Disclaimer: A ticket to ShareASale 2016 Think Tank was kindly purchased for me from a friend. I was in no way provided compensation or product for the below post. All opinions expressed below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. Please do your own research on a product or service before committing to purchase as your results may vary.
Due to financial issues (or more specifically the considerable thereof) and sporadic health issues that pop up when and where my body so chooses, it's probably easily explained why I rarely get to stay in a hotel overnight, let alone for several consecutive days.
It also goes without saying that when I am actually able to partake in a hotel stay, it's a magical experience.
Magical I tell you.
So you can imagine my sheer kid-in-a-candy-store excitement when my completely awesome longtime bloggy friend Jennifer of Sweep Tight was generous enough to pay my way to this year's ShareASale's Think Tank conference in Chicago which was held back in the middle of May!
Just like staying in hotels, I rarely get to go into Chicago even though I'm only a 2 hour train ride away so this whole trip was nothing but thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
Not only did the ticket include the 2-day Think Tank conference and everything it entailed (post to come later) but it also included 2 days and 2 nights in the absolutely beautiful InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel!
The InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile hotel is located in the heart of downtown Chicago off, you guessed it, Chicago's own Magnificent Mile or Michigan Avenue. Originally built in 1929 as a men's club, this historic hotel sadly fell victim like many others to the stock market crash and was forced to close its doors in 1934.
Acquired by InterContinental Hotels in 1988, a quarter of a billion dollars, and 12 years later the hotel opened its doors back up to the public and has been wowing guests with its historic beauty and amazing customer service ever since!
If you would like to know more about this hotel's story, check out the History Page on their website.
Check In & The Room
Jennifer was running a bit late so I ended up getting to the hotel several hours before check in time which happened to be at 3:00pm. I was told to see if I could check in early so at about 11:00am I went up to the front desk and tried.
And wouldn't you know it the hotel was wonderful enough to allow me to check in early!
Given two keys and told not to worry, when my friend checked in she would get the same, I set off to find my room and get settled before going to lunch with a few fellow bloggers I had just met.
Funny story: Heading up to the rooms I realize my room key said 2244, so I set out to find which floor that was on. I kid you not I hit at least 8 to 10 buttons, popped my head out of the elevator at each floor to find out nope, not quite the right floor yet only to finally hit the button for floor number 22 and realize my error the moment my finger touched the button.
Why am I sharing this embarrassingly blonde moment with you? Because it's hilarious.
Once I finally reached the correct floor and the correct room, I opened the door with much excited anticipation and was not disappointed with what I saw when I walked in!
Right when you walk in you're greeted by a small hallway which houses the closet stocked with fluffy white bathrobes and slippers, the luxurious looking bathroom, and a full length mirror which thoroughly earned it's keep those two days by both Jennifer and myself. The small hallway empties into the decently sized room holding two beautifully inviting queen size beds with the coolest green geometric patterned headboards, a long work desk with a single flat screen TV, lamp, roll away chair and stocked mini bar.
In between both beds is a single shared nightstand with a lamp, telephone, and, I accidentally found out, the room's safe tucked away inside the nightstand's bottom drawer. Note to users: that nightstand's drawer pulls open from top to bottom (vertically) not right to left (horizontally).
Learned that the hard way!
On the far side of the very modern decorated room you'll see a small single-person sized chair with a floor lamp and a large window with blinds and black out curtains to promote a restful night's sleep. Of course when you're not sleeping you'll want the window open to see the magnificent view from the 22nd floor!
You also have the ability to regulate the room temperature to your liking with a very user friendly thermostat which was taken advantage of the first night as I found myself freezing while trying to get to sleep.
My poor roommate told me she woke up in the middle of the night sweating. Oops!
The bathroom was the last thing I checked out before I headed out the door. I personally believe the bathroom can make or break a person's stay regardless of where it is. Fear not, I was just as impressed with the hotel's lovely (and cleanly) bathroom; you can tell they really made an effort to be ahead of the game for their guests' comfort and convenience.
