The Hilton Chicago overlooks Grant Park in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. Located on Michigan Avenue, the grand hotel is one of the city’s largest. In addition to being a favorite among conventioneers, it holds the distinction of hosting every United States President since it opened in 1927 until President Barack Obama.
The building that houses the Hilton Chicago was completed in 1927 as the Stevens Hotel. Like the majority of hotels that opened at that time, the Stevens also closed because of the stock market crash. At its opening the impressive structure was the largest hotel in Chicago, featuring 3,000 guest rooms, a bowling alley, miniature golf course, and a movie theater, among other amenities.
After the hotel went bankrupt the government took the hotel. During World War II the U.S. Army bought the building and used it to house more than 10,000 Army Air Force cadets. After just two years they sold it to Stephen Healy in 1944, who turned around and sold it to Conrad Hilton in 1945.
Hilton changed the name of the hotel to Conrad Hilton. The hotel magnate used his considerable Hollywood and political connections to keep the hotel in the limelight. After a few decades, however, the building was showing its age. Instead of demolishing it they closed down for a year in 1984 for renovation. The rooms were increased in size, reducing the total number to 1,544. In 2013 Hilton Chicago completed another extensive renovation project that totaled over $3 billion in improvements.
Hilton Chicago offers a variety of room configurations. Standard rooms include flat-panel plasma TVs, safes, desks, wired and wireless high speed internet access and in-room touch-screen concierge access. The hotel also features Business Class and Executive Floor rooms, which both offer enhanced amenities for the business traveler. Executive Floor rooms even have their own elevators, an executive lounge, and dedicated concierge service. Junior Suites and Specialty Suites provide the utmost in spacious accommodations.
The hotel was originally designed as a city within a city and it continues to offer multiple amenities that ensure you never have to leave the building unless you want to. There is an extensive health and spa facility, as well as a beauty salon and barber shop, business center, currency exchange, and gift shop.
Part of the recent renovation was the addition of two dining options. 720 South Bar & Grill, named after the address of the hotel, offers traditional American cuisine with locally-sourced ingredients. Snax is a “grab and go” store with prepared items like salads, sandwiches, and desserts. This is a perfect place to pick up a picnic before crossing the street to Grant Park.
Kitty O’Sheas has been a standby at Hilton Chicago. The Irish pub attracts nearby residents as well as visitors with its warm decor and traditional Irish food and drink. It’s particularly popular with locals on St. Patrick’s Day.
The Hilton Chicago is one of the largest hotels in the city, appealing to both conventioneers and people visiting the city for vacation. It’s recent renovation will ensure that it continues to be one of the most popular hotels in Chicago for many years to come.
The most famous room in the Hilton Chicago is the Conrad Hilton Suite. This two-floor palace boasts three bedrooms, three balconies, a grand piano, a pool table, a grand salon with fireplace, and some of the best views in the city. The suite can be yours for just $10,000 a night.