Crime Time

February 03, 2014

For almost 100 years The Drake has stood at the top of the Magnificent Mile as a pillar of high society. Built in 1920, The Drake Hotel was considered the most luxurious hotel in Chicago. Benjamin Marshall, the original architect, designed the grand dame of hotels with unusual magnificence – it was said there was nothing like it in appearance.  Throughout the years, we’ve helped friends and family turn moments into memories, and memories into traditions.  Everyone has their Drake story and with that, some have their Drake “souvenir”.

In the last century countless items from the Historic Landmark Property have gone missing. Understanding that our history is part of your history The Drake Hotel is giving guests the opportunity to Go Back in Time and Give Back the Crime with an official pardon. The stories, the memories and the items returned will all be on display – your story will live on within The Drake walls. For the next two months, items will be accepted by mail or in person and without guilt or suspicion—no questions asked. This amnesty program is in preparation for The Drake’s official history tour which will launch this spring.  Please address your submissions to 140 East Walton Place, Chicago IL 60611, Attention: Marketing Department.  

Two New Afternoon Tea Offerings in the Palm Court

January 03, 2013
A Historic Afternoon Tea The Drake Hotel introduces its very own "History Tea" in the famous Palm Court where guests will not only enjoy an assortment of tea sandwiches, pastries and scones with traditional accompaniments, but also a tour through 91 years of Drake history. Tea Sommelier, Shaun Rajah, will be available to enlighten guests with the history of afternoon tea, a tradition at The Drake Hotel for many years. The History Tea is available Monday through Friday, February 1 to March 31, 2013 with seatings from noon to 4 p.m. Three guided tours will take place during this time, revealing to guests secrets of The Drake such as the story of the Lady in Red or to tell the tale of when Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe carved their initials in the Cape Cod bar. The anecdotes enable The Drake to come alive in the imaginations of the guests and they begin to realize how The Drake has come to solidify its reputation as a unique Chicago original, becoming the icon it is today.

Relax, Refresh, Rejuvenate at Afternoon Tea The Drake Hotel also offers an exclusive "Relax, Refresh, Rejuvenate" tea, available January 2013, Monday through Friday. This weekday special gives guests a chance to take a break from the hustle and bustle, and enjoy a cup of tea in the company of friends. This exclusive afternoon tea provides guests with the customary afternoon tea service in the serene Palm Court atmosphere. Relax, Refresh, Rejuvenate Afternoon Tea Information

The History Tea and the Relaxation tea are both $30 per person, a special only offered for these teas. For reservations or further information, please contact Shaun Rajah at +1 312 932 4619 or Shaun.Rajah@hilton.com.

The Real Chicago Treat....

October 04, 2011
Some may not get the reference to the Rice Aroni jingle in today's Real Chicago blog title... however if you're keen to old jingles from the mid-90s-- you know this tune is referencing a "San Francisco Treat..." But, let this be known.....you don't have to be in San Francisco to experience this Chicago treat. While it may have originated in that famed West Coast inclined town, we here in Chicago made it more than transportation--- we made it an itinerary item for your next vacation..... Elizabeth brings us her Real Chicago experience not to be missed in this week's Real Chicago Blog: Ever wonder how “the windy city” received its name Chicago, or how the street with the infamous “Magnificent Mile” received the name of Michigan Avenue?  Well, you can find these answers out and many more fun facts, while cruising around the beautiful city some of us are lucky to call home, Chicago.  The Hop on Hop Off Chicago Trolley Tours takes you around 13 miles of the historical, and architectural streets of the city of Chicago.  Sit back, relax, sip on a locally Chicago brewed 312, and let these old-fashioned San Francisco style trolleys show and teach you things even Chicago natives never knew! The experience I had on the trolley ride was with 12 of my fondest co-workers, playing hooky, eh hem ...I mean “training” one lovely Wednesday afternoon.  We started the tour at the tip top of the Mangificent Mile, and made our way South down Lakeshore Drive taking in the views of the lake and Navy Pier on a beautiful fall afternoon, then took a turn West bound and drove down Michigan Avenue, then making our way South to The Financial District, and topped off the tour with amazing city/water views from Solidarity Road, while receiving a crash course on the history of Chicago.  On the tour, while enjoying the views of amazing architecture, public art, hotels, restaurants, Willis Tower, and more we learned many educational facts about Chicago from a quite entertaining retired teacher as our guide.  Here are a few of the fun tid bits we learned on the tour….Now I won’t give them all away, because you will need to learn for yourself on a trolley tour adventure! Chicago Fun Facts:
  • Chicago Tribune Building, a Chicago Landmark, has labeled stones from landmark buildings from all 50 states and all over the world, to include The Great Wall of China, the White House, as well as The original Twin Towers.
  • Merchandise Mart- in 1929 was considered so large it had its very own zip code.
  • Good Ol’ Mcy D’s, “McDonalds”, started in Des Plaines, IL.
  • Michigan Avenue- The streets between Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan are manmade; the street got its name Michigan Avenue because that is originally where the shore of Lake Michigan came to.

