Chicago’s Palmer House, a Hilton property, is stunning any time of the year. This time of year, this Historic Hotel of America, decked out in its holiday finery, is worth a look even if all you do is stand in awe looking up at the magnificent ceiling and the dazzle of the Christmas trees that grace the hotel’s lobby. That’s what I did.
When I stood in the lobby a couple of Sundays ago, thinking that it was a shame that I didn’t have more time to savor the ambiance after a morning conference presentation–a dim sum brunch in Chinatown was on my mind, I thought that for another Chicago trip a night at the Palmer House would be a treat.
Originally given as a wedding gift to Bertha Palmer by her hubby Potter Palmer in 1871, the hotel was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire just 13 days after it opened. Undaunted, Palmer built this version of the Palmer House across the street. The current Palmer House opened in 1873 making it the oldest continuously operating hotel in the United States. Through the years, its grandness has grown. The ceiling murals of the lobby are the most obvious example.
Depicting various scenes of Greek mythology, the 21 frescoes of the ceiling, were painted by French muralist Louis Pierre Rigal in the 1920s. Thanks to Lido Lippi, who painstakingly restored them in 1996, the murals look as fresh as they did when they were first created.
A night stay in one of Palmer House’s 1,639 guest rooms puts one on a guest list that includes an eclectic mix ranging from Bill Clinton to Sonny and Cher to Judy Garland and the Dalai Lama. Surprisingly, although not in the budget range, Palmer House is not as pricey as I thought.
Check out the Hotel Specials page, for example. Packages start at $149. During the month of December to January 1, Palmer House is part of the Hilton Hotels December Sale which means rooms are 25% less.
Palmer House® a Hilton Hotel
17 East Monroe Street
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Photos of lobby courtesy of Jamie Rhein
Photo of guest room, courtesy of Palmer House Hilton
Other related post: Top 5 Chicago Essentials
For more details about the Palmer House from a person whose high school prom took place here, check out fellow UpTake blogger Barbara Weibel’s post Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois.