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“Beautiful old hotel. But...” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Palmer House Hilton

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The Palmer House Hilton
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   17 East Monroe Street, Box 75845, Chicago, IL 60603 (The Loop)   |  
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Ranked #86 of 171 Hotels in Chicago
St. Louis
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Beautiful old hotel. But...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

Have stayed at this large historic hotel several times and my thoughts are always the same. The location can't be beat if you are there for business in The Loop, theater, The Art Institute, or Millennium Park. Or if you're fine with walking, cabs, or public transportation. This property has been updated and modernized. The public spaces are large and evoke another era. The company is paying for the renovations by price gouging for drinks, tea, etc. in the beautiful lobby, access to the fantastic fitness center, wireless internet, and the absence of coffee makers in guest rooms. (Fitness center and wireless internet access are complimentary for some or all levels of Hilton Honors.)

As to the rooms, they are adequate. While the furnishings are new, modern, and comfortable, the rooms are still fairly small and bathrooms are awful. I will never understand why high end properties can't provide 2-ply toilet paper that doesn't shred. And Kleenex brand tissues. Particularly in cold winter weather. Or extra towels. The bathroom door in our most recent room wouldn't stay open. This is a problem due to the small size and lack of exhaust fan. It is virtually impossible to have 2 people in the bathroom at the same time. And then there's the absence of a mini-fridge or coffee maker in the rooms. Really? In today's world I don't understand why at least the coffee makers weren't added in the renovations. We aren't going to pay $10 for a pot of coffee or throw on clothes to go up to the Executive Lounge to get that first cup.

We are Diamond Honors members and this room was supposedly an upgrade. If the property's best customers get rooms directly over the "L" tracks, and can still hear the train from their 20th floor room, imagine how loud it is on lower floors. Speaking of upgrades, there is the issue of the Executive Lounge. Due to low occupancy during the holidays, we were told that they upgraded as many guests as possible to the Executive Level with access to the lounge. This would be fine if the lounge were large enough to accommodate the increased number of guests. And if food and beverage were also adjusted accordingly. There were numerous families with young children up there. Wonderful. But not enough food or seats. While I was fine without any evening snacks, I want my breakfast. They ran out of food and coffee and we had to go around the corner and purchase our breakfast. That is unacceptable at any price point. Yes, they were practically giving away the rooms (about $100/night AAA rate) but that is a business choice. Compromising on service and amenities should not be a factor. But it was.

Will I stay here again? Probably. Due to the location and convenience to my husband's office. Will I be happy about it? Probably not.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HiltonPalmerHouse, Manager at The Palmer House Hilton, responded to this review, December 30, 2012
Dear Guest,

My apologies for the inconvenience, and for the trouble you experienced with the shortage of the executive level’s breakfast. Also, since you are a Diamond member—you receive a complimentary pot of coffee delivered to your room (just call In-room dining). Please feel free to contact me for any additional questions or concerns. Thank you for taking the time to share your review—we take our guest feedback into great consideration.

Thank you,
Dardan Mehmeti
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,777 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Louisville, KY
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

We went for a weekend trip so that some exchange students could experience Chicago at Christmas. I've stayed at the Palmer House before and enjoyed it, and this trip did not disappoint. The staff was as friendly and helpful as I remembered them being before. The lobby is just beautiful during the holiday season, they really decorate it nicely.

I found the concierge to be somewhat less than helpful this visit, but they've always been helpful in the past. The location of this really can't be beaten. Especially at Christmas time, there was so much to do and see within easy walking distance. We walked to Millennium Park, to Macy's (which is worth seeing even if you don't like to shop), took an $8 cab ride to Navy Pier. We walked to the Skywalk, which is a MUST SEE in Chicago. We found this hotel to be very conveniently located.

My only major criticism was that the breakfast area did not have nearly enough seating. Our party wasn't able to sit together, and two of the girls with us had to stand to eat. The scavenging for seats was really mercenary and made the meal stressful. Also, their oatmeal was awful! Like gruel you'd expect to see served in a Dickens novel. The offerings were pretty slim, but free is free.

My only minor criticism was that the pillows were really soft, and that was uncomfortable for me. But the girls in my room enjoyed them, so I guess you can't please everyone! Also, the girls complained that there was no free wi-fi in the room, and the free wi-fi in the lobby was spotty. I just used by 3G, so it didn't affect me.

I will definitely be back.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

The location is unbeatable for a night at the Symphony. Check-in was a breeze, the staff was friendly and the room was lovely. The executive floor amenities worked perfectly for us and as vegetarians we found a few options with the morning and evening service. Did not experience any noise problems, as a few others have mentioned. We will stay again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
62 hotel reviews
Reviews in 74 cities Reviews in 74 cities
116 helpful votes 116 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

The hotel is in a great location in downtown Chicago - very close to everything. My room was very comfortable and clean.

I'd agree with the other post that the walls can be thin - I listened to my neighbor's phone call though I really didn't want to. I could hear the L on the 13th floor, but that didn't bother me.

