There are many great hotels in the City of Chicago. If you are looking for a centrally located hotel, convenient to the business district and to the many great attractions in Chicago, that also are historically significant and offer excellent service, consider the Palmer House Hilton or The Hotel Burnham.
These two hotels have historical roots in the City of Chicago. The building’s architectures have fascinating stories. The buildings have been renovated recently, so in addition to the elegance of a past era, the hotels have modern amenities. These hotels take pride in pampering their guests.
The hotels are located in the heart of The Loop and are within blocks of the Business District, the Theatre District and Millennium Park, as well as the world famous Magnificent Mile shopping.
Palmer House Hilton
17 East Monroe Street
Chicago, Illinois 60603
The Palmer House Hilton is one of Chicago’s oldest hotels. The Palmer House Hotel was built by businessman Potter Palmer in 1871. Just 13 days after the hotel opened, it was burned down in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Palmer rebuilt the 2.5 million dollar hotel across the street and reopened in in 1873. Today the historic hotel is the longest continually running hotel in North America.
The Palmer House Hilton was the first hotel with electric lights in every room. The hotel also sported a 300 foot bar, a barber shop and a floor inlaid with at least 300 silver dollars.
In 1925 the hotel was replaced by today’s Palmer House at Monroe and State street. The current hotel includes more than 1,600 rooms and more than 60 suites. Conrad Hilton purchased the hotel in 1945. It became the Palmer House Hilton in 1992.
The new owner of the hotel, Thor Equities, planes a 150 million dollar renovation, including 1,000 remodeled rooms, 54 new suites, a 4,000 square foot penthouse, interior parking, new canopies and removal of exterior fire escapes on State Street.
The Empire Room, the hotel’s famous show room, where a young Liberace played piano has already been restored to its former elegance. The nightclub headlined a bevy of stars from 1933 to 1972, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald. The Empire room is now used for large social gatherings.
The hotels most memorable space is the lavishly ornate lobby. There are 21 murals on the 2 story high ceilings, which have been recently restored after decades of neglect. The artist who restored the murals was Lido Lippi who also worked on the Sistine Chapel.
The hotel make trademark brownies, from the same nineteenth century recipe that they have used for years.
The Big Downtown is The Palmer House Hilton’s innovative restaurant and bar. the restaurant features new world cuisine, steaks, burgers, pasta and more. The Big Downtown Martini has fabulous 1940’s style drinks along with micro brews. The smoke free restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and is open from 6:30 am to 2:00 am.
The Palmer House Hilton Hotel has received AAA’s Three Diamond rating.
1 West Washington
Chicago, Illinois 60602
The Hotel Burnham is a boutique Kimpton Hotel, in the heart of Chicago’s Loop is within walking distance of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile
The Hotel Burnham is Chicago’s newest old hotel. The hotel was opened in 1999 in one of Chicago’s most historic buildings, the 14 story Reliance Building, built in 1895.
The Reliance Building was originally built as office building by the D. H. Burnham and Co. architectural firm. The building is an icon of the Chicago School of Architecture and the era that saw the birth of the skyscraper. The revolutionary architects used radical steel and glass design in creating the building.
The Reliance Building was designed in what became known as “the Chicago style” of commercial architecture. It was a premier example of this school of architecture and was the first direct predecessor to today’s modern skyscrapers.
Eventually the building fell into disrepair and was neglected until a group of investors purchased it and invested 27.5 million dollars to transform it into a boutique hotel.
The Reliance Building was designated a National Historic Landmark Building in 1975, and has been restored to its rightful place as one of Chicago’s most significant architectural landmarks.
The Hotel Burnham is now a 122 room European style hotel, which brings the romance and luxury of Chicago to life. The romantic, historic and luxurious Hotel Burnham has recently been selected by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the best places to stay in the world.
The hotels bay windows offer panoramic views of downtown Chicago and the Theatre District. The hotel is located across from Chicago’s newest attraction, Millennium Park.
Guests of The Hotel Burnham enjoy many amenities including: full service concierge, fully equipped fitness room, complimentary wine service, and order room service from the Atwood Cafe, an award winning restaurant adjacent to the hotel.
Downtown Chicago is a busy, active area. The Palmer House Hotel Hilton and The Hotel Burnham are centrally located so that visitors can easily take advantage of all the city has to offer. Here is a list of area attractions within one mile of these hotels:
Chicago Loop Business
Chicago’s Theater District
River North Gallery District
Lakefront Running Path
North Michigan Avenue
Water Tower Place
John Hancock Center (with 95th floor Observatory)
Magnificent Mile and shopping
Museum of Contemporary Art
Art Institute of Chicago
Sear’s Tower (the tallest building in North America)
A visit to Chicago is very exciting. There are many things to see and do. Stay in one of the historic hotels of Chicago and enjoy some of the history of Chicago.