Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Best of Chicago’s Historic Hotels

The city of Chicago is rich with history, and there are several Chicago hotels that play a part in that history. While enjoying all that Chicago has to offer, your visit to the windy city will be even more enriching with a stay at one of its famous historic hotels.

The Drake Hotel

Built in 1919 and opened on New Year’s Eve in 1920, The Drake Hotel is recognized as a Historic Hotel of America. It’s also one of Fodor’s Top 10 Hotels that Ooze Old-School Hollywood Glamour. Marilyn Monroe, Walt Disney, and Bing Crosby are just a few of the famous people known to have frequented the hotel. The Drake was restored in 1980 after being purchased by Hilton International. Be sure to eat at the hotel’s award-winning restaurants and attend daily tea at the Palm Court; it’s been a tradition since the 1920s.

Photo by Christa Harlin via trover.com

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile

Though not originally constructed as a hotel, the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile is still a historic wonder. The building, originally the Medinah Athletic Club, was built in 1929. In 1988, InterContinental Hotels purchased it and renovated it keeping the athletic club’s history as a luxury facility for Shriners in mind. The Shriner's greeting etched above two marble columns near the entrance, and other Shriner inscriptions are still visible throughout the hotel. The grand staircase handrail is the original from the athletic club. Don’t forget to take a dip in the beautifully ornate junior Olympic pool; the hotel is famous for it. While staying here, hop on a nearby Segway Tour to take in the rest of the sights Magnificent Mile is known for.

Photo by Grant Miner via trover.com

Millenium Knickerbocker Chicago

What is now called Millenium Knickerbocker Chicago has had several different owners and names through its rumor-filled history that began in 1927. One of its more notorious owners was Hugh Hefner, who named it Playboy Towers in 1970. During a renovation in 1980, a secret door to a hidden stairway was found, intensifying rumors that there was once a brothel in the basement. It is also rumored that Al Capone’s brother ran a speakeasy and casino on the 14th floor. You will definitely want to take a spin on the hotel’s illuminated dancefloor in the famous Crystal Ballroom.

The Palmer House Hilton

The history of The Palmer House Hilton is filled with romance, entertainment, and art. The hotel was a wedding gift from Chicago business tycoon Potter Palmer to his wife, Bertha Honore. Shortly after opening, the hotel was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire, but Potter rebuilt it and opened again in 1873. In 1933, the hotel’s dining room became an entertainment center where famous artists including Frank Sinatra, Liberace, and Ella Fitzgerald appeared. The hotel’s ceiling frescos that Bertha Palmer hired French painter Louis Pierre Rigal to paint are stunning.

Photo by Christopher King via trover.com
Each of these historic hotels has received favorable reviews for the cleanliness and comfort of their rooms and suites. Each one also has fitness facilities and at least two restaurants to give you dining options during your stay. So book your room today! You will not be disappointed with a stay at any one of these famous, top-rated hotels. 

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project. 

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