In the very center of Chicago lies a collection of hotels that are both historic and well-known throughout the world. A collection of iconic establishments can be found tucked away within the vibrant streets of this bustling metropolis. These establishments have not only stood the test of time, but they have also been instrumental in playing key roles in forming the identity of the city. These hotels are more than just places to stay; rather, they are living monuments to the illustrious history and culture of Chicago.
Famous and historic hotels in Chicago have served as eyewitnesses to some of the city’s defining moments. These hotels range in style from the opulence of the 19th century to the sleek sophistication of the 21st century. They have provided not only a place to rest for travelers, but also an experience that is intricately woven into the rich fabric of Chicago’s culture, and they have served guests such as presidents, dignitaries, artists, and explorers.
During this journey through the annals of Chicago’s hospitality, you will learn about the architectural marvels, the stories of resilience, and the everlasting allure of these historic hotels. Whether you are a visitor who is looking for a glimpse into the past or a local who is looking to rediscover your city, these hotels beckon with a one-of-a-kind combination of elegance, charm, and a connection to the thriving history of the city. You set sail on an enthralling journey through the ageless and legendary world of Chicago’s most renowned and historic hotels.
Most Famous and Historic Hotels in Chicago
There are several renowned and historic hotels located in Chicago. These hotels have made an indelible mark on the city’s landscape as well as its history. The following are some of the more notable ones:
1. The Palmer House
For more than 140 years, the Hilton Hotel which is now known as the Palmer House in Chicago has been providing guests with lavish and gracious hospitality. Since the hotel first opened its doors in 1871, the Palmer House lobby has witnessed the arrival and departure of dignitaries, celebrities, and even royalty. The hotel was once considered to be the largest in the world.
The first iteration of Potter Palmer’s dream hotel was a wedding present that was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire, which swept through the city and destroyed approximately 3.3 square miles of the city. The second iteration of Potter Palmer’s dream hotel was the current Palmer House, which was the third iteration of Potter Palmer’s dream hotel.
Palmer’s dream hotel was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire; however, he was able to secure a signature loan for $1.7 million and immediately began the process of rebuilding it as his eponymous hotel. The lobby of the Palmer House continues to be recognized as one of the most beautiful and historically significant hotel lobbies in the world.
Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, and almost every sitting president since Ulysses S. Grant have been among the distinguished visitors to this hotel. The hotel has also played host to legendary entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong, and Liberace. Liberace got his start in the entertainment industry in 1947 working as the pianist at the Palmer House. 17 East Monroe Street, Apt.
2. The Drake Hotel
The Drake Hotel is a landmark and luxury hotel that dates back to 1920 and is located in Chicago, Illinois. Oak Street Beach is a three-minute walk away from the Chicago Drake Hotel, which is also located one mile from Navy Pier and offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. On New Year’s Eve of the following year, The Drake Hotel welcomed two thousand of Chicago’s most illustrious residents for its grand opening celebrations.
During the entirety of the Roaring Twenties, The Drake established itself as the premier destination for high society’s pursuit of luxury. In 1932, the Cape Cod Room established itself as the go-to destination for fresh fish and seafood in Chicago. It was also the first themed restaurant in the United States.
Coq d’Or first opened its doors on December 6, 1933, the day after prohibition was finally overturned, to the delight of thirsty customers who were eager to buy a bottle of whiskey for only forty cents. Then, in 1940, the Drake sign was turned on, firmly establishing the hotel’s position as an essential component of the skyline that is most widely recognized internationally.
The Drake Hotel was purchased by Hilton International in 1980, and subsequent renovations brought it back to its former glory. As a direct consequence of this, the Drake Hotel that visitors see today retains the opulence of its heyday while also providing amenities that are suitable for the high society of today.
Benjamin Howard Marshall, a well-known architect, was responsible for the conception of The Drake Hotel; however, John B. Drake and Tracy Corey Drake were the ones who provided the funding for the project in 1919.
3. InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile
The south tower of the InterContinental was initially built in 1929 and served as the location of the Medinah Athletic Club. 1929 was an important year for the development of American architecture. When the new home of the Medinah Athletic Club opened its doors in the northwest end of Chicago, Michigan Avenue was already glittering with the shiny new skyscrapers that were being constructed.
Even though many of the incredible architectural features of the original athletic club have been lost over time, including the two-story boxing arena, miniature golf course, and archery range, the 120,000-gallon swimming pool has remained virtually untouched. In the 1940s, this opulent space was one of the most glamorous places in the city to see and be seen by both locals and visitors alike. Address: 505 North Michigan Avenue.
4. 21c Museum Hotel Chicago by MGallery
When it first opened its doors in 1927, the 21c Museum Hotel Chicago by MGallery was located in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. At the time, it was known as the McCormick Hotel.
