hours of our last day in Chicago waiting for a phone call and the keys to our new room to get to us? I suggested two nights. He said that wasn't their policy.
I guess their "policy" is to put guests into rooms that flood, fall apart, are plagued with noise and have a shower that barely works. He didn't budge and I decried to let the conversation end, move rooms and just get on with our day and focus on the fact that we have a good sense of humor, can laugh about it all together and remember all that the beautiful city of Chicago had to offer outside of the hotel room from hell.