Chicago Athletic Association Hotel Review – A Hyatt Property

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Location
Amenities
Room
Service

Quick Take

A reimagined 19th century fitness club, this unique Chicago hotel exceeded expectations.
This post may contain affiliate links; please read our advertiser disclosure for more information.

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel Review – A Hyatt Property

I recently stayed at the Chicago Athletic Association hotel with my husband for our first flying trip since the pandemic. This hotel was recommended to us, and we thought it looked intriguing. Did it live up to its recommendation? My Chicago Athletic Association hotel review will cover how to book, the location, facilities and unique aspects of the hotel, our room, and the staff.

History

The Chicago Athletic Association hotel was built in 1893 and once housed a pool and other elite exercise facilities for men. The hotel has incorporated some fun reminders of its history. The walls of the elevators looked like old racquetball court flooring (perhaps they were the original ones). The original pool has been transformed into an event space, where the tile floor has “Shallow” and “Deep” markers.

Booking Process

As a Hyatt property, you can book this hotel using your Hyatt points or Category 1-4 free night certificates. This property costs 15,000 points per night and is a category 4. However, when we booked there was Hyatt promotion for 25% off (which is still going on), so we only paid 11,250 points per nights. We staid for two nights. The points back posted about a week after our stay.

The cash price was $319 per night when we stayed. That gives our 11,250-point booking a value of 2.84 cents per point. That’s a great value for Hyatt awards, per our valuations.

We ended up getting upgraded (more on that later) to a suite, which goes for about $530. This brings our 11,250-point booking to a value of 4.7 cents per point!

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel Review

The hotel is now a very unique Hyatt property. My husband and I loved the style and ambiance. It has a masculine feel, which is unique for hotels in my opinion. I think it would be a great location for an (expensive) bachelor party due to the style, location, and fun things to do like the game room.

Location

The Chicago Athletic Association hotel is located in Chicago, Illinois, in Chicago Loop, across from Millennium Park. The location is central to many tourist spots, restaurants, and bars in the city.

Lobby/ Entrance

There is a Shake Shack and a coffee shop in the ground floor of the hotel. The Shake Shack always had a long line, but the coffee shop was not very crowded, even in the morning. The coffee shop has a few pastries, desserts, and limited snacks. There is a small desk at the entrance with a sign saying that the lobby is upstairs. Sometimes there was a person at the desk, but not always.

Straight ahead of the entrance sits a nice grand staircase. To the left is the Shake Shack, and to the right are the elevators to the rooftop restaurant, Cindy’s.

The check-in area is on the second floor. You can access it by elevator or by a spiral staircase next to the coffee shop. The check-in area had a weird smell sometimes, kind of like sewage. It was not constant so perhaps they were taking the trash out at the time we were walking past.

Public Areas

There are several restaurants inside the Chicago Athletic Association hotel:

  • Cindy’s: a rooftop terrace restaurant and bar with views of Millennium Park. Reservations are very difficult to get for a table, but you can wait in line for the elevator for a bar or terrace standing spot. As a hotel guest, you can take the elevator straight to the roof and skip waiting in the lobby line.
  • Game Room: a bar with pool tables, shuffleboard, and other games. The bar snack menu was much better than average. The popcorn was so good – perfectly salty and sweet. If you want to play a game, make sure to put your name on the list with the host. We did not realize that there was a list, and thought it was first come first serve.
  • Milk Room: a microbar that apparently used to be a speakeasy during the Prohibition. This is the only restaurant we did not check out. The Milk Room seats eight.
  • The Cherry Circle Room, which is the room where the lobby is located. It has several cozy tables and couches. It was empty at all times except for Saturday night, when it was suddenly full of people.
  • Shake Shack
  • Fairgounds: A coffee shop with pastries, desserts, coffee, and snacks.

