Westin Chicago Northwest – Hotel Review

By Ben Rossi on 2 August 2011
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About 20 minutes from O’Hare Airport and 40 minutes from downtown Chicago, the Westin Chicago Northwest is located near the affluent village of Itasca, very close to I-90 as well as the Itasca Metra stop. Given a meeting nearby, as well as its relative proximity to O’Hare, I opted to stay there recently.

Built in the 1970s, the hotel boasts a huge atrium lobby with greenhouse-style roof that bathes the lobby floor in sunlight. The hotel has 408 guest bedrooms and 29 suites.

The big draw for business travelers is the hotel’s more than 45,000 square feet of function space, which can accommodate events and special occasions for 18 to 1,100 guests. The Westin’s 9,600 square-foot Grand Ballroom alone seats up to 800. When I was there, there were three large events taking place at the hotel concurrently – a girl’s high school basketball tournament and two business conventions.


My “WestinWorkout” room with two double beds was spacious and clean. The “Heavenly Bed” was quite comfortable with a down comforter and ample supply of pillows. Despite the abovementioned events – particularly the gaggles of giggly girls storming through the hallways at all hours – my room remained remarkably quiet throughout the day and night.

However, as a “workout” room, it was supposed to include a treadmill, 4-pound medicine ball, exercise mat, 65-cm stability ball, and adjustable dumbbells. It was immediately apparent that none of this equipment was actually in the room. Since the workout room is the same price as a traditional room and I didn’t plan to use the equipment anyway, I did not seek to move. When I told the hotel manager about it, she expressed her embarrassment about the snafu – but did not offer to do anything to make up for the lack of equipment.

In any case, the hotel has a wide variety of workout facilities, including a racquetball court, indoor basketball court and outdoor tennis courts, as well as a gym and heated indoor pool.

Although well-lit by numerous fluorescent bulb-equipped lamps, with the curtains open, the room was bathed in natural light. The surprisingly pleasant view looked out onto Hamilton Lakes, the somewhat ambitiously-named collection of artificial ponds at the rear of the hotel, and beyond that the town of Itasca.

The room also included a flat-screen TV, coffee-maker, and full-sized ironing board. There were two cordless telephones – one next to bed, and one on the desk – but the phone next to the bed was inoperative.

The bathroom was spacious, and the “Heavenly Shower” featured two shower heads. It wasn’t exactly the revelatory experience that the name implied, but two is always better than one in such cases.

Although the room includes a minibar, it is now only filled upon request. If you want to keep your own items in the fridge instead of ordering something, you have to get a key from the front desk.


The workplace setup included an average-sized desk, a comfortable, ergonomic chair, and a very bright lamp thanks to the environmentally-friendly bulb. Desk space was more than enough to accommodate my laptop and iPad.

Inaccessible or insufficient electric outlets are a major pet peeve for travelers, and the Westin, unfortunately, did not impress on this score. The power outlet by the desk was totally occupied by in-room appliances. The desk had a built-in power strip, but it only had two outlets. That isn’t really enough – for some, it might be necessary to plug a power strip into that power strip. Worse, almost all the outlets by the bed were already occupied by in-room appliances.

Wi-Fi was $9.95 per day, and the connection speed was decent, coming in at 3.48 Mbps for downloads. While this is not great for streaming movies, it is more than adequate for simple Web browsing and e-mail.

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