We spent a week in Chicago this July and just loved every minute of it, well except of course the run in with the wacko on the rid line, but what are you going to do?! We stayed four nights at the Monaco (spectacular) and three nights here at the Essex Inn. This helped to save some money and provided a pool for our son. Our double room was about $100 less per night than the high end hotels and that worked out fine. The hotel is exceedingly unimpressive from the outside, particularly in the shadow of the great Chicago Hilton, but big deal. The lobby reminds me of a lobby of a northern European Hotel. Stark, but clean. The staff was busy, but helpful. For the size, the hotel seemed to be very quite and the elevators were always easy to get. The room was clean and tastefully decorated, just not impressive. Internet access is $6 a day, but very fast. The pool was nice, but the water was cold. The location is really good, with the park right across the street, the museums a short walk away and the nearest train station (red line) just two blocks away. Main bus lines are right out front. For the money, the Essex Inn is really a good value. If you want special, stay at the Monaco, but if you want to have some money for the house payment when you get home, this is the place. I would stay here again. Have fun!