I can’t hardly call this a trip to Chicago. I can’t report on any places I’ve been or things I’ve done or recommend anything. It is unlikely at this point that I will even be able to write a single review on a cheeseburger or pizza place or any other food for that matter. I haven’t been able to eat anything all day and the last food I had was a burger bought from Trader Joes that was cooked in a skillet in the kitchen of what is arguably one of the worst AirBnbs I’ve ever stayed at.
Our room is actually not that bad (yes it it) but when you have a certain level of expectation based on pictures and descriptions and arrive to find the place nothing like what was advertised, it sort of shines a negative light on things. It’s a studio room with two double beds on the 4th floor of “Dewitt Hotel and Suites” on the 900 block of North Dewitt. The building is a stones throw from both Michigan Street (to the west) and Lake Michigan (to the east). If I were forced to write a review of this place with something positive in it, the location would be it, because that is all that it has going for it. The building feels very run down and the room is pretty sub-par. But it has a kitchen, and that’s why we chose it instead of a real hotel. Still, it operates like a hotel, with a check-in desk and hotel-like amenities such as an exercise room and lobby area downstairs. How the room is being used as an AirBnb escapes me, but I hardly care at the moment.
Rewinding a bit to provide a full picture of this underwhelming trip thus far. The flight uneventful so that was a relief. That was followed by a 1.5 hour taxi ride from the airport to this lovely building downtown. It’s about 17 miles and freeway most of the way (the math on that leads to a brutal conclusion of gridlock stop and go traffic the entire way). The taxi driver was heavy on the gas and the brake which made Jim a bit car sick. To be honest, in the end, I was also feeling it. No bueno. But we made it and checked in with the receptionist at the front desk. She could not find our reservation. Ummm, maybe that’s because we don’t have a “reservation” because we booked an AirBnb, but whatever. She finally figured things out and was quite unpleasant as she handed us the room keys and directed us to the elevator. Our room is on the fourth floor.
Now, I don’t quite have a fear of elevators but I have had enough nightmares to be leery and this one is a doozie. The building was built around 1963 and I’m fairly certain it’s the original elevator. It’s only large enough for two or three people and there are warnings about the maximum weight posted clearly that say “too much and the elevator has a tendency to malfunction”. Awesome. When arriving on the selected floor, it takes another 10 or 15 seconds for the door to open, which freaks me out. The first time I got nervous and pushed the “door open” button which indeed made the door open, but revealed that we were still not quite aligned with the 4th floor. It took a good healthy step up to get out. “That’s OK, stairs are really good exercise” I thought.
Our room is down the hall, through a door and down another hall. There are windows on the North and South side of the apartment which both face other buildings and fire-escapes. Lovely. The floor is fake lament made to look like wood, but it is peeling up at all the edges as if there has been severe water damage. There are no light switches in the “living” area, only lamps. There is a kitchen, as I said, but it is as about as basic as it gets. “That’s OK, we can still store stuff in the refrigerator and cook”.
We walked to Trader Joe’s and bought supplies for a couple of days and then took an Uber back. By the time we arrived back in our room, it was 8PM and neither one of us felt like doing anything other than eating and settling down for the night. We aren’t really here on work or pleasure, and turning in early was the best choice to prepare for our Saturday activities.
The beds are terrible, the pillows are terrible, and I couldn’t really sleep at all. It was cold when we arrived and there is no heat control in the rooms. The heat in the building is centrally controlled and so “guests” don’t get to adjust the temps. How quaint. Their solution is to have space heaters in the rooms, which ours did not, so we had to request one from the lovely woman working in the reception area. She is a treat and a half. I woke up at 1 and 3 and 5 with a headache and after that just decided to get up (or rather my body demanded it). Jim was still sleeping and I tried not to disturb him as I made multiple trips in and out of our tiny bathroom.
The longer I was awake the worse I felt – head pounding, upset stomach, and serious nausea. I still don’t know what is wrong with me, but it’s pretty much ruined my entire day so far today. I took some things for my head, but nothing seemed to help. Everything I tried to ingest only made my stomach problems worse so I abandoned the idea of eating pretty quickly. We made it out the door and to our appointment by 8:30am and I could barely contain myself for the 45 minutes that I was away from the room. Arriving back, I thought it best to try and go back to sleep instead of doing a little sight-seeing as I had planned.
I wanted to at least walk to Millennium park, which is a 30 minute walk from here according to Google maps. I wanted to at least find a good pizza joint and have some delicious deep dish. I wanted to at least absorb a little bit of the “big city” for inspiration, but the Universe had other plans for me today, or so it seems. I forced myself to get dressed again and go for a brief walk just to get some fresh air around 2PM. That ended in me hurrying back because the light drizzle that was happening when I left turned into pouring rain.
There is a lobby area with complimentary coffee and I grabbed a half a cup and am sipping on that now from back in my room. My head still hurts, the idea of food is still making my stomach turn, and it is still raining. So much for my Saturday in the Windy City. I would post this now, but of course the wifi in the room doesn’t really work. What a shock. “Things can only get better from here, right?!”
The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow,
PS.. The image featured is a snap from the lobby of the John Hancock Center… a few short blocks from our “vintage” hotel.