View from Cindy’s rooftop

The hotel also includes 24 hour fitness facilities and a Topgolf Swing Suite. We did not check these out either.

late night snacks at the Game Room

Guest Room

We initially booked a room with two double beds because that was all that was available at the time, and were hoping a queen or king would become available. A few days before our trip, a king bed became available, so we switched our reservation. However, at check-in, we were upgraded to a Junior Suite King with Millennium Park View because of Globalist status.

The room is large and spacious. There is a small entry-way with a mirror and hooks (which came in handy to hang our clothes that got very wet during a tornado).

To the left is the bedroom and to the right is the bathroom.

Along with a king-sized bed, there is a tv, a couch, chairs, a desk, a coffee table, a chaise lounge chair, a safe, a mini fridge, and nightstands. The room was very dark. It was difficult to get a good picture because it was so dark, even with all of the lights on. Maybe it is supposed to with the vibe of the hotel?

Bed

The bed was very large and a little firm. We are used to a queen bed at home, so the king felt giant, even larger than a regular king (but maybe we just haven’t been in a giant bed in so long). The mattress wasn’t the most comfortable.

There are USB charging stations on each nightstand, in addition to regular outlets.

Views

Large windows let in a lot of natural light, with heavy curtains. The hotel looks onto Millennium Park. Our room had molding from the décor on the outside of the hotel. Not every room would have this, it just depends what floor you are on. It did not obstruct the view too much.

Bathroom

The bathroom was beautiful! I know that is a strange way to describe a bathroom, but I loved the style, cleanliness, and size of the bathroom.

The sink was a double sink with plenty of spare towels. I liked the exposed pipe look.

There were individual, nice sized bath products. They were larger than a travel size, but not full size. My husband loved the smell. They definitely had more of a masculine look and smell (like the rest of the hotel) than typical hotel products.

The one downside of the bathroom is the placement of the toilet. It is right behind the door, and not really usable when the door is open. It was fine when the door was closed.

Globalist Perks

Breakfast

Since we are Hyatt Globalist, we received free breakfast with our stay. At check-in, the receptionist informed us that this would be served in the form of room service only. Upon questioning, she said that there is no set dollar amount for this, but it is typically one entrée and one beverage per person. The room service menu is pretty limited. We both got an egg platter both days. It was decent for free breakfast, but would have been way over priced if we had paid out of pocket.

Other Perks

We were offered late checkout (4 pm), which we took advantage of, since our flight was leaving in the evening. We had a jug of what seemed to be tap water in the room as well. I am not sure if that was standard for all rooms or just for suites.

Hotel Staff Review

We found the staff to be very courteous, friendly, and helpful. Nothing over the top, but we always had pleasant encounters.

Final Thoughts

For our first real trip post-pandemic, we thoroughly enjoyed our hotel stay at the Chicago Athletic Association. The hotel has a really cool vibe and some unique restaurants and offerings. The location is great. The dim lighting and weird smell were very minor complaints. Even though Hyatt points could technically go further at other properties like all-inclusive resorts, we felt like we got a great value and the hotel fit our needs perfectly. We would definitely stay here again, especially if there was another Hyatt promotion. I hope you enjoyed my Chicago Athletic Association hotel review.

Popular Articles

Felicia Kiefer
Travel-hacking while working a traditional 9-5. Family traveler, amusement park enthusiast, CrossFitter, and dog lover. I love introducing people to the points and miles game.

3 COMMENTS

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Great review. The place has such an interesting feel to it that I think you captured well. I had some cocktails at the rooftop bar and dined at one of the indoor restaurants a few years ago on a work trip, and always wanted to stay there on a future trip.

  2. Can’t believe they got rid of the pool!

    The Tank. Where five-time Olympic gold medalist Johnny Weissmuller once plied the swimming lanes, the Chicago Athletic Association’s pool area—originally called “The Tank” by club members—has been transformed into a one-of-a-kind venue ideal for public exhibits, performances, installations and creative private events.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

BoardingArea

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join thousands of MtM readers who are subscribed to receive a once daily email with all of our posts. Never miss out!

You have Successfully Subscribed!