Sadly due to health issues I was not able to use the shower during my stay but was told that it was very nice!
The Think Tank conference events were held on several different floors of the InterContinental Chicago hotel so I got to see some of the absolutely stunning decor and architecture the hotel boasts. They say that it is one of the most historic hotels in Chicago and if you're able to go through the hotel itself, you can immediately see why.
Looking back I regret not taking more pictures that show off just how stunning this hotel really is. Each room you enter truly takes your breath away; from the top of each ceiling all the way down to the carpet on the floors and everything in between you're left in awe as you can almost feel the history surrounding you.
Well I regret that and not being able to check out the gym and legendary pool according to people who actually saw the pool. There was also mention of a sauna that I didn't get to partake in either...
My Dining Experiences
Thanks to ShareASale the hotel and meals were provided in the ticket price. The hotel provided our unbelievable welcome dinner, breakfasts, lunches, and even went as far as to provide snacks for the Think Tank goers a few times!
Did I mention there was essentially an eternal open bar for the 2 day event as well?
When it came to food there really was something for everyone. Most of it was buffet style so if you had severe allergies to certain types of foods you had to be careful. Thankfully my sensitivities aren't that bad so I was able to indulge a bit but I know of a fellow blogger whom has severe reactions. The nice thing was the hotel was able to bring out a special plate just for her. Now that's customer service.
I seriously cannot believe the variety of foods that were available over the span of 2 1/2 days! Shrimp, crab legs, salad bars, make your own pasta dishes, carved ham and turkey, desserts a plenty...and that's just the welcome dinner.
I did not have the pleasure of dining in the Michael Jordan's Steak House located inside the hotel but heard fantastic things. Maybe next time!
Breakfasts consisted of things like muffins, croissants, and breakfast pastries, toast, bagels and cream cheese, fresh fruit, yogurts, coffees and, my personal favorite, a plethora of teas to choose from with adorable small jars of honey to sweeten things up.
While there were many scrumptious looking breakfast delights to choose from a lot of it was wheat and gluten based so I had to opt for mainly fresh fruit.
I wasn't able to make it but I heard on the morning of the last day there was an actual make your own omelette station!
Lunches were pretty standard with cold cuts and bread, a salad bar, soup choices, fruit and more. Again you can find a coffee and tea station with some more of those adorable tiny jars of honey.
What really got me was after one of the informational sessions the participants got a small break and when we wandered outside of the room, there in front of us was an actual make your own trail mix bar. I kid you not!
Of course on either side of that were cookies, brownies, and some fresh fruit to nosh on as well. While I wanted very badly to snatch one of those delicious looking cookies I was good and made myself a big bag of trail mix instead.
My Final Thoughts:
My stay at the InterContinential Chicago Magnificent Mile hotel was a dream come true! The hotel room was absolutely beautiful and accommodating, the hotel itself was stunning and like being surrounded by history wherever you happened to go, and the hotel staff were kind, courteous, and attentive.
And the food. Oh, the glorious food!
All that impressiveness aside, what really made this hotel stand out in my eyes is their use of social media. Throughout the whole conference, a good majority of tweets sent out, Instagram pictures uploaded, Facebook pictures posted you could find the InterContinental hotel commenting, liking, and sharing; actually being active and conversing with their hotel goers and guests.
Now that is customer service going above and beyond in this day and age in my personal opinion!
The only problem I had with my 2-day stay at the InterContinental Chicago was an unfortunate instance where a strange fellow hotel guest happened to successfully access and walk in to my hotel room with their personal room key while I was getting ready for the ending keynote speech. Thankfully they realized their error very quickly, apologized, and left but it was quite the startling experience none the less! My father, who travels extensively, informed me this has happened to him on occasion so it's not that uncommon. Thankfully as I checked out I let the front desk know what happened and they were very apologetic and promised they would look into the situation.
After all is said and done (and eaten by the looks of all that food in this post), I would return and stay at The InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile hotel in a heartbeat!
Connect to InterContinental Chicago: