During my recent trip to Chicago, I was put up at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel as part of the Dan Kohn Scholarship from KubeCon. Little did I know that I was staying at one of the most iconic and historic hotels in the United States.
How many times you’ve looked at an Instagram reel of a luxurious hotel and dreamed of staying there sometime? My answer is many times. However, the kind of traveller that I am, I rarely splurge on fancy hotels on my trips. Even when I was in Chicago, I opted for a room in a dormitory at the Hi Chicago Hostel.
Reason? Well, I’m mostly outside exploring the place and in the room only to sleep, hence for me it never made sense to book a luxury hotel for my trips. However, my stay at Palmer House Hilton was of a totally different kind.
In this blog post, I share my experience and review of the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.
Story of Palmer House
When I got the reservation email for the room, I was excited looking at the hotel’s name. I was elated to be staying at a Hilton property, my first time at Hilton. However, what I didn’t realise was that I was going to spend a few nights in the living storybook. Only after I stayed there, and explored the hotel the little I could, I learned it was a time travel for me.
Opened in the 1870s, the first Palmer House hotel was the first hotel to have elevators, telephones in guest rooms and electric light bulbs! While the first hotel couldn’t survive the Great Chicago Fire, the second hotel was ready to host guests. However, at the start of the 19th century, business flourished and there was a demand for a larger space.
That’s when the third Palmer House hotel was built in the 1920s. And this is the current building where I stayed! It’s the oldest building that I’ve ever stayed in! The hotel underwent a lot of renovations over the years, but it still houses the charm of the yesteryears. It was only in 1945, that it became part of the Hilton Chain and the name was changed to Palmer House – A Hilton Hotel and is a part of the Historic Hotels of America list!
Vintage Charm of Palmer House Hilton
Though I was busy at the conference during my entire week in Chicago, I made it a point to explore the hotel as much as I could. As soon as you step into the hotel, you can feel the luxury of a modern-day hotel blending with the grandeur of the past.
The grand lobby, a breathtaking spectacle in itself, that will transport you to a bygone era. With ceilings that reach for the heavens and intricate details that remind me of European castles, the lobby is a majestic introduction to the hotel’s design philosophy.
From the ornate chandeliers that hang like crystalline jewels to the meticulously crafted furniture that graces the common areas, every aspect of the design reflects a commitment to timeless beauty. Every corner of the hotel exudes an air of sophistication. I was in awe of everything I saw at the hotel.
Luxury Of Different Kinds – My Palmer House Hilton Review
A Luxury hotel anywhere in the world would be way more than just comfy beds, a bathroom with luxurious fittings and a view. Most hotels today are loaded with tech. From TVs with personalized messages for the guests to automatic curtains, voice assistants, and other Hitech gadgets.
Well, Palmer House Hilton is not of that kind. The moment you step out of the elevator and head to your room, the carpets and the corridors with yellow lights remind you of a classic American movie. And that transcends into the rooms as well. I got a double room bed with a city view. Well, there was nothing to see from the 12th floor as buildings were all around.
The bed was comfy and the bathroom was fitted with a bathtub (that I enjoyed a couple of nights). The working desk was perfect for me to work on my presentations too. The TV was huge, but I never turned it on.
What could have been better was the lighting, even with all the lights on, the room always felt dull. And the yellow lights didn’t help either. Unlike hotels in India, there wasn’t any water to drink in the room and everything was placed on this tray and was chargeable. There also wasn’t an electric kettle in the room or an iron board.
Nonetheless, all these took a backseat as the history buff in me was just in awe of staying at an iconic hotel which I may not have been able to afford for more than a night or two. Every time I got in and out of the hotel, I just walked in the lobby to explore what other timeless things it had.
A Time Travel To Experience
From the grand lobby that felt like stepping into a European castle to the vintage vibes that echoed through every corner, the hotel’s architecture and design are truly iconic. The roof painting in the lobby and the carefully curated decors made it an experience I won’t forget. It’s more than just a hotel; it’s a journey through time, where the elegance of the past meets the luxury of today.
If you’re ever in Chicago and want to indulge in a piece of history, the Palmer House Hilton is the place to be. A stay that’s not just about comfort, but about immersing yourself in a timeless symphony of beauty and charm.