Chicago is one of the most beautiful and culturally vibrant cities to visit in the United States, but making the most of your stay requires picking a hotel with the right ambiance, amenities, guest services, and the ideal prime location (especially if the duration of your stay is limited). For the most memorable and grand experience of staying in Chicago, we'll always come back to The Drake Hotel. On this blog feature, we'll go over a brief history of what makes The Drake so special and how to make the most of your stay here.
For anyone not familiar with The Drake Hotel, it is a historic hotel rich in history, character, old-school glamour and a warm welcoming ambiance of top-notch service. The Drake Hotel has a legendary status and reputation in the city of Chicago.
Built in the early 20th century, The Drake Hotel was designed to be the first urban luxury resort by self-trained architect Benjamin Marshall, who in 1917 decided that the near North Side would be Chicago’s most desirable part of the city with its unobstructed grand views of Lake Michigan. The hotel was originally designed to provide guests with resort access to an exclusive park, beach, sun-bathing deck, grand ballrooms, and horse-riding trails. The Drake’s original Palm Court area had a pond that featured ducks and baby alligators, and Benjamin Marshall even once brought in an elephant to the space for the Fountain Court Charity Ball.
|The Palm Court - famous for their delicious afternoon teas by the fountain with live harp music. It's believed that tossing coins into the fountain, of which the money goes to charity will shower the recipients with good luck.|
|The grand lobby of The Drake during the holidays - warm and festive!|
The Drake Hotel has also made its way into pop culture with its beautiful grand architecture. In the 1980’s, movies such as Time and Again, The Blues Brothers, Continental Divide, and Risky Business were all filmed at the Drake.
Many famous figures in history have all stayed at The Drake, residents have included Walt Disney, Amelia Earhart, Sinclair Lewis, Charles Lindberg, Kathryn Hepburn, Duke of Windsor, President Herbert Hoover, and George Gershwin. In 1959, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip stayed at the Sapphire Suite, which is now known as the Princess Diana Suite.
|The Cape Cod seafood restaurant where Joe DeMaggio and Marilyn Monroe carved their initials onto the wooden bar, you can still find their inscriptions here today!|
|This hallway at The Drake even has a piano bar. The decor and feel throughout the property is classic, grand, and elegant!|
The grand history and the glamour of The Drake Hotel can be felt throughout the premise, from the lobby to their renowned opulent ballrooms. Constructed of smooth limestone, The Drake Hotel’s architecture is inspired by ornate details found in Italian palaces of High Renaissance Rome and Florence.
|The Gold Coast ballroom of The Drake Hotel - about 124 events are held here every year, many of which are weddings|
At the Drake, we stayed at the executive suites (pictured below), which had a full living room space, work space, bedroom area, and a beautiful view of Lake Michigan, giving us the experience of how it’s like living in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood! Like many historic hotels, all the rooms at The Drake are extra spacious, and come with high ceilings.
|This is one of the executive suite rooms at The Drake;at more than twice the size of most urban hotel rooms, this room has a large marble bathroom and a full sized living room|
|Rooms at The Drake either have a view of Lake Michigan or downtown Chicago, our executive suite came with this gorgeous view of the lake and the Gold Coast of Chicago|
|This is the new LED light signage of The Drake, it lights up at night and is part of the Chicago skyline|
|Not to be missed - afternoon tea at The Drake, where you get to sit besides the water fountain. The selections are delicious, and it even comes with gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.|
|A close-up of desserts - here we have raspberry macaron, cream puff, and pumpkin mousse cookies|
The Drake Hotel also has one of Chicago’s ideal locations; not only is it on the main shopping district of Magnificent Mile, but it’s also located right between the trendy North Side neighborhoods and Millennium Park. At The Drake, you can enjoy the finest afternoon teas (with live harp music) and modern amenities like high-speed internet and a state of the art fitness center. A stay at The Drake Hotel feels special, warm, and charming in a way that makes you feel extra welcomed on your trip to the Windy City.
To make the most out of your stay at The Drake, be sure to have afternoon tea at Palm Court, enjoy seafood at one of Chicago's first and finest seafood restaurant the Cape Cod and have drinks at Coq D'Or, one of the first bars to open after the end of the Prohibition. In addition to the touristy Magnificent Mile, also do check out the unique boutique shops on Oak Street and be adventurous - explore the nearby uptown area of Lakeview and Lincoln Park where you'll find some of Chicago's best music (jazz and rock and blues), theater, improv comedy, and food scene.
|The spacious and warm living room area of the executive suite we stayed in is beautifully decorated with ornate window drapes and classic american furniture|
|The rooms come with classic ornate decor that gives it a warm inviting feel, such as Roman window drapes, wall moldings, and gold-gilded floor and table lamps|
|The view of the bedroom from the living room couch|
|Large marble bathroom with tub|
|Bathrooms come with Peter Thomas Roth products|
|Furnishings at The Drake come with details that speak to the craftsmanship of a bygone era|
|This private executive lounge is open to guests of the executive suites, perfect for conducting business in a more private quiet setting|
|The Drake may be a historical hotel, but it has a modern gym that is bigger and brighter than most hotel gyms in the surrounding area|