CHICAGO – December 30, 2014 – The Drake Hotel in Chicago is pleased to announce it has joined Historic Hotels of America®, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Drake Hotel is one of more than 260 hotels and resorts throughout the country that is recognized by Historic Hotels of America for preserving and maintaining its historic integrity, architecture, and ambiance.
“We are delighted to induct The Drake Hotel, a beaux-art hotel built in 1920 to Historic Hotels of America,” Said Lawrence Horwitz, executive director of Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “We welcome The Drake Hotel and leadership team into Historic Hotels of America.”
To be selected for membership in Historic Hotels of America, a hotel must be at least 50 years old, be designated by the U. S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National register of Historic Places and be recognized as having historic significance.
“For almost a century, our hotel has boasted its prominence within Chicago’s history, becoming known as high-society’s first choice in opulence and luxury and is listed in the Nation Register of Historic Places. We have become a steward of stories for generations of Chicagoans, and are honored to have our National Historic Landmark property be recognized as a building of architectural significance,” said Damien McArdle, general manager of The Drake Hotel.
The Drake Hotel is rich in history and architectural integrity. Conceptualized by architect Benjamin Marshall, the Nation’s first urban resort came to fruition on the cornerstone of the Magnificent Mile and Lake Shore Drive by brothers John and Tracy Drake. The Drake was known as a city within a city, complete with an array of leisure activities and luxurious amenities within its famed front doors, ensuring every guest received nothing less than The Drake Standard of hospitality. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, its distinguished service and historic traditions offer guests a REAL CHICAGO experience.
When The Drake’s Cape Cod Room was envisioned, prior to the 1933 World’s Fair, architect Benjamin Marshall and, at the time, unknown folk artist Peter Hunt set out to create a transformative East Coast atmosphere. Between Marshall and Hunt they created an urban hideaway where the atmosphere was fine, but not refined.
Over 80 years later everything remains as originally imagined by the two founding visionaries: the old-fashioned, faded, tavern signs; hanging lobster traps and chowder kettles. But, now, dozens of national culinary awards reside next to those curiosities.
Re-opening its doors on February 1, 2014 with renewed flooring, replacing the original 1930’s tiling, and a revamped menu to match – the Cape Cod has hit its stride once again. Chef Franco Diaz has flipped old favorites alongside innovative new creations. Cure your hankering for East Coast cuisine with The Drake’s signature Bookbinder Soup, Beer Battered Oysters, Prosciutto Wrapped Crispy White Fish Saltimbocca, or any one of the delicious Drake dining options.
Join us for dinner Wednesday through Sunday 5:30 PM to 10 PM.
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.
Though tea has been popular since its introduction to Europe in the 17th century, it wasn’t until the 19th century that afternoon tea became a high society tradition. A common misconception is that The Drake Hotel has maintained “high tea” since it opened its doors nearly a century ago. In fact, The Drake has served “afternoon tea” since opening. “High tea”, coined in the Industrial Revolution, referred to working class families consuming their bread, butter, and tea at their high tables in their less affluent communities. Low tea, or the afternoon tea that is served at The Drake, consists of low tea tables, sweets and sandwiches—exactly the atmosphere the creator of afternoon tea time, Anna Maria Stanhope, the Duchess of Bedford, would have adored in the 1800’s.
The Drake's Palm Court has always hosted curious patrons from around the world who wanted to know more about the history of the famed tea room. Last year Palm Court, named one of the best locations for afternoon tea in the nation by Good Morning America, began "Historic Afternoon Tea" in an effort to inform loyal guests of its profound past.
This year the Palm Court will once again introduce "Historic Afternoon Tea". First, guests are invited to enjoy a leisurely lunch with traditional tea then they will be invited on a brief excursion through the hotel with one of The Drake's expert historians. The tea and tour starts at $35, tours are given at 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM, and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Reservations are highly recommended, call 312.932.4619 or email Lalla.ElAlaoui@hilton.com.
This May marks the one year anniversary of Coq d’Or’s official whiskey club. Membership will remain free throughout the inaugural year. However, in May, The Drake will institute a nominal membership fee to sign up. Join now at thedrakehotel.com.
The next quarterly event will be February 27th and will feature Scotch whisky—without the “e”. Historically, Scotch whisky was aged wooden barrels that were purchases from the British Isles. The intention of the barrels was to take the harsh edge off of the “fire water”. However, since these casks had been used prior to the whisky being poured they began to take on the flavor of the previous liquid—giving the whisky a “finish”.
Popular finishes included whiskies that came from sherry and port casks. Through the centuries, however, many other types of used casks have been experimented with, such as Bourbon, Madeira, Sauternes, Cognac and others.
This February Coq d’Or will present three examples of these finishes using the classic Glenmorangie single malt scotch, but finished in three different casks, port, sherry and sauternes. See if you can taste the difference by signing up for Whiskey Club now and emailing Nora.Heneghan@hilton.com your RSVP.
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.