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“Really Nice - for Pets?” 4 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 (Downtown / The Loop)   |  
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Ranked #86 of 177 Hotels in Chicago
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Thousand Oaks, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Really Nice - for Pets?”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

OK, let’s get the bad out of the way – there IS a lot of good for the Palmer; read on.

My wife and I were part of a group of 20 or so that attended a wedding in nearby Springfield over the Holiday weekend, took a train into Chicago and arrived late afternoon. Checked in, dropped our bags in our rooms and went to dinner. Got back and basically went to bed. Next morning, starting to organize things and getting ready for our first Go Chicago tour, I felt something squishy under my foot. Surprise! Dog Poop!!! Found several other “treasures” fully intact out of the normal traffic path in the room. Turns out that The Palmer House is a “pet-friendly” hotel, something none in our group were aware of. I guess it’s a policy going back many decades accommodating famous (and not so famous) guests and their pets. Fine. We notified hotel staff and were moved to a really nice room – same rate. But we almost missed our planned tour with the rest of our group. And happened to notice another “treasure” in the hallway along the way…

This isn’t altogether the hotel’s fault. How housekeeping managed to clean our room missing the poop is a bit of mystery. But, pet owners need to be responsible for their animals – my wife and I are for ours. I could go on, however, suggestion for the hotel management of today. Maybe only have pet-friendly areas (floors/rooms) that have coarse sand or kitty litter for flooring in the rooms and hallways, instead of the nice, plush carpeting in the hallways and dark brown carpeting in the rooms that hide many ills. (I found many stains on ours looking closely with a flashlight before we vacated our first room.) Perhaps offer a pet service for guests that can’t or won’t take responsibility for their pets. And a surcharge for pet-guest rooms and have a staff person personally check out a pet room before releasing it to operations for next guests. When we checked out, I discovered that while I had changed our flights for a day earlier, I apparently forgot to change our last night at The Palmer. Finally negotiated to a $50 “early checkout fee”. By the way, the basic rooms and especially bathrooms are quite small, similar to a river cruise room.

Now the good. The Palmer House is what I would call THE Grand Dame of Hotels for Chicago, going back to the 1870’s in it’s current form. The original was destroyed in the great fire shortly after being built. It has served a number of dignitaries and famous people over the decades. The hotel has undergone a major restoration over the last 7 or so years at a substantial cost (around $160+ million), and it shows. The rooms, although small, have been re-done, new sinks, bathrooms, beds, wall coverings etc. They managed to retain the original flooring in most bathrooms it appears (granite?) Our first night we happened upon a bartender in the main lobby and while serving us and even though her shift was over, she shared some history. S (didn’t write down her name) has been at The Palmer for 13+ years, and if the hotel were a museum (and in a way it is) she could be it’s curator, or at least a lead docent. The lobby is exquisite, the ceiling is reminiscent of the Vatican in Rome – restoration finished last year. The restored Tiffany fixtures adorning the walls and staircase are magnificent. The original marble floor has been exposed and polished, although damaged from nails having been carpeted over for many years. Staff is generally helpful and friendly, the Freshii and Starbucks are great for a quick start in the morning.

Bottom line, do go to the Palmer House at least for drinks and check out the grand lobby. And If you do stay, it’s a great location, central to a lot of sights and restaurants. But be sure to bring a flashlight and pooper-scooper

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5,619 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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Martin, SD
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

We wanted an affordable place near millenium park and got it. There's a cvs right across the street and a great juice bar in hotel.
Beautiful decor although our room could have used a fridge. Also despite great location, there's no view of city. Totally fine though, overall we were pleased! Actually wound up staying an extra night!

Stayed July 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
226 reviews 226 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

Got a very good deal for the first week in July. Cannot beat the location. close to major attractions at Lakefront, Michigan Ave, the Loop. Hop on the El to go elsewhere in Chicago.
room was spacious and bed was very good. Parking is steep at $42/night but palatable with room rate. the lobby is something special and worth the visit even if you do not stay there. In room wifi at $10 is a bit over the top but they have computers and printers off the lobby for use. Pet friendly

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toledo, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

