We had a couple of free Hilton Hotel nights to redeem, so I decided to take a quick trip to Chicago and stay in one of the historic grand dame hotels in The Loop. The Palmer House is about as historic as an American hotel can get. Potter Palmer, like most 19th century Chicago tycoons, thought big. When he built his hotel in 1871 he was determined that it would be the biggest and most over-decorated hotel in THE WORLD, and so it was.
The next year his magnificent hotel burnt down, along with most of Chicago. Undaunted, he rebuilt it even bigger and more elaborate than the first time. He added elevators, electric lights and a telephone exchange. And then, in 1900, he commissioned a famous French muralist to transform the lobby ceiling into a rococo fantasy. Words cannot describe it.
The rooms aren't quite up to the standard of the lobby, but our Accessible King was spacious, comfortable and tastefully decorated. The view from the 21st floor was stunning - and the windows actually opened for a little fresh air (something you never see in new hotels).
The location is superb: less than a mile from Union Station, and easy walking distance from the Sears Tower, the Art Institute, Millennium Park, and Buckingham Fountain. There are a couple of excellent reasonably priced restaurants within a block: Rudy's Bar and Grill and The Berghoff (one of the oldest restaurants in the city). We had a marvelous mini-vacation here.