This stunning edifice was a luxury boutique hotel that was built with the assistance of a well-known local architect named Edmund J. Meles. Edmund J. Meles was known for designing grand hotels that offered both short-term and long-term stays.
Craftsmen, working under the direction of Adolph Lindstrom, spent hours laboriously and meticulously crafting the building out of the finest materials that were available. As a direct consequence of this, the hotel rose to prominence very rapidly, becoming a well-known gathering spot for well-known band performers and popular vaudeville performers who frequently frequented the Circle Lounge.
After World War II, the hotel, which had previously enjoyed great success, fell into a state of disrepair and was eventually scheduled for demolition.
Nevertheless, the Hayman Company’s twenty million dollar investment in the site’s restoration in 1984 was what ultimately led to its preservation. The 21c Museum Hotel Chicago by MGallery is a vibrant, art-filled boutique hotel that contemporarily offers an elegant and immersive stay in the Windy City. The hotel is managed by MGallery.
5. Hilton Chicago
The Hilton Chicago is a luxurious hotel that can be found in the heart of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. The hotel has a rich history, and despite the addition of several contemporary conveniences, it has managed to keep its traditional charm intact. The hotel is a well-known landmark in Chicago that features breathtaking panoramas of the city and is located on the edge of Grant Park. The description of the building.
Inside this historic Chicago hotel, you’ll find the Hilton Chicago, which boasts a stylishly modern design and a lively atmosphere. The hotel provides several amenities for its guests to take advantage of, including an indoor pool, a salon that offers complete services, a bar and lounge, and a fitness center that is of world-class caliber.
The Hilton Chicago hotel, on its 95th anniversary, first opened its doors in 1927 and has been regarded as one of the most prestigious addresses in the city ever since.
6. The Talbott Hotel
Since its opening in 1927, the Talbott Hotel has been a mainstay of the Gold Coast neighborhood in Chicago. The architectural firm of Marshall and Fox designed the structure in the style of the Italian Renaissance, and it was quickly recognized as one of the most prestigious hotels in Chicago. Even though the property recently underwent a significant renovation, it has not lost any of its historic allure.
The Talbott provides its guests with a selection of opulent amenities, including free Wi-Fi, a fitness center that is open around the clock, a bar and lounge that both provide full service and a library. In addition, the hotel enjoys a convenient location close to several of Chicago’s most visited attractions, such as Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile.
The Talbott Hotel in Chicago offers a one-of-a-kind experience for all of its guests, regardless of whether they are there for business or pleasure.
7. Ambassador Chicago
The Ambassador Chicago, which first opened its doors in 1926 and was formerly known as the Ambassador East, is a historic hotel located in Chicago. Both the hotel and its famous restaurant, The Pump Room, were popular destinations for famous people when they were at the height of their popularity.
The iconic property, which can be found in the middle of the Gold Coast, has welcomed many of the most important people in the city throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. It has also acted as a guidepost for many of the most powerful people in the area.
The Ambassador Chicago is the city’s first boutique hotel, and it has appeared in several movies, including “North by Northwest.” The hotel has a long and illustrious history that dates back to the Jazz Age in Chicago. In 2010, Ian Schrager purchased the building, and the following year, it underwent extensive renovations and reopened as the PUBLIC Chicago.
8. LondonHouse Chicago
The LondonHouse Chicago is a high-end lifestyle hotel that can be found in the center of the Chicago downtown area. The historic London Guarantee and Accident building, which was constructed in 1923 and is regarded as one of the “Big Four” skyscrapers surrounding the Michigan Avenue bridge at the Chicago River, has been converted into a hotel. The hotel is located on the ground floor of the building.
The building’s traditional beaux arts architecture is complemented by a modernist addition of a 22-story all-glass tower, which results in the creation of a location in Chicago that is unlike any other.
Guests of LondonHouse can enjoy unparalleled vistas of the city from every room, regardless of which direction they face in the building. The Chicago-based real estate development company Oxford Capital Group, LLC purchased LondonHouse Chicago in 2013, and since then, it has rapidly evolved into one of the most popular destinations in the city.
9. Chicago Silversmith Hotel and Suites
On Jewelers Row, you’ll find the opulent Chicago Silversmith Hotel & Suites, which is a boutique hotel that’s tucked away in the center of Downtown Chicago. This hotel dates back to 1897 when it was opened by Peter J. Weber. It features both historic architecture and modern amenities, and it provides guests with a variety of services and room options.
The hotel’s location is also very convenient because it is close to the Chicago Loop, which is home to a large number of restaurants, museums, and performing arts venues.
