< UNITED STATES | CHICAGO: Hilton Chicago
Located on South Michigan Avenue and overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan, the Hilton Chicago hotel opened in 1927, and has served as one of the city’s most revered addresses ever since. Originally known as the Steven’s Hotel, it was designed by the firm of Holabird & Root, in the Beaux-Arts architecture style.
When the hotel opened on May 2nd, 1927, it was the world’s largest hotel, featuring 3,000 guest rooms each with private bath, a barber shop, children’s fantasyland, pharmacy, bowling alley and 1,200 seat
theater. So exciting was the opening of the hotel that the Vice-President of the United States, Charles Dawes, traveled from Washington D.C to become the first registered guest.
One of its most novel features at the time was the Hi-Ho Golf Club located on the roof, 300 feet above Michigan Avenue. The club was a full 18 hole miniature golf course. Greens fees were approximately 35 cents for the first round and 20 cents for each additional round. The club was open until 12:30 AM every day and a brochure for the course stated “powerful illumination make night viewing a pleasure.” Directions to the club were simply “take an elevator to the roof.”
During World War II, the hotel was owned by the United States government and operated as a Technical Training School for the Army Air Force. Over 10,000 cadets slept four to a room while they trained across the street in Grant Park and on Lake Michigan.
The hotel hosted celebrities, heads of state, royalty and millions more. When Queen Elizabeth II came to Chicago in 1959 for the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, a banquet hosted in her honor took place in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom. Her visit was so exciting for residents in and around Chicago that over 3 million people came to welcome her fleet of ships as they pulled up to the shores of Lake Michigan.
Upon purchasing the hotel in 1946, Conrad Hilton’s mission was very clear, to make it not only the world’s largest hotel, but also the friendliest.
With the completion of a $150 million renovation in 2016, the Hilton Chicago is poised to meet the needs of the modern day traveler with completely redesigned guest rooms, public space and meeting space.
#Robert V. Allegrini: Chicago's Grand Hotels: The Palmer House, The Drake, and The Hilton Chicago
Arcadia Publishing, 2005 | ISBN-10: 0738539546; ISBN-13: 978-0738539546
English language | 144 pages | Paperback
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