The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago

In Hotels by Taylor Kelly

In 1879, the “Greatest Banquet in American History” was celebrated at the grand Palmer House Hotel. Commemorating the return of President Ulysses S. Grant after his trip around the World, Potter and Bertha Palmer hosted a gala dinner for 500 dignitaries including honoring Civil War heroes, General William Sherman and Phillip Sheridan. Among those in attendance Palmer’s friend, Mark Twain was the master of ceremonies, making this dinner and hotel talked about for ages to come.

Since that evening this site has welcomed many notable guests and famous stars including President Dwight. D. Eisenhower, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Louis Armstrong.  Upon arriving through the bronze Peacock carved doors it’s obvious to imagine why so many prominent figures have set foot in this establishment, it’s the epitome of extravagant luxury.

Walking through the stoned-staircase foyer turn the corner to enter the massive Palmer House lobby immediately to look up to the 21-panel paintings spanning across the interior ceiling as a clock guarded by two female statues leads to the Empire Room. The long-stretched tables accompanied by a granite countertop bar invite you to sit back and take in the building’s beauty and antique chandeliers light up the red-carpeted stairways and elevators that will lead you to your suite.

The high level of service and dedication of providing guests with the best of amenities is apparent from the second you check in. Choose to stay in an Executive Level Room for an elevated private accommodation experience with key-only access that brings you to your floor. The earth-toned walls and gold framed mirrors inside each guest room create a warm ambiance, while a flat-screen TV adds an extra bit of fancy flair.  Take delight in the many other exclusive amenities provided to Executive Level Rooms including a complimentary Continental Breakfast, Hors-d’oeuvres and a daily Bartender Service from 4:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

Purchase the Palmer House’s “Just Chillin’ Package” available through April 10th, for an ultimate winter vacation that includes welcome mugs with unlimited Hot Cocoa and Coffee, a complimentary self-parking for one vehicle, and make sure to hit the ice with two free skate rental tickets at Millennium Park’s Ice Rink overlooking the beautiful skyline of the windy city. This promotion is also available at The Drake Hotel and Hilton Chicago. 

While the Palmer House’s rich history brings together Chicago locals and curious tourists alike, it’s perhaps the delectable dining at this hotel that keeps this location a prime hotspot for weekend crowds. The Lockwood Restaurant and Bar is a recommended American cuisine favorite for breakfast with a gourmet buffet including Arugula Salad in a Vinaigrette Dressing, Parmesan Seasoned Potatoes, and French Toast Bread Pudding, (which was my personal favorite). Can’t make it for brunch? Stop by with friends for their Afternoon Tea Menu showcasing a variety of Harney and Sons Teas paired with fresh sandwiches like their Prosciutto and Asparagus, or head down the hall to Potter’s Chicago Burger Bar showcasing the city’s best comfort food. From the West Loop Burger with mushrooms ‘n’ Swiss, garlic butter, and truffle aioli to their Nutella Milkshake this dining location is well worth the visit!

Sure, there are a lot of fantastic luxury hotels in this city. The difference is when you combine this property’s majestic setting, hospitable service, and authentic meals prepared in an establishment of overflowing history, you quickly realize whether you are staying for a week, or just coming for happy hour this destination will remain with you as a memory for a lifetime.