I’m planning a quick trip to Chicago later this year with two of my kids to hang out with a relative. I’ve had this trip in my mind the past few years. And in my mind, I’ve been drooling over one particular hotel. So why did I book a different hotel instead?
Chicago Athletic Association
The Chicago Athletic Association hotel has been on my radar for quite some time. This historical hotel is part of the Unbound collection of World of Hyatt. Have you seen it? It’s a gorgeous building:
Described as Venetian Gothic, this historical building from 1893 has the some of the most interesting architecture I’ve seen in a hotel.
The rooftop restaurant looks divine:
And the location is great, too! Right across from Millennium Park:
Chicago Athletic Association is a World of Hyatt Category 4 hotel. It normally costs 15,000 points, but can be as low as 12,000 during off-peak days and as high as 18,000 during peak days. You can use Hyatt free night certificates from the World of Hyatt credit card here. For my dates, the hotel costs 12,000 points per night.
So what’s not to like about it? Just one thing: it has double (full-size) beds in the rooms that fit 4 people. Have you ever shared a full-size bed with a wiggly kid? The bed feels smaller than it is. If I’m gonna share a bed with one of my kids, it needs to be at least a queen-size bed.
This hotel is probably perfect for couples. But, the beds are not ideal for families.
Alternative: Hyatt Regency Chicago
Just a short walk away is the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Clearly, it’s not as visually stunning as Chicago Athletic Association (it’s the shorter brown building):
But the selling point? The rooms have two queen-size beds!
The location is pretty great. It’s an 8-minute walk from Millennium Park, a 20-minute walk from Navy Pier, and it’s right on the river.
Hyatt Regency Chicago is a Category 3 hotel. It normally costs 12,000 points per night, but it can cost as low as 9000 or as high as 15,000 depending on the day.
What really sold me on the Hyatt Regency, in addition to the beds, is the Regency Club lounge. For 14,000 points per night, I could book a room with two queen beds and access to the lounge. That means free breakfast, drinks and light appetizers at dinner. Since my family travels so much, I’m happy to save money on food where I can.
Chicago Athletic Association looks awesome. But, Hyatt Regency Chicago is the more practical choice for my family. We plan to pack in many Chicago experiences in a short amount of time and not spend too much time at the hotel. So for this trip, the practical hotel wins.
Have you stayed at either of these Chicago hotels?
How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.
“Practical” is a perfect description. While this hotel is not particularly impressive in any way, the rooms are fine and the location is great. Although it’s popular with conventions and large groups, I’ve never encountered a long line at check-in. The heater/AC was a little loud last time I stayed. Lobby bar is ok, lounge is ok, staff is outgoing and helpful. Overall I would call this one of the most reliable, though not flashy or impressive, hotels in the city.
@Kurt That’s good to hear! I think “practical” describes several of the Hyatt Regency hotels I’ve stayed at in big cities. And I like practical.
We love the Regency. You will, too.
@Jenny Thanks, I’m sure we will. 🙂
Rooms are fairly small at CAA as well. Just make a reservation for the rooftop restaurant.
@Simon good point.
Chicago Athletic Assoc is a nice hotel, but we had many issues, from shower’s running hot/cold as well as water pressure falling off, service generally was poor, and breakfast was ok… but you can’t get a decent coffee or whole milk unless you go to the starbucks, which is ridiculous for a hotel of this standard.
@khati Interesting, thanks for your feedback.