Vince Vaughn's "Breakup" Business- Not a Myth

September 27, 2011
[Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, Chicago, August 19, 2009 /Image & Artwork: designslinger
Why this Real Chicago experience has not come up until now is absurd. Absolutely absurd. Architecture is an integral part of this city; an integral part of its history, its development, its beauty. And when you see it all from the breezy bright white seat of a boat that cruises along the Chicago River and out beyond the shores of Lake Michigan, there's no doubt this city's skyline will leave more than an impression-- it'll leave you with an education- a Real Chicago experience not to be missed.  Today's Real Chicago recap is provided by the voice of one of our team members, a resident of Chicago and Michigan native, Haley: One of my favorite “Real Chicago” experiences is the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour. Whenever I have friends, family or clients in town I often recommend this tour. But it isn’t only for tourists. As a new resident of Chicago, there is still so much I want to learn about this great city- and the Architecture tour was a great place to start. The tour starts on the river right near the Wrigley Building, first you go west where you get the history behind Chicago’s studded skyline. The tour guides explain the history of the Merchandise Mart, the Willis Tower, Navy Pier, Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, Lyric Opera, 333 W. Wacker, Marina City and my personal favorite, the United building. Over 50 buildings are featured on the tour. The boat then turns around and takes you down the river into Lake Michigan. From here you can see Chicago’s great skyline together in all of its glory. You also get a fun story about the lighthouse located off of Oak Street Beach- Residents lived in the lighthouse in exchange for caring for the premises and a nominal fee of $10 dollars a month (I think I can’t remember exactly how much) until the 1960’s. It was then that after a wild night of partying out on the pier that caused some complaints from residents on shore. Unfortunately after that, the privilege was revoked, and there are no longer tenants of the lighthouse. Crazy Hippies! There are tons of great things to do in Chicago, and this is one of my favorites. So put on your fall jackets and spend one of our last sunny days learning a little bit more about the city you love.

Vince Vaughn's "Breakup" Business- Not a Myth

September 27, 2011
[Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, Chicago, August 19, 2009 /Image & Artwork: designslinger
Why this Real Chicago experience has not come up until now is absurd. Absolutely absurd. Architecture is an integral part of this city; an integral part of its history, its development, its beauty. And when you see it all from the breezy bright white seat of a boat that cruises along the Chicago River and out beyond the shores of Lake Michigan, there's no doubt this city's skyline will leave more than an impression-- it'll leave you with an education- a Real Chicago experience not to be missed.  Today's Real Chicago recap is provided by the voice of one of our team members, a resident of Chicago and Michigan native, Haley: One of my favorite “Real Chicago” experiences is the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour. Whenever I have friends, family or clients in town I often recommend this tour. But it isn’t only for tourists. As a new resident of Chicago, there is still so much I want to learn about this great city- and the Architecture tour was a great place to start. The tour starts on the river right near the Wrigley Building, first you go west where you get the history behind Chicago’s studded skyline. The tour guides explain the history of the Merchandise Mart, the Willis Tower, Navy Pier, Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, Lyric Opera, 333 W. Wacker, Marina City and my personal favorite, the United building. Over 50 buildings are featured on the tour. The boat then turns around and takes you down the river into Lake Michigan. From here you can see Chicago’s great skyline together in all of its glory. You also get a fun story about the lighthouse located off of Oak Street Beach- Residents lived in the lighthouse in exchange for caring for the premises and a nominal fee of $10 dollars a month (I think I can’t remember exactly how much) until the 1960’s. It was then that after a wild night of partying out on the pier that caused some complaints from residents on shore. Unfortunately after that, the privilege was revoked, and there are no longer tenants of the lighthouse. Crazy Hippies! There are tons of great things to do in Chicago, and this is one of my favorites. So put on your fall jackets and spend one of our last sunny days learning a little bit more about the city you love.

