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Search our articles, reviews and guides on different family vacation spots.
For our 5th anniversary, my husband and I decided to travel back where we spent our honeymoon. This time, however, we are bringing our 2 year-old son with us.
On a chill morning of November, we decided to take the South Shore Train from South Bend, IN to Chicago, IL instead of driving our car. It’s our son’s first time riding the train so that adds to the excitement. From South Bend, it took us 3 hours to arrive to the Millennium Station.
For about 12 minutes, we walked from the station to the hotel. It was just the 3 of us this time so walking this much was a non-issue. We took time to appreciate the city around us. Our son admired the big and beautiful buildings. He also loved crossing the bridge towards the hotel.
Getting a room for 2 adults, 1 child was easy with Westin Chicago River North’s online booking site. We booked a Traditional Guest Room, their most basic available room.
Having done this directly with the hotel, we were able to use our Starwood Preferred Guest membership to earn points for our stay. We also get free WiFi access when we book through their website.
Alternatively, you can also book from Hotels.com where nightly rates can go as low as $149/night. However, you will not earn points towards SPG program. Hotels.com does have its own reward points that you could collect.
The entrance to the Westin Chicago River North is tucked away from the main street which makes it easier to drive into their carport.
Valet is available to help park your car for $69/day with in and out privileges. There is a nearby garage, Greenway Self Park, that only charges $59/day with in-and-out privileges.
As you walk in, you would notice a wall with interesting plant art on it. To the left is the valet and concierge area and if you walk further, you would see the check in desk.
Across the check-in desk is a huge lounge with a full-service bar. There were a lot of clients enjoying their drinks in the lounge as it was a bit windy outside. There was also a sushi bar. You can also access the outside patio from here. The outdoor area has magnificent views of the Chicago river. It’s a great place to hang out and be toasty by the fire pits.
As Dad checks us in, my son and I looked around the water fountains that were on display.
Upon check-in, we mentioned that we are celebrating our anniversary for this stay. As they put our information in, we shared to the clerk how we walked in 5 years ago wearing our tux and gown. My husband surprised me by heading directly to Chicago from the wedding. It does bring wonderful memories of staying in this hotel. This was our first hotel stay as husband and wife so it holds a special place in our list. Back then, we were given an upgrade to a Westin Executive Club Guest Room, which included a breakfast and access to the VIP lounge.
This time around, they still gave us a little treat. They upgraded our room to the Deluxe Guest Room, which features city views. She bid us congratulations and was happy that we chose to stay at Westin Chicago River North again to celebrate our marriage.
There were plenty of elevators available. Aside from being spacious, the elevators also have beautiful etched art on the wall.
The room came with a mini bar stocked with your Starbucks branded tea and coffee. I love that Chicago photo and contemporary looking light fixture! An ice bucket is also available. It was a bit disappointing however that when we went to fill ours, the ice machines in 3 floors including ours, don’t work. This hunt for the working ice machine also inconvenienced other guests as we cross our paths in the elevators and hallways.
The room that we had was pretty spacious with lots of room for our son to run around. There’s a small safe in the closet. Two (2) Double beds for each room and a flat screen TV.
The bathroom was huge and has a shower/bathtub and a sink with lots of counter space for your personal stuff.
What we really loved about this particular room was the view.
It was a cold, windy day when we arrived. So, we enjoyed playing ‘I Spy’ through our window. Who wouldn’t, with a view like this? Win!
With time to spare, a toddler who had enough of I-Spy, and with the type of weather outside, we decided to wander around and see the hotel’s amenities.
We did not go here for this stay. However, if you did a book a room with access to it, it has complimentary continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres for those late time snacks.
24- hour access spacious gym to keep your fitness routine going while in the Westin. Lots of equipment here including free weights, cardio machines, and so on. They also have an available Certified trainer that could work with you individually or as a group. There is no fee to workout with the fitness experts. We also really liked that the studio has a view of the city while you run in their treadmills.
There is a sauna that you could relax in after a workout. They also offer disposable headphones, cool towels, fruits, and water as well as locker facilities.
Also, don’t worry if you did not carry any workout clothes. The hotel partnered with New Balance and for $5, you can rent clothes delivered to your room. You got no reason to skip gym day! Well, we did, we were, uhm, running after our toddler in the Chicago Children’s Museum.
You can also book one of their workout rooms which has a cardio machine in it for a more private exercise session.
Windy City Massage offers a private and personal spa session in the comfort of your room. You have to schedule this with the Concierge desk and there are fees involved.
The lobby is mainly where you’d find options for eats. The lounge area is incorporated into the dining area. The servers will bring your meals and drinks even if you decide to enjoy it by the couches or in the outdoor area by the fire pits.
There was one afternoon that we went back to our room from walking around Chicago and it was not cleaned yet. The hotel is a Green Hotel meaning you can opt-out of fresh towels and linens to conserve water and electricity. We did not sign up for the initiative so we were expecting fresh linens when we came back. So we were given complimentary vouchers to try their drinks in the bar while we wait. Not a bad idea. It was almost time for dinner anyway. I had the Berry Spritz while Hubby had his favorite Screwdriver.
Dress code is casual. This area was intended for people to relax and mingle with friends and colleagues. Very relaxing atmosphere.
The menu isn’t too extensive but will cover your basics of burgers, sandwiches and a salmon dish. The prices are not outrageous either with ranges from $9-$24. We ordered one of the 320 flat breads for $14.
This is located in the same vicinity as the 320 Restaurant and Bar. So, if you’re in the mood for sushi, which I am always and I encourage you to be when you are here, just let the server know and they will bring it to you. This sushi bar has been serving the “best sushi in Chicagoland” for over 40 years. One of the best sushi rolls we ever had, hands down. We did not expect that, honestly, being a modest 6-seater sushi bar.
This was just added and I believe was still in the works when we went there. Enjoy cocktails and light bites with a side of Chicago’s scenic river views.
If you’re wondering, yes, we were able to sit near the bar, enjoy the drinks and our meal while little Andy plays with the table decor. It’s just so blue!
You also have the availability of diverse restaurant options nearby such as Harry Caray’s. Some ways you can explore other restaurants nearby is through the concierge desk, the Yelp app, or through All Set app. You can book your dining in advance with the All Set app. Use our code: CVHC96 on your order to get $10 off your first order on All Set!
The Westin Chicago River North hotel might not be the most child friendly hotel with amenities that are more focused towards the business traveler. However, it is still a nice accommodation in a great area. The hotel is a few minutes walk to the Millenium Park and other Chicago activities that are geared more towards your family. So, if you are planning to spend most of your day exploring the city, this is still a great hotel to go back to by the end of the day.