When traveling to a new place, which by the way, is my FAVORITE thing to do, I love to stay at unique and historical hotels. There is just something about staying at someplace with a history that is so mysterious and intriguing to me.
The hubby and I have been fortunate to stay in some great places during our travels. While in Memphis we stayed at he iconic Peabody Hotel (you know, the one with the ducks). While vacationing on Oahu we stayed at the Moana Surfrider, which was the very first hotel built on Waikiki Beach.
Even more locally we have stayed at some really interesting locations. In St. Louis we stayed at the Chase Park Plaza, which is an absolutely gorgeous hotel. While attending a concert in Tulsa Oklahoma we stayed at the Mayo Hotel, which has seen the likes of JFK and Elvis.
So it only makes sense that when choosing a hotel for our getaway to Chicago I would gravitate toward something with some character. If there is something that Chicago has it’s a colorful history so I had MANY places to choose from, but ended up deciding on the Drake.
While researching different hotels in the downtown Chicago area I used my favorite travel site, Priceline.com. I always start there because of the ease of navigating. I love using the filters to narrow down my search and I especially love their mobile app. How convenient to be able to bargain shop from anywhere at anytime?!?
On a little side note, when booking another trip recently by using the mobile app I was able to save 45%! And trust me, I was very skeptical, but when viewing the exact same hotel on the computer I found that, yes indeed, it really was that much savings.
But back to the hotel. I not only searched Priceline.com but also googled several key terms like Historic Chicago and Top Hotels in Chicago. One of the names that was consistently on every list I viewed was the Drake.
Visiting their website and viewing their photo gallery was what sealed the deal for me. Specifically the view of Lake Michigan. I’m a big lover of water, so while not a tropical ocean, it is still breathtaking.
When arriving at our hotel, located within a stones throw of all of the shopping along the Magnificent Mile, we were immediately caught up in all of the splendor of the holidays.
In addition to the giant Christmas tree in the lobby was an entire Gingerbread House Village complete with a train! I honestly had never seen anything like it before!
After we upgraded to a room with a view of Michigan Avenue and getting all unpacked we were ready to eat and decided to try out the hotels cocktail bar – Coq d’Or.
In addition to seriously the best cocktail mix I’d ever eaten, they also had a great menu to choose from. Plus, a little fun fact for you, this bar was the second establishment to be granted a liquor license in Chicago way back in the day.
The following morning we spent some time exploring our home away from home. It definitely has character and a deep sense of history in addition to being gorgeous. But I have to say the thing that most impressed me was the different window displays they had throughout the hotel.
But the display that was most impressive to me was tucked into a little alcove by the elevators on the ground floor and could have very easily been overlooked. I’m sooo glad I didn’t miss it!
Photos of some distinguished guests who have graced this hotel along with signed guest registers and copies of handwritten notes were displayed. But the one that I am still pinching myself about is the picture of Princess Diana.
Growing up I have very vivid memories of the courtship of England’s Rose and Prince Charles. Their amazing wedding, the births of her two handsome boys and the devastating news of her death were pivotal moments of my generation. Now with the recent announcement of Prince Harry’s engagement her legacy continues to live on and to think I stayed someplace she once visited is very special to me.
Not only had our hotel welcomed royalty in the past, it also gave me the opportunity to feel like a princess as well. One thing I’ve wanted to do for a very long time was to experience an authentic tea service. What little girl doesn’t love a good tea party?
The Palm Court is an elegant dining area that offers afternoon tea. This is truly special. There were all manners of people enjoying the ceremony. Little girls with their American Girl dolls, older women and even young couples all sipping tea and nibbling on finger sandwiches.
Later that evening we revisited the Palm Court after attending a basketball ball game. Every night they offer live music and dancing in addition to tasty cocktails and entrees. Needless to say were under-dressed compared to the couples in tuxedos and evening gowns but the wait staff treated us great just the same.
Our final morning we tried yet another one of the restaurants at our hotel. The Camellia Room offers a breakfast buffet along with great views of downtown Chicago and beautiful Christmas decorations.
Our stay at the Drake is something that I will never forget. It’s history, elegance and character exceeded my expectations. It just goes to show that not only the activities we have planned, but the place that we lay our head at night really can make our vacations that much more special. The hubby and I had so many special moments on this trip and we will just keep on collecting memories as we go.