Museum of Science and Industry

August 24, 2011

Whoever said “learning isn’t fun” surely hasn’t been to the Museum of Science and Industry. Mixing learning with hands-on, blood rushing exhibits, there is something for everyone! In 1893, the building was constructed as the Palace of Fine Arts for the World’s Columbian Exposition. Afterwards it was converted into the Field Museum until 1920 when a new building opened and the museum moved.  Since the building was only built as a temporary structure for the World’s Fair, it began to deteriorate until Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, stepped in to save the building. It was 1926 when he contributed more than $5 million to the project which included recasting the building in limestone.  The museum officially opened in 1933 as the Museum of Science and Industry. The museum has more than 800 exhibits and encompasses more than 300,000 square feet.  A few popular exhibits include a reconstruction of a 1933 coal mine, a U-505 Submarine and BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life.   Julius Rosenwald once said his vision for the Museum of Science and Industry was to create an interactive museum where learning was possible. Nearly 80 years later, his vision is still the main focus at the museum.  Today the museum houses some of the most exciting and mind boggling exhibitions ranging from a display that allows you to witness, in real-time, a chick breaking through the hard shell of the egg that has housed it for 22 days, to an exhibit  displaying the actual formation of a vortex.  If the word vortex has you in a tailspin then it is, without a doubt, essential you take the half hour ride of your life and strap in for the Museum’s OmniMax Theater’s “Tornado Alley.”  This informational, yet, highly entertaining film relays to its viewers what it’s like to be a tornado chaser in one of the United State’s most dangerous weather territories. Throughout the movie you’ll feel as though you’re in the passenger seat of a van traveling 90 miles down abandoned roads in pursuit of one of nature’s most fascinating phenomenons. With a 180 degree span of screen, and speakers that pulsate sound at a greater intensity than that of a Jet engine, you better hold on, because it’s going to be a wild ride. The best way to get to the Museum of Science and Industry is to take public transportation. From the Drake you can walk to Michigan & Pearson and hop on the 10 bus towards Museum of Sciene and Industry. Once you get off, just walk towards S. Lake Shore Drive. For more information regarding the Museum of Science and Industry, visit their website at http://www.msichicago.org/

Touring Chicago by Horse Drawn Carriage

May 09, 2011
"Far-famed is The Drake and its favored location on the restful shores of Lake Michigan, adjoining Lincoln Park. And yet the center of the city's business and theatrical districts is close at hand. Whether you come to Chicago as a business visitor or as a vacationist, The Drake offers unrivaled advantages. Come and find perfect summer-time enjoyment. Bathing, tennis, horseback riding, Atlantic City chairs and other pleasures await you all season long...."

~Drake Hotel Ad, 1920s

Horseback riding? Really? Ninety years later one might expect this luxury to be far from existent in this bustling metropolis. However, hey are surely mistaken. Well, maybe to a certain degree.... There are many ways to discover Chicago- many vantage points from which a visitor may choose to explore the architecture, learn the history, or tempt their tastebuds with a culinary and cultural exhibition. And we will of course touch on all those tour options soon enough. However, we thought it appropriate to start out with the all encompassing and relaxing Real Chicago ride one gets when they trot through the city in none other than a horse drawn carriage. You don't have to cast a magic spell or be royalty to experience this transportation option in the heart of downtown Chicago. You simply have to look around and you'll see, or possibly find yourself caught behind, these nostalgic novelties. Horse drawn carriage rides are offered throughout the city, and one company in particular stations their carriages just steps from The Drake Hotel. Chicago Horse & Carriage is located on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Pearson Street across the street from Water Tower Place mall. They offer you a choice of open or enclosed carriages weather permitting. Special requests must be prearranged. Lap blankets will be provided when appropriate. Chicago Horse & Carriage Ltd. is dog friendly. Wet paws not permitted. Cost for rides starting and ending at their carriage stand for 1-4 persons:
  • 30 minutes $40
  • 45 minutes $60
  • 1 hour $80
($5 for each additional person. 6 person maximum.) Carriages do not operate between 4pm-6pm Monday - Friday. Chicago Horse & Carriage offers you a variety of tours Rides listed are available for 30mins - 2hrs.
  • Gold Coast
  • Innercity
  • Lake
  • Michigan Avenue
  • Navy Pier
  • State Street
  • Millennium Park - 11/2hr ride
  • Lincoln Park - 2hr ride
  • Buckingham Fountain Ride - 2hr ride
 They also offer an engagement package, so please inquire on their website.