It was so nice being home for the holidays again this year!
Greg and I flew into Chicago a week before Christmas and spent lots of wonderful time with family and friends.
But we weren’t home the entire time. On the weekend before Christmas my family booked rooms at Palmer House hotel in downtown Chicago so we could be in the heart of everything.
I’d never actually been inside Palmer House, but I’d heard wonderful things about its lobby. Well… we walked in on the ground floor only to see random shops and a Starbucks. I wasn’t at all impressed, and couldn’t imagine why people raved about the hotel’s lobby so much.
But then we took the stairs up one floor and were greeted by a lobby that is truly magnificent… especially when decorated for Christmas!
There’s even a bar, and my parents graciously scoped it out… for the blog of course!
Palmer House has a unique history. Potter Palmer built the hotel in 1871 as a wedding gift for his bride, Bertha Honoré Palmer, who was 23 years younger than him. Clearly rich, older men using their money to impress younger women isn’t a new thing!
But 13 days after Palmer House’s grand opening, it burned down in the Great Chicago Fire. Potter rebuilt the hotel and opened it again in 1873, making Palmer House the longest continually operating hotel in the United States.
It’s hosted presidents and socialites, and even Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde. And the Empire Room has featured performances by prominent musicians like Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong. So of course we had to sneak into the Empire Room to take a peek at the famous venue.
The entire hotel is worth exploring, actually, with each room more beautiful than the next. The Grand Ballroom is especially stunning, surrounded by a balcony and lit by dozens of chandeliers. And now after seeing it Greg and I really want to go to a black-tie event there! So if you’re planning one, let us know!
I mentioned wanting to be in the heart of everything, and Palmer House is the perfect home base for taking in the best of Chicago over the holidays. You can walk to everything, from the Christmas markets to the Macy’s holiday windows.
And the hotel is steps away from Millennium Park, where you have to take an obligatory photo in front of The Bean!
And, of course, some photographs with The Bean too!
Palmer House is also right by my family’s favorite German restaurant in Chicago, The Berghoff. I really need to blog about it one of these days! The food is delicious, and it’s been around forever. In fact my grandma used to go there with her family when she was younger!
And you know who else dines there during the holidays? Santa!
Since the weather was perfect, and not too cold, we even walked all the way to the John Hancock building and went up to the Signature Lounge on its 96th floor. You can read my post dedicated to the lounge here.
There we were treated to fabulous views of the city. And, funnily enough, my mom and I figured out that the best place for selfies is inside the Ladies’ restroom! Now you know!
I loved our weekend in downtown Chicago, and can’t recommend the Palmer House enough, especially during Christmastime. And the best part is that the room rates were extremely affordable! So you can stay in a classy hotel and take in everything Chicago has to offer over the holidays, while saving most of your money for presents!
To find out more information about Palmer House, and to make a reservation, click here.
Merry Christmas, Chicago!
For all of my Chicago travel posts, click here.