There’s something for everyone at the Chicago Silversmith Hotel & Suites, whether you’re looking for a place to stay for a business trip or a vacation to get away from it all. The Silversmith Hotel has become a rare gem in the Windy City as a result of its prime location, exceptional service, and contemporary luxury. The hotel also continues to provide guests with an experience that is one that they will never forget.
10. Hotel Blake
The Hotel Blake first opened its doors in 1886, and ever since then, it has been dedicated to giving guests an experience they will never forget. Guests will experience personalized service and a quaint and welcoming atmosphere while staying at this hotel, which is located close to the most popular attractions and things to do in the city.
The Hotel Blake, which is included on the National Historic Registry, features 162 guest rooms and suites in addition to convenient amenities like a business center that is open 24 hours a day, a fitness center, and on-site dining.
Guests can get a feel for the city by visiting nearby Grant Park and Millennium Park, or they can choose to dine at one of the 19 restaurants that are located within one mile of the hotel.
The Hotel Blake, with its historic allure and contemporary conveniences, is the ideal location from which to experience the best that Chicago has to offer. The building will be renovated into a premier luxury hotel in Chicago, to be located along the historic Printer’s Row neighborhood.
11. Sauganash Hotel
The Sauganash Hotel has the distinction of being Chicago’s oldest operating hotel. The first hotel in the city was constructed at Wolf Point in 1833 by Mark Beaubien and is credited with being the first hotel in the city.
The Sauganash Hotel holds a significant place in the history of Chicago. It was the first frame house to be built in the city, and it was a well-liked destination for tourists throughout its history.
The historical significance of the Sauganash Hotel and the role it played in the development of the city’s past are both well known. The hotel serves as a constant reminder of the city’s extensive history and the significant role it played in the growth of Chicago. Visitors to the hotel can get an authentic feel for what life was like in the 1800s by exploring the property and staying in the rooms, both of which are located in the hotel.
Discovering the past and gaining an understanding of the history of the location is made easier by staying at the Sauganash Hotel.
12. The Blackstone
You will feel as if you have traveled back in time to turn-of-the-century Chicago the moment you enter the stunning Beaux Arts lobby of The Blackstone. The Blackstone, which is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, first welcomed guests into its establishment in 1910 amid a great deal of fanfare. Guests as diverse as Truman Capote, Joan Crawford, and Tennessee Williams have stayed in its rooms over the years. Rudolph Valentino was one of them.
However, the hotel is perhaps best known for having provided lodging for a total of 12 U.S. presidents, ranging from Theodore Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter. The term “smoke-filled room” was first coined in this very location in 1920, when a reporter was observing politicians at a convention who were smoking cigars.
Be sure to pay a visit to the hotel’s former barbershop, which was once frequented by none other than Al Capone, as well as the hotel’s elegant Crystal Ballroom, which served as the location of Lucky Luciano’s infamous National Crime Syndicate meeting. Be wary of specters, however, as the hotel’s English Room is rumored to be haunted. This room features paneled Tudor-style wood walls and stained glass windows that were relocated from a castle in England that was built in the 17th century. 636 South Michigan Avenue.
13. Staypineapple Chicago
If you choose to stay at the Staypineapple Chicago, you’ll be doing so in a building that’s been designated as a National Historic Landmark. The revolutionary structure made of steel and glass that was designed by architects Daniel Burnham, John Root, and Charles Atwood helped to shape the skyline of our city and paved the way for the development of modern skyscrapers.
In 1895, when it was constructed, it was thought to be one of the city’s first skyscrapers because it had 14 stories that reached into the heavens. While also providing the conveniences of today, the hotel successfully maintains the classic charm that made it a Chicago landmark in the first place. Enjoy a meal at the restaurant that made it famous, Atwood, while admiring the building’s historic splendor and the Gothic-inspired ornamentation that adorns the exterior. The address is 1 W. Washington St.
These well-known and venerable hotels in Chicago are more than just places to lay one’s head; rather, they are still-functioning relics of the city’s illustrious past. The progression of Chicago from its early days as a burgeoning metropolis to its present status as a global hub of culture, commerce, and hospitality is recounted in each of these narratives in a manner that is distinctive unto itself.
You will be taken back in time as you explore these legendary establishments, and you will feel as though you have been immersed in the splendor and luxury of a bygone era. The magnificence and ageless allure of these hotels, which have welcomed such notable guests as presidents, celebrities, and visionaries, continue to enthrall guests from all over the world.
Whether you’re a tourist looking to get a taste of Chicago’s rich history or a resident of the city looking to rediscover your city’s heritage, these famous and historic hotels offer an extraordinary blend of elegance, sophistication, and connection to the city’s history. They are more than just places to sleep; they are revered landmarks that attest to the everlasting character of the Windy City.