I don’t write hotel reviews very often, so there has to be something really special about a hotel stay in order for me to write about it. The Blackstone Hotel in Chicago is one of those special places. The Blackstone sits at a premier location, has an impressive history, and is an icon of art deco style.
The Blackstone Hotel sits right on Michigan Avenue across the street from Grant Park. You can simply walk across the street to explore the 319 acres of Grant Park, including Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park and the famous Cloud Gate sculpture (more commonly known as The Bean), and many other unique pieces of art and green space. Adjacent to the park is the sparkling blue water of Lake Michigan, Soldier Field, the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium.
The Drake Brothers built the Blackstone in 1910, and it was one of the tallest buildings in Chicago at the time. Although the hotel hosted many well-known celebrities over the years, it is better known as being the “Hotel of Presidents.” Every U.S. President for 70 years stayed at the Blackstone Hotel after its opening in 1910. As a matter of fact, the hotel’s Presidential Suite was literally designed to house the U.S. President during visits to Chicago. Rumor has it that Secret Service agents may have snuck Marilyn Monroe into the hotel to visit President John F. Kennedy. It is true, however, that President Kennedy was first notified about the Cuban Missile Crisis while eating clam chowder at the Blackstone Hotel.
Timothy Blackstone, the hotel’s namesake, was an avid art collector. Thus, he began the practice of exhibiting art within the hotel. In 1903, he donated an area known as Blackstone Hall to the Art Institute of Chicago. Today, the Blackstone Hotel displays over 2,000 pieces of art throughout the hotel.
If you are interested in visiting Chicago, go check out another post about my autumn visit to the Windy City.