Let me preface this by saying that this is the third time I have stayed at the Palmer House Hilton. My first two experiences were significantly better than the last. We checked in on Friday and were able to check in early without hassle (always a plus) and given a larger room than my previous stays as well. The room appeared to be clean and spacious with a sitting area in addition to two double beds. However, all of this becomes insignificant during our first night's sleep. I was traveling with my brother, and I wake up at 6 am to hear him climbing out of his bed. I see he has his phone flashlight on and asked him what was going on and he replies that there was a cockroach crawling on him. Thinking he was probably dreaming, I flipped on the bedside light and got up to see a large cockroach under his pillow. I immediately called the front desk, and they offered to have housekeeping come up to change the linens. I let them know that we would prefer a room change all together (who knows how many more there were!) They obliged and said they would send a bellman up to move us. In the meantime, we re-packed all of our things and then we were able to trap the sucker under a glass as we wanted to be sure we had proof (see picture). We showed the bellman and he casually squished it with a tissue and flushed it down the toilet. We were moved to the top floor and given a note that said we would also receive free breakfast and appetizers on the executive floor in our new room. We got to the new room and it was considerably smaller than our previous room, but appeared clean and bug free so we attempted to go back to sleep for a little while (after taking showers). It was extremely difficult to sleep the following night as well even after I took a flashlight under the beds (bad idea if you're a clean freak...they were disgusting, but at least no bugs). Upon checkout I went to the front desk and politely explained the issue, armed with the picture that I had on my phone as well. The clerk didn't want to look at the picture and said that we had been moved to the top floor and given the breakfast/appetizers (which we weren't able to take advantage of due to other plans). I said I understood, but because I was forced up in the middle of the night and made to re-pack bags, etc. I thought there was something else they might be able to do and asked to speak with a manager to explain the situation. The clerk then disappeared behind a curtain and returned 5+ minutes later to say the manager was prepared to offer one free day of valet parking. I explained that I really thought that the first night's stay should be compensated as our entire stay was disturbed. He clicked about 50 times on the computer and after about a minute of silence said "he guessed" they could do that. I wish I would have been able to talk to a manager directly, and I certainly don't think I should have had to "beg" for one night to be compensated based on our experience. It could have been handled much better especially because I don't think my request was unreasonable, and I was completely calm and respectful when I explained the situation. I know that it is not the clerk's fault, but I am a little annoyed a manager didn't even have the courtesy to come out and speak to me in person and tried to wiggle out of simply compensating one night of our stay that was disturbed due to their pest infestation. I will definitely not be returning and would encourage others to explore the many other options for a hotel stay in Chicago.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
npyles, Manager at The Palmer House Hilton, responded to this review, July 11, 2014
We are deeply sorry to hear of your experience while staying with us. We understand why would decide not to stay with us and try to influence others to do the same, and respect that decision based off your recent experience at our property. While compensation was offered for the encounter we, like you, would have preferred it to have never happened in the first place.

It is important for the reader to know that we do not take “pest infestations” or pest complaints lightly. While this particular interaction did occur at our hotel, it is important to know that we regret the way that this problem was addressed and have used, and will continue to use this particular interaction to better train our staff in the future. It is also important to note that our hotel does not have a “pest infestation” and that when we are properly notified of any such activity or claim we address it urgency and thoroughness.


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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Beach, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

The Palmer House is a beautiful Chicago hotel, well located within walking distance to Millenium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, the theater district, and many other attractions. Rooms are comfortably large, with large windows and high ceilings. The services are tops, the lobby is gorgeous and always full of activity. We had a great time.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Hilton Hotels & Resorts

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newbury Park, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

Love the hotel and the room except for one thing, the toilet paper holder was in the way of sitting down on the toilet. So, you have to be a contortionist to use it. In-room WiFi is $13/night which seems excessive, but not unusual for downtown hotels. It bothered me I had to run down to Starbucks for the connection.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange County
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

This hotel has so much potential, but the staff are terrible at their jobs.

I had the worst experience at this hotel. Our stay was a huge mess.

After reading some reviews on tripadvisor and seeing the beautiful lobby, we decided to give this hotel a try.

A month before our stay, we contacted the hotel and told them we were arriving late around 1:00am. We wanted to make sure a room will be available for us. We planned our business trip through an airlines travel package. They said everything is perfect.

Once we arrived at the hotel, the clerk was a grumpy old man. He was very rude and not helpful. We went up to our room and it was the worlds tinniest hotel room. It was a prison cell. It was literally the size of my walk-in closet. We went down stairs to complain, and the man said it was the only room available. The hotel was completely booked. The room was meant to be an extension of another main room for kids. We explained that we contacted the hotel a month in advance to let them know we were arriving late. He didnt care. He said that what happens when you dont reserve a room through them.

We asked to see a manager, and he stated the manager wont be in until 7am. We told him we will wait in the lobby until 7am. He laughed at us, and I said "i dont think this is funny at all". My girlfriend is claustrophobic, so the room was way too tiny for her. He finally gave us a different room. We finally made it up to our new room around 2:00am. There were pubic hairs on the bathroom towels. It was disgusting. The room was very dated and falling apart.

My girlfriend went to her business meeting in the morning and told her fellow business partners about the accommodations at this hotel. It turns out her business partner had high up connections in the Hilton organization. His friend placed a phone call to hotel management. We were immediately moved to a better room.

If we didnt have the connections, then they would had continued to treat us badly. It was a terrible experience.

Room Tip: Ask for the modern room. Do not settle for the tiny room. Demand another room or leave the hotel
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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 > Downtown / The Loop
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:
#20 Spa Hotel in Chicago
#24 Green Hotel in Chicago
#43 Luxury Hotel in Chicago
#49 Family Hotel in Chicago
#69 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#73 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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