One thing that did bother me was that there's no free wi-fi in the rooms unless you're a silver/gold member of Hilton Honors. I've stayed at budget places that had free wi-fi so this seemed very stingy for a Hilton. There is free wi-fi in the lobby if you want to go down there.

The lobby has a beautiful ceiling and many people come in just to look at it.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

We just visited the Palmer House for a wedding, and it was beautiful! The hotel was amazing! We had the nicest room, with two bathrooms, and a great view. I could just on and on about the room, and food at the hotel. However I want to just say how wonderful the staff was. Every one we met seemed very committed to their job and took pride in making sure we had the best experience we could. There was a mix up with the reservation and the manager (James) came and helped us out in such a nice way. He was very understanding and made every thing right for us. I can't wait to visit again. This is my new favorite place to go. In fact I will make this hotel a destination. Thank you Palmer House for a wonderful time in Chicago.

Room Tip: Higher floor because of the train noise.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HiltonPalmerHouse, Manager at The Palmer House Hilton, responded to this review, December 28, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for sharing a review on the Palmer House. I’m delighted to hear you had a pleasant stay, and that the staff members were very helpful. We truly appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback, and we hope you will have an opportunity to visit again.

Happy Holidays,
Dardan Mehmeti
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego,Ca
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

We stayed on the executive floors and our suite was impeccable. I was traveling with my two well behaved goldendoodles and my son over the Christmas holiday. The cocktail hour on the floor is very nice and allowed us to meet other guests in a more intimate environment. We stayed for a week and we knew many people by the time we left. Of course, our dogs help make us popular wherever we go. We were within walking distance to many shopping and holiday events. The staff is amazing and even walked our dogs for us when we weren't able to return to our room in a timely manner. We love this grand older place. It will make you fall in love with Chicago as a city. So nice to be able to stay in a historic building that maintains its grandeur. Oh, and the prices are very reasonable for such a grand hotel.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

Great stay in this beautiful Hilton property in downton Chicago. Executive floors are exemplar of the early 20th century service & hospitality. Built in 1871, rebuilt in1879 after the Chicago fire, $170,000 million renovation by Hilton in mid-1990s, the historic character and charm has been retained .The lobby ceiling painting completed by a famous French artist remains the most photographed hotel lobby in the world. I've visited here over the last 45 years, and the historic interior and excellent food & service maintains that of eloquent hotels of the early 1900 which has hosted several presidents and foreign dignitaries. A great traveling investment to stay here!

Room Tip: Upgrade to executive level for most charm
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HiltonPalmerHouse, Manager at The Palmer House Hilton, responded to this review, December 27, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to share a review on the Palmer House—we truly appreciate your feedback. We hope you will have the opportunity to visit again.

Thank you,
Dardan Mehmeti
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Palmer House Hilton

Address: 17 East Monroe Street, Box 75845, Chicago, IL 60603
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > The Loop
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#22 Spa Hotel in Chicago
#43 Luxury Hotel in Chicago
#58 Family Hotel in Chicago
#68 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#82 Business Hotel in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — The Palmer House Hilton 4*
Number of rooms: 1640
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
North America’s most established hotel, the Palmer House Hilton first opened its doors in 1871 and has remained the place to "see and be seen" in downtown Chicago. We continue evolving to serve you with the latest conveniences and comforts in meetings, accommodations and dining - a hip and historic blend of modern nuances and Chicago cultural significance. Whether you’re holding a gala in the famed Empire Room or an intimate gathering in one of our hospitality suites, your event is sure to be a success. Here, you’ll be the host in the Chicago hotel that’s been the venue of choice for celebrities, politicians, and royalty for more than a century.When you come to the Palmer House Hilton, you don’t just stay here. You live here—even if it’s only for a night. That’s why all of our guest rooms and suites have just the right touches to make you feel right at home. You’ll sleep well on our Hilton Serenity Dream bed featuring a plush top mattress and crisp linens, lathering up with Peter Thomas Roth bath products, perceptual service and a full host of amenities to keeping you connected – from flat screen HD televisions, wired and wireless high-speed internet to alarm clocks with auxiliary ports, you’ll find everything you need to rest easy. Lockwood Restaurant, your Farm to Fork, AAA 4 Diamond destination open for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as afternoon tea. The Lobby Bar at Lockwood is a favorite for locals and travelers alike for craft beers and craft cocktails with Palmer House private reserves and labels. Potter’s is the hip spot to enjoy a retro mix of perfectly poured libations and delectable light fare while reminiscing about the hotel’s history. The hotel is walking distance to the Blue Line and the Orange Line “L” stations for quick transport to O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport, respectively. The Palmer House Hilton is steps to all the action along State Street including Macy’s, Nordstrom Rack, American Apparel, H&M, Block 37 Mall and the Chicago Theatre. The hotel is also a short walk to The Art Institute, Joffrey Ballet, Cadillac Theatre, Jeweler’s Row, Millennium Park, John G. Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and Adler Planetarium. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Palmer House Hilton Hotel Chicago
Hilton Hotel Chicago
Hilton Hotel Palmer
Palmer House Chicago
Chicago Palmer House Hilton
Palmer House Hilton Chicago
Palmer Hilton House
Hilton Chicago
Chicago Hilton

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