Avenue Hotel & Suites Chicago, Chicago, Illinois $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Given its location a half block east of North Michigan Avenue, where $300 is the low-end norm for a room, the Avenue is notable for its easy-on-the-wallet rates, which can start at $199 for a double on weekend nights. All 350 rooms have flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, the smallest are a respectable 300 square feet, and those on the top floors have stellar Gold Coast views. The squat furniture, mud-brown palette, and small bathrooms leave much to be desired, and while the signature zebra-print chairs don't suit our taste, they're a lively signal of environmental awareness. (The hotel has adopted a Grevy's zebra, an endangered species, at the Lincoln Park Zoo.) The best bet for a business traveler is an iMac- and color printerequipped Tech Room; parents can opt for a Kid-Friendly Room, which includes rainbow-colored quilts and a Wii game system. Light sleepers should be aware that hallway noise can be problematicnot all guest room doors fit their door frames properlyand some AC units rumble like a moped. However, things improve outside the rooms: There's a cocktail and tapas lounge on the 40th floor, a rooftop pool, and an Elephant & Castle outpost that serves shepherd's pie and fish and chips. Overall, the Avenue doesn't quite deliver a polished designer experience, but with savings like this, what did you expect?
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