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“Great old hotel, beautiful, but needs a little upgrading”

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Palmer House A Hilton Hotel
Ranked #103 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed February 9, 2011

The Palmer House is an historic hotel located in the center of the downtown loop area. It is a block from the art museum, park on the lake and very close to most major downtown theatres, greek town, and the Golden Mile. It is a grand beautiful old hotel with a magnificent lobby. The service is fantastic. Philippe at the concierge desk couldn’t have been more helpful, and my check in attendant was equally wonderful. The rooms could use upgrading to join the rest of the hotels in the 21st century, like flat screen tv's and wireless telephones.

The room was great. Although, I must say, in our party of three, the sizes of the rooms varies, so ask for a big room. One of our party was in a room so small they could barely get their suitcase in, but my room was huge, with a hallway to the bathroom. As a Hilton Honors member, I received free internet discounted gym entrance and the opportunity to partake of the free breakfast and happy hour snacks every day. I am HH Gold.

The room was nicely decorated and the bed was very comfortable. The TV is not even a flat screen old style. It is a relic, and sat far from my bed, making it tough to see. There was no coffee maker, but they are available upon request. The room safe was big enough for the largest of computers. There are very nice amenities in the bathroom. Water pressure was perfect and the water was hot.

The downside of this hotel is the extra charge situation. Everything costs extra. There is no mini-bar because they want you to order from room service. Coffee is $8 plus $2 delivery charge and 21% service charge, plus tax. The gym is $10, internet starts at $14.99 for a few hours and $19.99 for a day. A scotch in the bar was $17 with tax and tip. There are plenty of places to eat in the neighborhood like Au Bon Pain which has a great lunch. You can watch your favorite TV show if you missed its initial run for $4.99 and movies are available at a much higher cost.

I highly recommend the Palmer House Hilton. It’s a wonderful old hotel, just watch your wallet!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled on business
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1  Thank Mikestages
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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7,770 - 7,776 of 9,349 reviews

Reviewed February 8, 2011

The Palmer House is a beautiful hotel. From the lobby, to the elevators, to the rooms and the historical drawings, paintings and photographs everywhere, I don't have one bad thing to say.

My husband and I walked from the train station with no trouble at all. The El and the buses right outside the door took us all over to the various sights we wanted to see. An easy walk to the theatre to see Wicked too.

We walked over to Millenium Park and then up the Michigan Mile to the John Hancock Building. The Palmer House is so centrally located that no walk was too far. We walked to the Sears Tower (now called Willis) and to Giordanos for deep dish pizza.

I give it a 10 out of 10 and will stay there again. The service was great, the hotel employees were friendly everywhere throughout the hotel and the only slightly negative thing was the cost of drinks at the lobby bar but that can be said for most hotels.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank LauraHasulo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2011

We stayed in an executive suite on the 22nd floor. This room was spacious, and clean. The hotel was very quiet for being downtown. Along with staying on the 22nd floor, we were allowed to visit the executive lounge on the 23rd floor. All the food and non alcoholic drinks were complimentary, and they had breakfast too. I would definitely recommend this hotel, no matter what room you stay in. And make sure you visit the other floors of the hotel. The architecture is amazing.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank electrical_steve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2011

Hotel is well located in downtown with an amazing lobby . Good service at reception . Rooms are not too big but clean.
There are many restaurants outside the hotel but nice to take a drink in the lobby.
Just upset by wifi access price , absolutely too high for a business hotel.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled on business
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Thank fredtravel92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2011

Hats Off to the Palmer House during the Great Chicago Blizzard of February 2011!

I arrived in Chicago from St. Paul via Amtrak about 8:00 PM last Tuesday evening, the night of the 3rd worst blizzard in Chicago history. I live only 50 NW of Chicago and thought I could make it home via Metra Commuter Rail. However, that was not to be the case. I was able to board an 8:30 Metra train but by 10:30 PM that train had not left the station and the conductor was unsure if it would ever leave that evening. Knowing that the storm was increasingly worse, I called my husband who assured me that even if I arrived home at my destination, he would not be able to navigate the streets by car to get to the train station to pick me up. I was essentially stranded.

