Hilton Hotels 
IC Hotelgroup 
Hyatt Hotels 
Carlson Hotels 

The Drake Hotel Chicago

Having read many different reviews about "The Drake Hotel" I decided to give them a try myself during my stay in Chicago.The hotel is located at East Walton Place, which is between John Hancock Center and Lake Michigan. The hotel was opened in 1920 and has ten floors. The hotel a huge quadratic ground floor while the rooms are in a H-shaped building a top the ground floor. The entrance is at East Walton Place and you reach the lobby by wide stairs. In the basement are some shops.

The hotel has several restaurants. There is the "Coq d’Or" which is open from 11.00 to 02.00 and serves cocktails, wine and snacks. The "Drake Brothers" Restaurant is open from 06.30 to 11.30 for breakfast and from 17.30 to 22.30 for dinner If you are lucky, you get a table with view to Lake Michigan, but I would not rate the views as ‘breathtaking’ as the hotel does. "Cape Cod Room" is a more formal dining restaurant, well know for its seafood. "Cape Cod Room" is open from 11.30 to 14.30 and from 17.30 to 23.00, during weekend and on Fridays it is open from 11.30 to 23.00. In "Palm Court" is served between 14.00 and 16.20 High tea and a harp player plays classical music.

In addition 16 meeting, ball and conference room are available. Modern equipment is available.

The interior of the hotel is in the style of the 20ies century with some Italian inspired elements. You should not expect any modern styled elements in this hotel, but if you like the European Grand Hotels of the early 20ies you will like this hotel. It in a way old fashioned and I know many people like this sort of style, despite this was also the time Art Deco and Bauhaus became modern.

The lobby is after the stairs right hand side and there is a long reception desk with a counter for Hilton Honours Guests. On the left side, you reach after some stairs the "Palm Court" and by passing it the "Drake Brother Restaurant".

The Gym was undergoing renovation and therefore temporarily relocated in a meeting room on the first floor.

Stays: 17 January 2006
Visited on New York and Chicago Trip 2006

direct link to hotel The Drake Hotel Chicago

temporarily relocated gym

Arrival Date: 17 January 2006
Departure Date: 18 January 2006
Room type booked: Standard Room
Rate Plan: Net Direct Rate
Room Number: 439
Room Rate: 99.00 USD (excl. taxes)

Status of HH: Gold

I used the Hilton Honors Desk and introduced myself. There no greeting by the clerk, the first sentence he spoke was he needed my credit card. This came in a very snobbish behaviour. I had expected a least a “Welcome in our hotel” or “Welcome back at Hilton”, nothing. I got the Keycard, but no explanation about the time breakfast is served and no information about the restaurant where it is served. I had to ask for everything. At least, he told me my room was on the fourth floor but no information about the temporarily relocated fitness room. If my room was an upgrade was not mentioned and I decide not to ask and go to my room.

I found my room next to the elevator and opposite the room for dirty laundry. As housekeeping was at work I could get an impression of the noise. The use of the elevator could be heard in the room and housekeeping using the room for dirty laundry resp. the box it was thrown in. I decided to return to check-in and ask about another room and also about the use of the Executive Lounge. The guy at check in behaved this time what I would call rude. “You already got an upgrade” and “we only upgrade Diamonds to Executive” and “no other room available”. Then he decided to ignore me and look on the screen of his computer. It was clear he was not willing to change anything. I doubt there were no other rooms available as the web showed many other rooms available, so a change to a room more far away should not be such a problem. I would accept to get no access to the executive lounge, but I did no expect this sort of behaviour by check-in. He should know that I travel a lot and know if a hotel is full or is not. Really, why do hotels take guest for a fool?.

The room was nothing special. The bathroom was right next to the entrance and not of a small size. It consist of a wash basin with a lot of space to put things on it, a toilet and a bathtub. The showerhead was okay and so was the shower curtain. There were two old styled lamps above the mirror behind the washbasin, which could have been brighter. The room had a grand lit with two bedside tables with lamps on it. One of these lamps had a malfunction. In front of the only window of the room were a lounge chair and a small table. Opposite the bed was the television and right hand side the working desk. Working desk was with High Speed Internet connection and it was large enough to work on it. On the left side of the TV was the minibar. Minibar was as usual expensive (Evian 4.50 USD, beer 6.00 USD, wine 18.00 USD, peanuts 4.00 USD). Tea and coffee facilities were available, but coffee machine was only one cup and coffee cost 1.00 USD. As in every Holiday-Inn the use of the coffee facilities is free of charge and I have so far not been in a hotel where I have to pay for it, it think this is a rip off.

The air condition was new and one of the best I have had in hotel rooms so far. It was very silent and electronically controlled and therefore only worked if necessary. At least this was positive.

The view to Lake Michigan was not as nice as it could have been as there was a small net in front of the window. The room looked really dark, especially as the light of the lamps were not very bright. As the ceiling was high (like in many old building) and only a few paintings at the wall, the whole rooms looked not nice. It is difficult to describe, but dark furniture, carpet and a lightning not very bright in combination with a lot of free space on the wall (due to the high ceiling) let the room appears in a unfriendly atmosphere.

Turndown service was available and you got a box of chocolate while staying in the hotel.

Breakfast was served in the “Drake Brothers” Restaurant. I was there at 7.45 and had to wait at the entrance to be seated. I got the menu and was shown a small table for two persons. In so far no complains. I decided to have the American Buffet for 21.00 USD and pay the difference between my voucher (worth for a continental breakfast for 15.00 USD) and the Buffet. As I ordered it the waiter told me “Did you see a Buffet? It is not available. You have to choose another breakfast.” Again a very snobbish behaviour of staff. Why did I get no information by the waitress who gave me the menu and showed me the table? And I do not like to be addressed in a manner you not even address a naughty child. As the waiter was waiting and I had not looked at the whole menu I decided to stay with the continental option. I took a melon and two croissants and ordered a tea. Orange juice was brought, but tea seems to be a little bit difficult, as I had to wait ten minutes for my tea to arrive. No special tea, just a pot of water with a tea bag in it. With the two croissants I got four small glasses of strawberry jam – why on earth not at least two different choices of jam? Did the waiter not look which glasses he brought? My glass of orange juice was taken as it was empty, though I had not finished breakfast yet and I would have liked to get a refill.

Check out was fast. Staff at check-out was different from check in the day before and he asked if was satisfied. I told him that was not satisfied and gave a short summary of my complaints. Also he seemed to be surprised, he said he was sorry if not everything was okay.

My overall impression? Well the hotel has a nice location at the north end of Magnificent Mile. But the service level is very low and Hilton Honors Status Recognition is lousy. I am not used to get a room at the noisiest part and I would have preferred a room more far away from the central elevator. