American historical past, from the glamorous to the infamous, converges at Chicago’s Blackstone Lodge. Centrally situated on Michigan Avenue in South Loop overlooking Grant Park and the waterfront, you’ll get all the luxurious environment and plush facilities you count on from an upscale lodge, plus some spectacular views you gained’t get anyplace else. (Sizzling tip: there’s no higher place to look at the motion when NASCAR is on the town.)
Company are well-rewarded for searching for out the lodge’s wealth of historical past, which is assured to impress. However if you happen to’re rooted firmly within the modern world, concern not — there are ample alternatives to superstar spot and pattern Chicago’s eating places and nightlife. Right here’s what to learn about one in every of Chicago’s most storied inns, with ideas from the Blackstone’s concierge, Lucy Camarador.
A Distinctive Historical past
The ornate vaulted marble ceilings and wealthy wooden paneling of the foyer say all of it: this can be a very previous, very good lodge. The Blackstone, established in 1910, joined Marriott’s Autograph Assortment in 2017. Which implies the consistency, financial system of scale and model loyalty advantages that include a model like Marriott, however with the quirks of a boutique property — one distinctive sufficient to function a location for movies like Brian de Palma’s The Untouchables and Martin Scorsese’s The Coloration of Cash.
This comes out rapidly on a tour of the lodge with Camarador. It begins within the barbershop downstairs, the place Al Capone used to have his hair reduce as a result of it didn’t have any home windows — all the higher for clandestine exercise — and from which there are tunnels Capone used to flee and conceal booze. On the different finish of the visitor spectrum, The Blackstone was identified by means of the twentieth century as “the lodge of Presidents” due to the big variety of presidents who stayed there. Two of the lodge’s 4 suites name again to that legacy with heritage styling: The Suite of Presidents has housed Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy, who was staying on the Blackstone when knowledgeable of the Cuban Missile Disaster. The “Smoke-Crammed Suite” is known as for the cigar smoke that stuffed the room when occasion energy brokers sealed Warren G. Harding’s presidential nomination in 1920.
It’s solely been out of operation as a lodge for a number of years in its greater than century-old historical past, when it was owned (from 1995 to 1999) by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Beatles’ someday private guru, who hoped to show it into the “Heaven on Earth Inn,” “a holistic middle for health-conscious dwelling.” He didn’t succeed, however marks of his try stay: within the lodge’s fifth-floor Artwork Corridor is a small staircase resulting in nowhere, constructed as a result of, per the Yogi, the spirits wanted to have someplace to go. Remarkably, all that is solely a small fraction of what I discovered throughout an hour touring the Beaux-Arts landmark.
An Unbeatable Location
After I ask Camarador what distinguishes The Blackstone from each different Chicago lodge, she tells me it’s the view: “It’s pure lake. No different inns have this sort of unobstructed view.” There was an unmistakable serenity that settled into me through the days I stayed that got here not solely from publicity to the lake, however to a few of Chicago’s prettiest and most iconic landmarks. From my nook room on the seventeenth flooring, I had an ideal view of Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Discipline Museum and the Shedd Aquarium. (One other tip: rooms ending with 18, Camarador instructed me, may have superior views as a result of they’re nook rooms.)
The Blackstone’s prime location means rooms are a scorching commodity throughout NASCAR races as a result of there’s no higher place to look at automobiles bolt across the nook from Balbo Drive. Artists from Tove Lo to Bryson Tiller keep throughout Lollapalooza, held throughout the way in which in Grant Park. Da Child had such a grand time speaking to the lodge’s night time auditor that he requested a pic along with her and put it on his Insta story. And The Blackstone has a take care of the Chicago Fireplace soccer staff to host all its opponents, so when Inter Miami has come to city, at the very least one Beckham has made an look.
Due to its prime location, the lodge attracts a variety of clientele, touring for each enterprise and pleasure. The weekend I used to be there, Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour took over Chicago, with Soldier Discipline seen from my window. Throughout Style of Chicago, the world’s largest meals competition, Camarador tells me the lodge is at all times bought out. However you needn’t await the competition to dine. Mercat a la Planxa is a Spanish tapas restaurant — technically separate from the lodge however accessible by means of the foyer — that serves breakfast on weekends, drinks on the bar and dinner service Monday by means of Saturday. The Chef’s Expertise menu felt like a superb worth for cash, with every of the ten programs delivering on taste and high quality. Specific highlights included the ensalada verde, asparagus and grilled Berkshire pork. Past the confines of South Loop, close by Chinatown is nice for meals. And Camarador is stuffed with suggestions for issues to do close by, from upscale cocktails at Arbella, Three Dots and a Sprint or The Violet Hour to clubbing at Tunnel and Soundbar.
Should you’re fortunate, you could be gifted a few of the lodge’s particular treats for regulars or particular events or nice friends — like fleur de sel caramels from Katherine Anne Confections, a neighborhood vendor you may spot on the Logan Sq. Farmers Market, or whiskey from craft distiller KOVAL. “We get postcards from previous friends who had their honeymoons and weddings right here, or who go to and are shocked it’s nonetheless right here,” Camarador says, including that The Blackstone might be right here for a very long time but, due to its historic designation. “They couldn’t tear this constructing down even when they wished to.”
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