The party started on New Year’s Eve 1920 and hasn’t stopped since. With event space for 600 guests overlooking Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyline, visitors can party like Great Gatsby along Chicago’s Gold Coast. The closest hotel to Oak Street Beach, the Drake is a gem in summer months. But for any time of the year, it boasts iconic dining rooms, elegantly appointed guest rooms and modern rec and business facilities. While you’re in town, experience the area’s best shopping just steps away at Water Tower Place and American Girl.
The Drake Hotel: Best for… History Buffs
Many Chicago hotels have a long history, but none are perhaps more illustrious than the Drake’s. The brainchild of famed architect Benjamin Howard Marshall, The Drake Hotel welcomed 2,000 of Chicago’s most prominent citizens to its opening party on New Year’s Eve 1920. From that day forward, it wasn’t surprising to see icons like Bin Crosby, Charles Linbergh, and Walt Disney enjoying a cocktail in the Gold Coast Room. The Cape Cod Room became a favorite for seafood in 1932, and newlyweds Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio carved their initials into its famous wooden counter just 20 years later. The Coq d’Or restaurant was the very first Chicago restaurant to serve alcohol after the end of prohibition—the day after the amendment was repealed in 1933.
The best part? Today’s hotel has preserved many of those traditions. Sip a timeless elixir at Coq d’Or, served up just like that happy day in 1933. Or, try the MM+JD benedict at Cafe on Oak, which pays homage to Monroe and DiMaggio’s favorite meal. Or, enjoy afternoon tea at the Palm Court, the same place where the Queen and Princess Diana have taken their tea. Appointed to Gilded Era standards, the hotel offers a timeless aesthetic and classic jazz performances in its iconic restaurants.
The Drake Hotel Amenities
Handsome guest rooms at the Drake include include one king, one queen, dual European Twin and a family room, which has one king-sized bed and a queen-size pullout sofa. All rooms feature a signature Hilton Serenity Bed, a 32-inch HDTV, and coffee service with complimentary coffee and tea. All rooms feature large picture windows, but you can upgrade to a Deluxe or Deluxe Plus room for the best views of Lake Michigan.
For even more luxurious accommodations, the hotel has 74 specialty suites, including the Princess Diana Suite where she stayed at the hotel in 1966. Or, splurge on an Executive room to gain access to the private Executive Lounge on the 11th floor. Perks also include a complimentary breakfast, hot and cold breakfast, and hors d’oeuvres right from your suite. Executive rooms also boast an upgraded bathroom with a scale, rain showerhead and bathrobe.
All guests can take advantage of the hotel’s state-of-the-art fitness center and modern business center. Business services include audio/visual equipment rental, express mail, fax, meeting rooms, photo copying service, a printer, a notary public and secretarial service. Families can also request cribs and high chairs or reserve the Hilton’s popular family package. There’s also an on-site florist, gift shop, and laundry/valet service at your fingertips.
The most luxe amenities at The Drake are its on-site dining options. Coq d’Or has been open since the day after Prohibition’s repeal in 1933, serving up classic cocktails, wines, beers and comfort food. There’s also the new and beachy breakfast nook at Cafe on Oak, serving up counter-side egg dishes like benedicts and skillets.
The Drake Hotel Location
The Drake is the closest hotel to Oak Street Beach and Lake Michigan, just one block away. So it offers an amazing summertime destination. In any season, soak up the waterfront views and nearby shopping on Magnificent Mile, which begins at the Drake Hotel’s shopping on the bottom level. Water Tower Place, 360 Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art are all just steps away.
Nearby hotels include the Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown, Raffaello Hotel, and The Talbott Hotel. The Drake Hotel is one of the higher-priced options, but it boasts impressive history and a four-star rating.
The Drake Hotel: The Verdict
The Drake may not be the cheapest place to stay near Magnificent Mile, but it does boast the closest location to Oak Street Beach. It’s other top-selling amenity is its impressive history, open since New Year’s Eve 1920. A century later, you can enjoy the same iconic dining, top-level service and jazz-era atmosphere of letting go that was celebrated then. If you decide not to splurge on a stay here, visiting the Coq d’Or restaurant and bar, the first to serve up alcohol after the repeal of prohibition in the city, is a must.