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“Grande Dame of Chicago Hotels”
Review of The Drake Hotel

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The Drake Hotel
Ranked #78 of 189 Hotels in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
64 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Grande Dame of Chicago Hotels”
Reviewed March 19, 2009

My daughter and I spend 2 days at the Drake in Chicago. What a fantastic hotel. I was surprised when it came up on the bidding site particularly at the rate I bid. Check the bidding for travel sites for more info. Arrived and parked across just across Michigan Ave, for $27 for 24 hours, and checked in, hotel valet is very expensive as is standard at this level hotel in Chicago. The self park is $35. Go across the street Front desk staff moved us into a two twin bed room on a refurbished floor and were generally friendly and helpful. The lobby is phenomenal, a piece of another age. The room was more pedestrian, It faced Walton Pl and was on the small side, not tiny, just small. We had a huge flat panel tv and an internet connection ($12.95/day) but there is wireless from somewhere else for $9.95 a day if you are a cheapskate. Beds were comfy, and the bathroom small but the shower was divine! Just the ticket after a long cold walk on Michigan ave. We did not eat at the hotel, as there are many options close up on Rush and State streets. Great place for breakfast is the Original Pancake House. Bell staff kept our bags efficiently after we checked out. Overall a great stay at a great hotel.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank koho1954
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Detroit, MI
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 19, 2009

I'll start with the good things: The bed was very comfortable. The room was very clean. The bathtub was outdated, but large. The lobby was beautiful, and the bar was good.

And now the bad: The room was a shoebox, and based on the floorplan stuck to the bathroom wall (fire routes), it was easy to see we had the smallest room on the floor. We asked for 1 King bed, and got 1 Queen bed. The bed had only a fitted sheet and a duvet - no top sheet, no blanket. Fortunately, we managed to find a bag in the closet containing the missing sheet and blanket. Unfortunately, we really didn't need it, as the thermostat seemed to be broken and the room was sweltering all night. After supposedly having it fixed for our second night, I once again woke up in the middle of the night and had to go sit in the hallway to cool down.

We also requested early check-in if available, and while I didn't mind the $25 fee for this, it would have been nice to know in advanced when I requested it instead of being notified upon check-in.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank rosewalker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
53 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2009

My wife and I stayed at the Drake over a weekend in February. There were some very good aspects, and some very disappointing ones.

First, the good ones:
-We had a room on the 10th floor overlooking Lake Michigan. It was a beautiful view!
-The room was large and nicely furnished.
-The Drake Brothers restaurant was excellent for breakfast - great food and great service. And we got a $30 per person voucher for being Diamond members. (Yes, you do need the whole $30 each!)
-The location of the hotel is great. In addition to the view, you can easily walk to many shops and restaurants. You don't need a car to experience this part of Chicago. We took a cab from the airport ($25). After our two days at the Drake, we simply walked across the street to the Hertz location at the Westin and rented a car for the rest of our trip. That allowed us to avoid the $50 per day parking fee.
-There are several great shops in the hotel. The Mangel Florist shop provided a small bouqet of beautiful red roses for only $25. There was an art gallery with beautiful paintings and a very freindly owner. Don't miss the Lavazza Coffee Shop in the shopping area of the hotel - great coffee, super friendly service (translated: not snooty - see below), awesome sandwiches, and a relaxing atmosphere.

And now the disappointments:
-The executive lounge is closed until "late March" due to "lack of business". So definitely don't pay extra for a room on the executive floor hoping to use the lounge. As noted above, the substitute breakfast vouchers work well for breakfast. But check your bill - we were charged for breakfast the first day.
-The lobby area is undergoing renovations and much of it is covered with scaffolding and giant sheets of plastic. I notice that's disclosed on their website now, but wasn't when I made my reservation.
-The Palm Court Lounge was a disappointment on Saturday afternoon. We did not feel welcome at all and the staff was quite snooty. We got up and left and had a wonderful time in the Lavazza Coffee Shop. I'd recommend the same choice for others.
-Check your bill closely. We were charged for breakfast one day when it should have been free, and were also charged for some mini-bar items. And that was before I even realized there was a mini bar.
-The bathroom was small and in need of updating. I guess at the end of the day, an old hotel is still an old hotel.

While I'm glad we had the experience of staying in this landmark hotel, we probably won't be back.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Calif0rnia_traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
44 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2009

Stayed at The Drake at the end of a business trip. It was fantastic! Located in downtown Chicago just 1 block away from the John Hancock Building next to Lake Michigan. You could see the beauty of the hotel even though a large part of it was being restored to it's 1920s glory. The staff were extremely friendly, knowledgeable & nice. The rooms were fantastic & beautiful! A regular room is like a mini suite! The bed was comfortable too. I need to come back here once the hotel is completely restored. I would recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank blondy3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
123 reviews
90 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2009

Stayed at the Drake just for the weekend for a quick getaway in Chicago knowing that the weather would be horrible (snow & cold).

