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Chicago's Grand Hotels: The Palmer…
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Chicago's Grand Hotels: The Palmer House, The Drake, and The Hilton…

by Robert V. Allegrini

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Architecturally imposing, historically rich, and socially important, Chicago's magnificent grand hotels have fascinated generations of Chicagoans and have pleased generations of guests. The Palmer House Hilton, The Drake, and The Hilton Chicago have come to represent a collective formal living room for Chicago, where the city's most important visitors are accommodated, entertained, and made aware of the grandeur and sophistication of their host's hometown. They were built to inspire awe--and still do for anyone fortunate enough to find themselves in the lobby of The Palmer House Hilton, The Palm Court of The Drake, or the Grand Ballroom of The Hilton Chicago. Many of the most famous locales in these classic structures have been transformed or have disappeared altogether due to changing times. Gone, for example, is The Hilton Chicago's famous rooftop miniature golf course and Boulevard Room supper club, complete with its ice shows. Gone, too, is The Drake's legendary supper club, the Camellia House. While the Empire Room of The Palmer House Hilton continues to exist as an function room, it no longer reverberates with the sound of Liberace's piano or Jimmy Durante's vocals, as it did when it was the city's premier entertainment facility. Chicago's Grand Hotels chronicles over 100 years of Chicago hotel history through vivid photographs and memorabilia from the archives of The Palmer House Hilton, The Drake, and The Hilton Chicago. It tells the compelling story of the visionary architects and hoteliers who brought these hotels to life and made them structural testaments to the warmth of midwestern hospitality.… (more)

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