The Drake Hotel was established in 1920 and is still in luxurious operation today. It sits at the top of the Magnificent Mile, overlooking Lake Michigan. Upon its completion, the Drake building was part of the Potter Palmer estate, and it became an aesthetic transition from the fashionable residential Gold Coast into the buzzing commercial Michigan Avenue. When the Drake hotel moguls, Tracy and John Drake, acquired the property in 1916, the building was commissioned and completed in 1920 in the Italian Renaissance architectural fashion.
Because of its strategic location and popularity, the Drake Chicago boasts the presence of many prominent visitors within its plush halls, including Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Hugh Hefner, Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. Some of the icons who have graced the Drake with their attendance maintained long term residences at the hotel, a typical custom in the days of its early existence. For a time, through the interlude of WWI and the Depression, the radio station WGN broadcasted directly from the hotel, initiating the swift rise to immense distinction and popularity. Development, quality, and hospitality were and remain the name of the game for the Drake Hotel, and so it was the first hotel in Chicago to provide air conditioning and color televisions in every room. But it was also firm in holding fast to tradition when modernizing meant releasing excellence, such as maintaining elevator operators and handmade ice cubes until the quality could match that of human hands.
In addition to the Drake Hotel, the brothers also owned the Blackstone Hotel, which tied up the opposite end of Michigan Avenue. With these two popular establishments situated at critical points in the city, the Drakes successfully maintained the Drake dynastic reputation of being the highlight of social, commercial, and political arenas in Chicago. Until the Great Depression, the Drake Chicago remained in the hands of the Drake family, when they, too, succumbed to hard times. As the decades followed, the grand establishment passed into many different hands, stopping with the Hilton International acquisition, after which an entire renovation ensued for the next five years. It is now part of the Hilton Hotels Corporation and The Hilton Family of Hotels. Additions to the Drake Chicago include a state of the art fitness center, a conference center, a 24-hour business center, and executive rooms with a private lounge designated for guests of these rooms.
Today, guests of the Drake Hotel Chicago will enjoy a plethora of amenities and luxuries. Besides just staying in one of the finest rooms the city has to offer, the Drake Chicago invites guests to take pleasure in an entire experience with one of their signature packages, like American Girl Place Package, Shop ‘Til You Drop, All About Me and Mario Tricoci Spa Package, Bed & Breakfast, and Romantic Nights. Each of these packages is complete with accommodations and a selection of specialized amenities. Whether you plan to stay at the hotel or just go in for a look at the finery, the Drake invites all visitors to experience an English afternoon tea, a popular must-do on the list of things to do in Chicago.