I stayed here several years ago on one of my first Priceline bids, and received it again this year for $65. It's not actually inside the SMA zone as it's currently drawn--it's just north, at the intersection of Wabash and Wacker. But the location is fantastic, less than two blocks from all subway and El trains, and on the south edge of the river. Easy access to everything.
The lobby is small but cute, as you'd expect from a boutique hotel. They serve free coffee in the mornings and have a wine tasting in the evenings. At 3 PM there's a basket of yummy chocolate chip cookies at the FD. They go fast. The staff is extremely nice--no attitude whatsoever, Priceline or otherwise.
Rooms--very cute. I've now seen a total of four of them (more on that later). My DBLDBL at my last visit was large by boutique standards. This trip I told the checkin clerk how excited I was to be back (very true--I loved staying here before) and she found me a room with a nice river view and a king. It was considerably smaller than the DBLDBL, more like a regular boutique room, but still much bigger than lots of rooms. The decor is beautiful--wallpaper with broad green strips, a quilted red headboard, striped curtains, big round sunburst mirror, comfy armchair and ottoman, etc. The windows have cushioned window seats--very nice. Room includes minibar with typical Kimpton stuff (Etch-a-sketch and wax lips) and fax machine. Cute white terrycloth robe and Hotel Monaco umbrella in closet (available for purchase for $50 and $10 respectively). Bathroom has lovely marble counter, striped yellow wallpaper, terrycloth shower curtain, and Aveda toiletries. All in all it's a very beautiful and luxurious room.
But then--from the beginning, I had trouble making my keys work. Although I finally got in when I first arrived, after that every time I returned I had to have new keys made. The first day they were supposed to send up an engineer, who never arrived. That night, the newest keys seemed to work OK, so I left it at that, but on day 2 the keys weren't working again. I can't tell you how much aggravation this caused--one time I was sick and desperately needed in; another time I could hear my phone ringing, but I was waiting for someone to come up and let me in. Staff was always extremely apologetic, but couldn't seem to fix it. Engineer came the second day, and seemed to help, but it was only temporary. Finally, late the second night, the night desk clerk had to let me in and said he would block another room for me for the next day. Finally! They should have suggested this from the first. I have to say, though, that had I asked for it, they probably would have done it immediately. I just kept thinking it was going to start working.
The first new room they gave me (on day 3) was a spacious DBLDBL like I had before, but it was a connector, which I hate because they tend to be noisy. So I called and asked for another one, and after some initial hesitation (because it was before noon and little was available), she came up with a nice king on the front of the hotel that was bigger than my first room. It's very nice, and the lock seems to work fine. Unfortunately, they're sold out tonight so someone else is going to be stuck with the bad lock room.
There's a decent workout room with some cardio machines and dumbbells up to 50 lbs. and one bench. $10 passes are available for Crunch 2 blocks away. There's valet parking--I didn't use it. The concierge stays very busy. The restaurant has changed from French to American, and so has the room service. Newspapers (the New York Times, no less) are available in the morning on the tables in front of the elevators on each floor. They go fast. On the weekend they evidently have the Sunday Chicago Tribune. I say evidently because when I got there all that was left was a plastic bag with comics and Sunday extras--no news. When I returned to my new room, they had put one of the goldfish bowls in here (probably to calm me down since I'd been pretty irate about the door lock). You can request one for your room while you're here.
Even though I was pretty pissed off about the door situation, I have to say the staff handled me well, not getting irritated and apologizing profusely. One desk clerk actually bolted up the stairs for five floors in order to get my new keys to me more quickly. The real problem resulted from the missing engineer on day one, and forgetting to offer a new room. But I guess they, too, thought that things would soon be remedied. So on the whole I think I would still stay here again, and recommend it to others, although this stay has not been as idyllic as the first one.
I stayed at the Monaco in August of 2003 and had a wonderful time. The staff was attentive. They offered to heat our leftover deepdish pizza and brought it up on room service china gratis. One of our friends came up to our room and was so impressed that he is staying there on his honeymoon this fall.
The rooms are gorgeous and very luxurious. It was the best hotel bed I have ever slept in. I loved the down duvet and pillows. It was very much like my own bed, which was good since I got sick and spent all day in it. The restaurant made me chicken soup for lunch even though it wasn't on the menu, and the bartender kept me company in my misery.
If you can't tell, I wholeheartedly recommed it and hope I can stay there again this July.