Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A historic, stately hotel -- though some rooms are showing their age
The historic Palmer House Hilton was built as a gift by Potter Palmer for his bride Bertha in 1871, but the timing couldn't have been worse: Just thirteen days after opening, the Great Chicago Fire ravaged the city. The hotel was rebuilt with a $1.7 million signature loan (the largest individual loan at the time) and reopened in 1873.
The dramatic lobby, with glittering chandeliers and a painted ceiling, evokes the hotel's grand past. Numerous famous guests have passed through here, including Charles Dickens and Frank Sinatra. But although the hotel has undergone several renovations — the last one in 2008 — and the public spaces still impress, some rooms are showing their age.
Located in The Loop, within walking distance of Millennium Park
The Palmer House is located in The Loop, within walking distance of Millennium Park, Grant Park, Lake Michigan, and the Art Institute of Chicago (where you can view paintings that at one time hung in the Palmer House).
Clean and comfortable enough, but some have tube TVs and some are showing wear and tear
Rooms were last renovated in 2008, and feature Hilton's Serenity Dream beds, but some guests continue to complain of chipped furniture, peeling paint, and thin walls. Most rooms have one of two styles of decor: contemporary, with green and red accents, or a little more generic (and more dated), with muted red and blue accents. Executive rooms feature a DVD player and free DVD rentals, a private elevator, access to the Executive Lounge with private check-in, free boarding pass printing, free continental breakfast, free hors d’oeuvres in the afternoon, free coffee, tea and snacks all day, and bartender service in the evenings.
California-inspired cuisine at Lockwood Restaurant
This 1,639-room historic hotel in the Loop has a storied past, and a breathtaking lobby with a painted ceiling and glittering chandeliers. But room quality is uneven -- some rooms still have dated decor and tube TVs -- and all the extra fees can add up. If you don't mind sacrificing the history, it's worth considering the similarly priced Hotel Monaco or Fairmont.