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Palmer House Hilton, Chicago 2021

Well, my London Christmas trip got cancelled by the Omicron variant (ok, not cancelled but it became infeasible to go with the length of quarantine implemented). I began looking for a place close to home since it was also now too expensive to buy a ticket being so short term. I happen to live somewhat driving distance from Chicago, and I found astounding rates at the Palmer House, a centrally located downtown grand icon of old school hotelishness.
40 minutes after arriving I finally got my bags delivered to my room


I drove in from Minnesota, a brutal 7 hour trip due to the return of the notorious Chicago traffic. 10 miles took an hour near downtown on I90/I94. Well, I'll leave earlier next time.

I stopped at the main entrance on Monroe, and off loaded my luggage to the bellman. Then I went to park offsite (at $65 a night, when I could park a block away for $45 for the weekend? Well... I don't just throw money away!)
The lobby is on floor 2, walkup, elevators and escalators abound from the 3 entrances to the hotel, from the east, west, and north (the main one).
OMG, this room, is just amazing to look at Down from the 4th floor to the lobby balcony and the main lobby floor

The Room

No upgrades for this Diamond, I arrived pretty late though and well, you'll see how things are going there as you continue to read.
Not a bad sized room at all, lots of space around the furniture, a full closet, small fridge, but the room safe was not operating Now they are putting most bath amenities in non-disposable containers.  Sadly, shampoo and bath gel were empty and I needed to call to have them filled
The large elevator lobby.  The cars arrived quickly, I didn't need to use the seats Yes, these work and they will mail your letter if postage is attached
The view was ok. 17th floor doesn't get you over many buildings in downtown. But at least it was an external view. The cheap rooms face the central shaft of the building.

Food and Drink

The restaurant and the lobby bar are open. Plus a very extensive "Grab & Go" which is almost a full coffee shop. Lots of great options there.
A very pretty bar, but man as soon as it was open, it was mobbed and I could never find a seatThe main restaurant.  The food was good and the selection what one would expect in a Hilton or Marriott
The grab and go, with many options.  You can quiet complaining children here with the original brownie, invented in the Palmer HouseToo bad this one was closed, it has an excellent bar in it

Event Spaces

This has been an event hotel since day one, and man, the rooms and 4 floors of spaces would allow you to hold a meeting for most of the 1600 rooms available for your guests.
A lot of check-ins for those very big events The entrance to the Grand Ballroom Just... wow.  I mean, the use of space and the largeness of it
The Red Lacquer room, when you still have a ton of money to burn but only 100 friends to feed
The Empire Room, where for 70 years the most famous performers would do their acts, and it was also broadcast on the radio.  Ah the golden age Now the room is another event space, but I wish I had seen it in its heyday


The gym and pool were open all the way except the steam room. I couldn't get you a lot of pictures of the workout areas, well, thanks to Dani Mathers and her fat shaming.
Entrance to the gym, unmanned so I was able to sneak a couple photos Centralized towel and water area for the gym Fanciest hotel locker room I have seen
The weight and stretch room.  Having it to myself I could get one here Another great item that was closed due to health concerns
And really cool displays with artifacts from the 150 previous years of the hotel. That's a long time.
Private tour available by asking at front desk


A very solid 4 star hotel that is truly a unique property. There were service issues, as noted above. This is my favorite hotel in Chicago, and I have stayed here multiple times in the last 2 decades. I think after the world comes back to a bit of normal, I'll return to her.

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