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Priceline Hotel: Chicago Loop 9/28-10/01

By Abba,

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I've been trying to reserve two 4* rooms for three nights (Sept. 28 - Oct. 1) in the Millennium Park/Loop/Grant Park area.

I have used the free rebid strategy (using Skokie-Evanston-Niles and Midway as my free rebid zones) and have so far bid up to $125.

I've been hesitant to add the "North Michigan Ave./River North" zone because we're reserving for four people and planning to use a roll-away or air mattress on the floor for the fifth, and I'm afraid the likelihood of getting a smaller room might be higher in the "North Michigan Ave./River North" zone.

Should I just take my chances on "North Michigan Ave./River North"? Any other tips?

We have a decent cancellable backup plan in Evanston, but we were hoping to get a deal on something downtown.

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So your plan is two rooms and five people? So 2 people sharing a bed in one room, then 2 people sharing a bed plus one more person on a rollaway in the second? (Or, I suppose, two real beds in the second room would work also.)

I think your odds of getting the rollaway are about the same in either Loop or NMA. And those odds are probably "ok"... maybe 60/40? But that's just a guess, knowing the hotels. The larger ones that come up more often also often have smaller "priceline" rooms. A lot of it is a function of how early you can check in and how well you treat the desk clerk.

Have you checked hotwire, telling it you want two rooms and a total of five people? That will guarantee you the rollaway.

Have you seriously considered staying in Evanston, tho? It's a great town. If you're thinking of the Hilton Garden Inn, it's a very nice hotel from everything I've heard. Same with the Orrington, which was recently renovated. The HGI is in the middle of a three+ block entertainment zone -- very nice movie theatre, book store, many excellent restaurants, etc. The parking is much cheaper in Evanston, if you're driving. As I recall, outside of about an eight block radius of the center of downtown, overnight street parking becomes free.

The HGI is a block from the L purple line and Metra stations. This gives you two affordable and relatively fast ways (45 minutes) to get downtown.

And, obviously, if you're reserving direct you have more better control over what you're getting.

Think about it.

(Also note, rates downtown for your stay are very high, with the two big Loop hotels (Hilton Chicago and Palmer House) both showing sold out for at least part of your stay.)

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The HGI is a block from the L purple line and Metra stations. This gives you two affordable and relatively fast ways (45 minutes) to get downtown.

The Purple Line express trains run only on weekdays during rush hours. Otherwise count on 90 minutes for the L, including waiting for trains. Also, try to stay off the L south of Addison before and after Cubs games (those are the last three games of the season and they are at home). Unless, of course, you're using the L to actually go to the game.

On the weekends, Metra is a much better option. $5 to ride anywhere in the system all weekend.

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