(Fortunately about 4:00 pm while on my Amtrak train I had made a hotel reservation at the Palmer House thanks to laptop computer and satellite uplink and Priceline.com). The Palmer House was about 10 blocks from the train station and given that I could not definitely get home, I decided to catch a cab to the hotel and wait out the storm in Chicago. However after leaving my stranded train and going to the station entrance I was horrified to find absolutely NO cabs on the street. I couldn’t believe I was in Chicago with no cabs whatsoever. The streets were empty of any traffic car or foot. With the amount of fallen snow, the wind clocking at best at 30 mph and up to 60 mph and the fantastic electrical storm, there was no way I could walk the 10 blocks with backpack and suitcase to the hotel. What to do?

I put on my best thinking cap and said to myself that there must be a way out of this…..I called the Palmer House, told them I had a reservation, but had no way of getting to the hotel from the train station. I asked them if they had cabs at the hotel (certainly there must be at least one cab???). I talked with the front desk who transferred me to the bellman….no cabs…..I pleaded my case, isn’t there anyway to get to the hotel? The bellman thought that perhaps the valet might be able to help and transferred me to the valet…..who said, “Can you hold on a couple of minutes while we try to think of a solution? I said of course (I wasn’t going anywhere!). When the valet got back on the line he asked “Would you mind if one of our valets picks you up in his own car?” Would I mind???? Heck no….We made our arrangements….he would be in a blue Ford Explorer, I would wait at the station entrance on Madison.

The weather situation had really deteriorated fast in the past two hours. NO CABS still!!! (well, I take that back I saw one with a passenger, but for Chicago, that translates into NO CABS). The valet pulled up about 15 minutes later…… I ran out, he ran up to me, he grabbed my bags, took my hand and escorted me, like a knight in shining armor, through the snow drifts now way over a foot.

Tucked into the Explorer (NOT a four-wheel drive, however), we found that we were stuck!!!! After a few automotive gymnastics we made it out and continued very slowly around the block and up the 10 blocks or so to the hotel…..a police car was sliding sideways up the street (I knew it was really bad then), the one cab that I had seen earlier was sliding sideways up the street, the Explorer was sliding, and then we got stuck again trying to get around the sliding cab…..a safety patrol vehicle drove by and gave my Explorer valet driver some encouragement, and we got on our way once more…..I made it to the hotel and gave the valet a HUGE tip (although he tried to return it), and everyone at the hotel gushed all over me when I arrived safe and sound. I checked into my room about 11:30 pm, ordered room service, called hubby, my sisters on the west coast, and then enjoyed my room service of a delicious bowl of warm soup, tray of cheese and hot green tea and had an absolutely delightful sleep! (By the way, the valet’s name is Jesus…..can you imagine…..how appropriate…..Jesus came to save me that horrible night!). The Palmer House is going to get a REALLY, REALLY great review from me on Trip Advisor. Thanks to all the team at the Palmer House for their on-the-spot, great decision making, hospitality and ultimately their courage, especially Jesus, that really saved me. And by the way, the room was UBER gorgeous at a ridiculously low price!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled on business
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Thank Crayola48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2011

Weekends on concierge floor are chaotic, like black friday shopping. Many people scarfing down free food are not legitimate guests. During the week the place is very nice and worth the $39 bump up cost.
Hotel in general is past prime but still American regal. Concierge staff were shining stars of the establishment. Front desk personnel can be inconsistent, some were brusk and condescending, offering misinformation and unwilling to recognize/ dismissive of concerns about weekend concierge floor conditions.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled on business
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Thank buffy18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2011

Stayed at the Palmer House for one night on a recent trip to Chicago. As a HHonors Gold member, I was uncertain of what to expect, however found the hotel to be clean and the staff friendly. I was upgraded to a larger king room on the executive floor. The room was spacious and clean. The offerings in the executive lounge were above average. All the staff I encountered were friendly. The food at Potter's Lounge was good.

I would not hesitate to stay here again, especially for the bargain prices you can find during the winter months.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled solo
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Thank manktripguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Palmer House A Hilton Hotel

Address: 17 East Monroe Street, Box 75845, Chicago, IL 60603-5608
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Downtown / 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:
#26 Spa Hotel in Chicago
#32 Green Hotel in Chicago
#55 Family Hotel in Chicago
#62 Luxury Hotel in Chicago
#71 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#75 Business Hotel in Chicago
Price Range: $102 - $348 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Palmer House A Hilton Hotel 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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