The Drake

[from the hotel's website] 

Conceptualized by famed architect Benjamin Howard Marshall, The Drake Hotel came to fruition when John B. Drake and Tracy Corey Drake financed the project in 1919. The doors of The Drake Hotel opened on New Year’s Eve the following year to 2,000 of Chicago’s most distinguished citizens.

Throughout the roaring twenties The Drake became high-society’s first choice in opulence. The Fountain Court, now known as the Palm Court, hosted Chicago's social elite daily for tea—a continuing tradition at The Drake. The popularity of the illustrious urban resort continued to rise well into the 1930s seemingly unaffected by the crash of 1929. Icons such as Bing Crosby, Walt Disney, George Gershwin, and Charles Lindberg could be seen sipping a cocktail and listening to Herbie Kay in The Gold Coast Room.

In 1933 the Cape Cod Room became Chicago’s first choice for fresh fish and seafood and the nation’s first themed restaurant. Twenty years later, seen laughing over drinks, newlyweds Marilyn Monroe and Joe Dimaggio would carve their iconic initials into the bar’s world famous wooden counter.

Also that year, on December 6th, The Coq d’Or opened to the favor of thirsty patrons eager to purchase a 40 cent whiskey at 8:30pm: the day and hour alcoholic prohibition was repealed. In the 1940s it became a local hangout for reporters, politicians, and even some notorious characters, though it never lost the true Chicago crowd.

This year marks the 80th Anniversary of both legendary venues. Celebrations will commence this fall.

While The Drake Hotel thrived in an era of economic downfall the Drake brothers were not so lucky. In 1937 they were forced to sell to The Kirkeby Brothers chain. This turnover marked an absolute change in The Drake’s path toward landmark status.

In 1940, The Drake sign was illuminated solidifying the hotel’s rightful place in the most internationally recognized skyline. The 40s proved to be a decade of colossal change, both at The Drake and around the world. The Palm Court changed seasonally to accommodate the changing palate of the sophisticated patrons. In the winter, to set the holiday tone, the fountain was replaced with a 2,000-pound fireplace. In the summer, to get the cool lake breeze, the ceiling was open and the fountain was filled with fresh water.

Throughout the 50s and 60s the political and social climate of Chicago was evolving and The Drake was inclined to develop alongside the city. By the 1970s the John Hancock Center towered over The Drake, providing a frame of evolution for the half-century hotel.

In 1980 Hilton International acquired The Drake Hotel and restored it to its former glory. The Drake Hotel guests see today provides the grandeur of the past and accommodations fitting for today’s high society.

Though The Drake has progressed both architecturally and technologically, the roots of The Drake Hotel run deep beneath Lake Shore Drive into Real Chicago.

The Drake's ballroom
HOTEL SERVICES & AMENITIES - The Drake Hotel, built as the nation’s
first urban resort, is the leader in luxury, rightly situated at the top of the Magnificent Mile. Magnetized as a lavish property designed for opulence and desire we encourage our guests to indulge themselves in any of our plentiful amenities.
  • Every one of our 535 non-smoking rooms are equipped with wireless high-speed internet, a dual line speakerphone with caller ID, an in-room safe, individual climate control and a HDTV flat screen with premium movie channels. We provide room service, express checkout and anything else you would desire at the touch of a button.
  • The Drake Hotel boasts 33,657 square feet of media ready event space including four major public banquet and conference areas and 14 smaller meeting rooms. We also host wireless hot spots on our second floor social areas: The Drake Bros., Palm Court and Gold Coast Foyer. Executive guests are welcome to either of our two luxurious boardrooms and the private lounge.
  • All guests will have access to our state-of-the-art Gold Coast Equinox exercise facility that features a deluxe spa, sun-soaked pool, personal trainers and group fitness. Alternatively, or in conjunction with Equinox, guests can enjoy our in-house 3000 square foot fitness center. Here we feature PRECOR endurance equipment, strengthening and cardio machines, free weights, and plasma televisions.
  • The one-of-a-kind Drake Arcade features only the finest vendors’ classic elegance and design: Chanel, George Jensen, Kamp Galleries, Mangel Florist and Travel Traders.
  • Our multitude of renowned restaurants include the celebrated Coq d’Or, posh Palm Court, distinguished Drake Bros.’ and of course The Cape Cod Room where Joe DiMaggio and new wife Marilyn Monroe carved their initials into the bar still to be seen today. We are also pleased to host Chicago’s elite membership-only establishment: Club International.
  • Transportation to and from The Drake and within the city is a breeze with The Drake’s dedicated doormen. All major city transportation facilities serve the hotel. Frequent limousine, taxi and bus services are available to and from all airports and train stations. We also provide on-site valet parking or, if preferred, self-park.

Tea at The Drake
GOLD COAST - The Gold Coast of Chicago, formerly known as the Astor Street District, has been the center for Chicago’s proper society for over a hundred years. Upscale boutiques frame the historic tree lined streets of the Gold Coast.

Developed in the wake of the Great Chicago Fire, millionaire Potter Palmer urbanized the marshland that would later become the Gold Coast. A trendsetter of his time, Palmer was followed into the district by Chicagoland’s most wealthy residents. Over a hundred years later the Gold Coast and neighboring Streeterville remain one of the most affluent districts in the country, second only to Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Registered as a National Historic Place, the Gold Coast remains a district of riches with a plethora of chic shops and elegant eateries. Cultural attractions in the area include Museum Campus (Adler Planetarium, The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium), Lincoln Park Zoo, Navy Pier, The Art Institute, and the Steppenwolf and Lookingglass Theaters.