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Review: Midway Airport Hotel Center

Flying between the Bay Area and Wisconsin as often as we do, we have a few airport options. Most of them involve layovers. The only direct flight that gets us anywhere near my parents’ home in Kenosha is OAK-MDW, which delivers us to the Southwest side of Chicago, an hour and a half from our destination.

On Mother’s Day, my college kid and I were scheduled to fly home from Midway at about 6 a.m. Because we didn’t want to leave Kenosha in the middle of the night, we decided to burn some Bonvoy points and stay near the airport. That’s when I learned about Midway’s interesting airport hotel situation. The Midway Hotel Center is basically one big parking lot eight blocks from the airport with a whole bunch of hotels of different brands. Some of the properties claim to be two blocks from the airport. It’s technically true — two blocks from the hotel center, the airport property begins. However, the terminals are farther than that.

The upside to staying here before or after a Midway flight is, obviously, the shuttle, which all the hotels share. When we arrived at around 7:30 p.m. Saturday evening, I dropped off Nutmeg and our luggage at the hotel and then drove our rental car over to the airport to return it. Within an hour, I was back in the room. It only took that long because I had to take two shuttles — one from the rental car drop off to the airport, then another from the airport to the hotel. If it had been earlier in the day, I would have happily walked the eight blocks.

With me on the shuttle from the airport was a tired mom with two little kids on her lap. She had missed her connection due to her first flight being late, and mentioned that she had never been to Chicago before. I broke the news to her that she was not going to see Chicago in the morning, really: Only the Village of Bedford Park, where the hotel center is technically located. No lakefront, no bean, no Buckingham fountain. Just industrial parks.

There are a couple of restaurants in and near the hotel center as well — I saw a TGI Fridays, and we ordered a deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s, which was delivered right to our room. Despite the proximity, the delivery still took an hour. Sure, you might argue that deep dish pizza takes an hour. But my receipt informed me that the pizza was ready half an hour before it arrived at our room.

The Midway Hotel Center web site strangely doesn’t list all the hotels located there. We stayed at the Marriott, and just by looking at the map, I see there are also two other Bonvoy brands: Courtyard and Residence Inn. Then there’s a Hilton Doubletree, a Hyatt Place and Sleep Inn, which is Courtyard brand. I chose the Chicago Marriott Midway because we had a free night certificate on Bonvoy, an annual benefit of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa. We could have redeemed that for any of the three Bonvoy properties at the hotel center, but I figured the Marriott would be the best because it is the most expensive.

Well, it was OK.

What I liked at the Chicago Marriott Midway:

  • Front desk staff. When I checked in, the guy behind the counter mentioned that we had already “spoken.” I realized he meant that he was the one who answered my chat query via the app about getting a room with two queen beds for my daughter and I. I liked that the chat messages about this hotel are answered by actual staff behind the desk, not at a Bonvoy call center somewhere. The same guy was friendly about us leaving our car in the circle for a few minutes while dropped our luggage in the room, and helpful later on when we needed to locate some silverware and napkins for the pizza we’d ordered. In the morning, another friendly staff member gave me a free toothbrush with toothpaste.
  • Location. Of all the hotels in the center, this one is closest to Midway. So in the morning, we didn’t have to circle around to the other hotels on our way there. However, on my way from the airport the night before, the shuttle didn’t stop at our hotel first.
  • The work tables. There were basically two desks in the room, one of which fit neatly underneath the other. This would be really handy for meetings, etc. Of course, there was only one desk chair, so one of the people in your meeting would have had to sit on the bed.

What I didn’t love about the Chicago Marriott Midway:

  • The TV. Instead of having cable, the hotel was using some streaming service with a wonky user interface. We tried to watch HGTV but I kept going in and out. Then I switched to NBC, which worked fine. I couldn’t figure out how to use the remote to toggle from channel to channel. Also, the TV was tiny for a hotel. This was a real contrast from our recent stay at Hotel Indigo in Madison, Wis., which had a huge, modern TV with an interface that made it easy to stream from my iPhone. I would not have even tried that maneuver on this set.
  • The bathroom. We had to jiggle the handle every time the toilet flushed to stop it from running loudly. So annoying!
  • My bed. I don’t know what was going on with it, but my bed felt slanted on the side-to-side axis. It wasn’t like I was going to roll out, but something odd was going on there.
  • Room service. There wasn’t any. There is an on-property restaurant, The Copper Fox, but by the time we wanted to eat after 8 p.m., it was closed. Even if it was open, it wasn’ clear if we would have been able to order any food to the room. I miss room service menus in hotel rooms! On the upside, when our pizza arrived with nothing to cut it with and no napkins, I was able to snitch a couple place settings from the tables in the closed bar area.

    The hotel also has a pool, but (from what I saw) no hot tub. We didn’t try it, so I can’t comment on the pool.

All in all, this wasn’t a terrible hotel, but not great either. Next time I stay at Midway, I’ll try one of the other properties in the hotel center.