Check in went great. Due to low occupancy, front desk gave us a free ugprade to the executive level. Normally this gives you access to the executive lounge for cocktails and breakfast, however due to the low occupancy rate, the lounge was closed. I did ask if there was anything else we could get instead and the front desk gladly gave us two free breakfasts at Drake Brothers. Pretty good deal so far!

Room was great. Very large with four closets! We couldn't remember where we put everything we brought.

All the restaurants at the Drake are very nice. Cape Cod Room is our favorite for seafood. Drake Brothers is a steakhouse, however, they do have a very nice breakfast buffet. Coq D'Or is their small lounge/restaurant where we had lunch. It was very good also. The Palm Court is their other "bar" however is also the tea room. They have afternoon tea while a harp plays. It is always very crowded. We went in the evening where they have jazz and it had loads of dancers and was quite crowded also.

That evening we decided to try the new Trader Vics which has just opened up after being closed for two years, prior at the Palmer House Hotel. It is just a three block walk from the Drake by Rush St. It was pretty good, however, service was spotty and the food was just so-so. That being said they have a great lounge serving fabulous Mai-Tai's so it is good for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres for sure!

We have stayed at the Drake previously and always love their ambiance and great service along with excellent gold coast location. I would recommend it to all looking for an upscale lodging offering good restaurants and service.

  • Liked — Location, Service, Luxury
  • Disliked — Executive Lounge was Closed
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank TravelNut70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 25, 2009

Booked our stay at the Drake on Hotwire, so I didn't know we were staying here until after I'd paid (got an excellent deal, though - over 60% off the going discount rate). I was a bit skeptical about it after reading through the reviews, but thanks to you all, knew the potential pitfalls.

When we checked in, I asked for a room on a renovated floor. The clerk asked me if I wanted one bed or two, and I asked for one. As she's figuring out which room to put us in, she says, "Oh, well, you're not only getting a renovated room, you'll be the first people to stay in it." We also got upgraded to a lake view room. No complaints there! The front desk staff was very polite on the several occasions we visited them.

As stated in a lot of the other reviews, the concierge staff was extremely helpful as well. They booked our dinner reservation as well as helping us get two spa appointments at the same time on a Saturday morning with only a couple hour's notice!

My only complaint is about the parking - it's valet-only, and it's expensive. Just be aware of that if you're driving in. We stayed for one night, and the parking charge was $48! Your best bet would be to find a self-park garage in the area - realistically, you shouldn't pay more than $30 per day to park, so at the very least, you're saving almost $20, if not more.

Still, it's a great location, right on Michigan Avenue, near all the shopping, you're within walking distance of the Rush St. nightlife, and when the weather's nice, you're right across the street from the beach and the lakeshore. Definitely glad we stayed here. Would stay here again!

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Expensive parking
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank spooks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2009

We stayed here over the New Year period 2008/9 and experienced their New Year Ball, a lovely black tie event. The hotel service was excellent and the elegance and age was just what we hoped for. Its location is also superb for a stay in the city. We walked everywhere and no walk was too long.

Our room faced the front (South) which was fine if uninspiring though the rooms facing North offer spectacular views of the 'coast'. I found the hotels bar ordinary and expensive, there are better ones just around the corner! Try the 'Grill on The Alley' for a great meal and a wonderful bar.

I believe there is a major refurb planned for Feb 2009.

Stayed December 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank Hambafrika
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Drake Hotel

Property: The Drake Hotel
Address: 140 E. Walton Place, Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL 60611-1501
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Illinois > Chicago > Magnificent Mile , Near North Side
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#35 Romantic Hotel in Chicago
#39 Family Hotel in Chicago
#49 Business Hotel in Chicago
#49 Luxury Hotel in Chicago
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Drake Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 535
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
No other Chicago hotel has inspired more legendary acclaim on par with The Drake. This timeless property affords guests easy access to the city's most exclusive shopping, nightlife and dining.A fully equipped fitness/wellness center, business center and meeting rooms are available (surcharge). The stunning Gold Coast Room can accommodate 600 guests.Afternoon Tea at The Drake Hotel is as Chicago as a hot dog at Wrigley Field or a ride on the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier. High society has always recognized The Drake Hotel as the quintessential social hotspot. Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth and the Empress of Japan have all been seen in the Palm Court.Though The Drake has progressed both architecturally and technologically over the past 93 years, the roots of The Drake Hotel run deep beneath Lake Shore Drive into Real Chicago. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Drake Hotel Chicago
Hilton Hotels Chicago
Chicago Drake Hotel
Drake Hotel Chicago

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