Why I didn’t book the hotel I’ve been drooling over

I’m planning a quick trip to Chicago later this year with two of my kids to hang out with a relative. I’ve had this trip in my mind the past few years. And in my mind, I’ve been drooling over one particular hotel. So why did I book a different hotel instead?

Chicago Athletic Association

The Chicago Athletic Association hotel has been on my radar for quite some time. This historical hotel is part of the Unbound collection of World of Hyatt. Have you seen it? It’s a gorgeous building:

Photo credit: Hyatt

Described as Venetian Gothic, this historical building from 1893 has the some of the most interesting architecture I’ve seen in a hotel.

Photo credit: Hyatt

The rooftop restaurant looks divine:

Photo credit: Hyatt

And the location is great, too! Right across from Millennium Park:

Photo credit: Hyatt

Chicago Athletic Association is a World of Hyatt Category 4 hotel. It normally costs 15,000 points, but can be as low as 12,000 during off-peak days and as high as 18,000 during peak days. You can use Hyatt free night certificates from the World of Hyatt credit card here. For my dates, the hotel costs 12,000 points per night.

So what’s not to like about it? Just one thing: it has double (full-size) beds in the rooms that fit 4 people. Have you ever shared a full-size bed with a wiggly kid? The bed feels smaller than it is. If I’m gonna share a bed with one of my kids, it needs to be at least a queen-size bed.

This hotel is probably perfect for couples. But, the beds are not ideal for families.

Alternative: Hyatt Regency Chicago

Just a short walk away is the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Clearly, it’s not as visually stunning as Chicago Athletic Association (it’s the shorter brown building):

Photo credit: Hyatt

But the selling point? The rooms have two queen-size beds!

Photo credit: Hyatt

The location is pretty great. It’s an 8-minute walk from Millennium Park, a 20-minute walk from Navy Pier, and it’s right on the river.

Hyatt Regency Chicago is a Category 3 hotel. It normally costs 12,000 points per night, but it can cost as low as 9000 or as high as 15,000 depending on the day.

What really sold me on the Hyatt Regency, in addition to the beds, is the Regency Club lounge. For 14,000 points per night, I could book a room with two queen beds and access to the lounge. That means free breakfast, drinks and light appetizers at dinner. Since my family travels so much, I’m happy to save money on food where I can.

Bottom Line

Chicago Athletic Association looks awesome. But, Hyatt Regency Chicago is the more practical choice for my family. We plan to pack in many Chicago experiences in a short amount of time and not spend too much time at the hotel. So for this trip, the practical hotel wins.

Have you stayed at either of these Chicago hotels?

How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.

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