Last year during March break, we visited the beautiful windy city of Chicago. I was attending a conference, and my family came along with me and we made it another fun road trip. The drive to Chicago from where we are is only about seven hours and it was a beautiful drive – we were lucky that the weather was cooperative. It was beautiful and sunny most of the way.
The conference was being held at the Palmer house hotel, it was quite convenient to get to from the highway and parking was accessible right across the street. The hotel itself is magnificent, it was built around the 1870’s, in classic Beaux art style. One of the great Landmark hotels in the area.
Its proximity to so many great attractions like the theater district, Art Institute, famed Magnificent Mile are all within walking distance. Others like Grant Park (where summer festivals take place), the Chicago Children’s Museum and Navy Pier are just a quick cab ride away.
As a landmark hotel, it has an interesting history. Such famous people as Charles Dickens & Oscar Wilde have stayed at this gorgeous hotel along with almost every President from Grant through Obama,with the exception of George W. Bush. Many stars have visited throughout the years and continue to visit – with photos of some of the stars lining the hallways on the different floors.
The building itself is incredible. The architecture is absolutely beautiful, with gorgeous touches throughout the hotel, including the hotel’s lobby and the ceiling. The jaw dropping ceiling was painted by the French muralist Louis Pierre Rigal in the 1920s but has recently been restored. The murals span the 50-foot length of the lobby, and are composed of 21 individual pieces, all scenes from Greek mythology.
Another little bit of delicious history: apparently the brownie was invented at Palmer House, when Bertha Palmer requested a special dessert for the ladies attending the Chicago 1893 World’s Fair.
Our room was small with 2 double beds, but I was able to visit in one of the suites and it was incredibly spacious, with a great view of the area from 2 different vantage points.
The rooms were beautifully appointed with Art Deco finishes, even the bathrooms! My daughter was also very impressed that room service included gluten free items on the menu.
Lockwood Restaurant and Bar, located just off the lobby, is open throughout the day serving contemporary American cuisine. Appetizers and cocktails are served in Potters Lounge. The Balance Spa features 14 treatment rooms, including hydrotherapy services for ultimate pampering. The fitness center offers over 10,000 sq. ft. of cardio and free weight equipment, an indoor pool, a whirlpool, and saunas. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to enjoy any. The conference was a fairly full schedule.
All the staff were very friendly and went out of the way to help, whether I was inquiring about something for the conference or as a guest of hotel. They even planned out a quick itinerary for us when we told them what we were interested in seeing, and the time we had to do it in.
Being within walking distance to many great attractions meant that we could see more things before I had to join in on the conference sessions. Our first stop of course, had to be the Art Institute of Chicago and the Willis tower skydeck. My family went on to see many more sights while we were there – they packed in a lot! But , we will have to return ( not that it will be a problem!). Having the Chicago City passes made seeing the attractions so much more convenient.
Staying at the Palmer House Hotel while we were in Chicago was a treat, it is definitely a place we wouldn’t hesitate to come back to when we visit Chicago again to finish off our sightseeing.