Hilton O’Hare: nickel and diming central!

I got bumped yet again last night (more on that later), and was put up at the O’Hare Hilton. I’ve gotta say, it’s a hotel I have wanted to stay at since I was a kid, since the views seem to be incredible… and I’m a nerd. And the hotel is very convenient, given that it’s connected to the airport. It even took a supervisor to “authorize” my stay at this hotel, since it is reserved exclusively for Global Services and 1K members when United is paying for it, apparently.

But gosh, was I disappointed. I wouldn’t even return if United paid for it. While the hotel itself was nice enough and the room was fine, I was shocked, and I mean shocked, by their prices and their nickel and diming practices.

I don’t mean to sound like someone on Trip Advisor that complains about having to pay for internet at a Ritz Carlton, while it’s free at a Hampton Inn, so hear me out.

I checked in, and the very nice agent said something along the lines of “Mr. Lucky, do you have a room type preference? High floor or low floor, double bed or king bed, close to the elevator or far to the elevator, facing the airport or not?” I thought that was awfully nice, so I expressed a preference for a high floor room with an airport view. Now unlike a stay in Maui where everyone wants an ocean view, I assume not everyone wants an airport view, since it’s likely a bit noisier. So I was a bit surprised when the agent responded with “certainly, I have a lovely room for you on the 9th floor with a great airport view. It’ll be just $15 extra, please.” Wow, really? I ended up getting a 5th floor room with a view of the parking garage.

Then I ate in their “fancy” restaurant for dinner, and the waiter kept referring to me as “man.” C’mon, dude!

And I’ll be the first to admit that I have no problem paying for internet. In Asia and Europe I even expect to pay around $20USD if I’m staying at a hotel that I don’t have elite status with. But in the US I’ve never seen internet cost more than $12 at a “major” chain hotel. But at the Hilton O’Hare it was $17.50 plus tax. As a matter of principle I decided against it.

Yet again, I’ve never been to an airport hotel that didn’t offer free toothbrushes and toothpaste, or basic toiletries. I thought it was awfully generous of the Hilton to have a plastic package containing a low end toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, and very basic razor. Fair enough, I figured it was easier for them to do that than have guests constantly coming to the front desk for it. But nope, it cost $7 plus tax and a 17% “service charge.” Unbelievable.

Compare that to my stay at the InterContinental O’Hare, also paid for by United.

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotels
  1. Hilton hotels really like to get you for every little thing. The airport view is considered an “upgrade” when the other option is the parking garage. The internet is expensive, but that hotel has to make money because the corporate rates have taken a beating, but companies are not complaining as much about the internet charges, and those that are get a higher base rate that includes the free internet

  2. I stayed there a couple of times (either because of cancelled flights or on purpose when I came in late the previous night for a morning meeting in the Chicago area). The beds are ok and I did get the airport view as a diamond upgrade.
    Breakfast is nothing to write home about and I found the 7$ toothbrush also a little tacky.
    Internet I could care less since I carry a Verizon data card.
    I pick the hotel for its proximity and you can’t beat that.

  3. I stayed here courtesy of United earlier this year, too. They were heavily booked and I got stuck in a smoking room! Yikes!!!!!

  4. $17.50!? What a rip-off. However, I would bet that they make a lot of money off people who need the access. A good reason to have a wifi card from AT&T or Verizon..

  5. I’ve stayed here on UA’s dime before and was less than impressed. I’ve never been a HIlton fanboy but this hotel was certainly not on my list of properties I’d ever return to again. I’d much rather stay at Westin or Sheraton Suites ORD over this property.

  6. Reminds me of MGM Mirage properties in vegas with there 15.00 per day “resort fee”. Internet/Bottle Water/Newspaper, but some might not need any of the three. Five night stay = 75.00 extra

  7. On my last UA-sponsored stay there (huge weather issues along the east coast, that were well predicted), they had ONE agent at the front desk, and a line of over 50 “guests” waiting to check-in. It took well over an hour, as I was a lowly Gold HH at the time. I finally found a manager to complain to, and offered to send him a bill for $50 for my time. He got the point, and comped the Internet and dinner.

  8. Several years ago the Plaza in NYC had internet at $24.95! I was like, ‘wow, that’s getting close to what I pay PER month at home!’

  9. I have found that even when they charge for a toothbrush in the room or in the convenience shop (e.g. HGI), if you ask for a free tooth brush at the front desk, more times than not they will give you one.

  10. Come on, Lucky.. How are you comparing a stay at a place with no status to a stay at a hotel with status?? You know better than that. If you had status with Hilton, you would have gotten your upgrade, free internet and toothbrush. If I was staying at at the Holiday Inn chain you are comparing to, I don’t have any status and they would have nickeled and dimed me as well. Hotels in the US still charge from 9.99 to 19.99 for internet for regular guests, don’t see the problem at all.

    Also, UA is paying 59 bucks a night at that place, don’t know what you expect for that.

    The place is extremely convenient, that’s why people stay there. But heck, with you taking all these bumps, I guess you are ok spending an hour and a half waiting for and taking shuttles also, eh?? šŸ˜‰

  11. $17.50? I wouldn’t pay it out of principle either.

    I was at a Holiday Inn in Edinburgh and they wanted 15 pounds ($24). I sent a letter that I was offended by that. No, I didn’t use and and no, I wouldn’t go back there. Other comparable hotels in the city was cheaper wifi.

  12. I stayed here earlier this year when I was a Hilton Gold member after getting two mechanical problems in one day on United. I was told that the continental breakfast coupon could not be applied to the full buffet (which was incorrect) by the front desk, and I was in the HHonors line as well.

    They have a nice gym, but the internet charge is quite expensive for a US property (internet was not yet free in February) so I did not use it.

  13. I agree Hilton hotels really like to get you for every little thing, I stayed at the Hilton Athens and they nickel and dime you just like you were stateside. Ahhhhh the comforts of home! lol

  14. I’m HH Gold and I’m heading out early tomorrow morning and since I’m bringing a bunch of stuff to the Mega Do on an early flight, I’m staying at the property now. I have to correct you, Ben the regular internet is 15.50, not 17.50. The premium internet is 17.50..

    Also, as a gold I was given room 10032 with a breathtaking view of the runway.. Complimentary. I got a coupon for the internet… Complimentary.. I got two breakfast vouchers… complimentary. I got two coupons for two bottles of water from the mini bar… Complimentary.

    Noone has nickeled and dimed me at all, the room is fresh, the view is great, the TV is large and I’m watching take offs from 32L T10 right out of my room..

    So in conclusion: This place is great if you have status. If I was to stay at an IC, I would have to pay for water, internet and breakfast.

    That’s the way it is with status, but then again, we all know that…

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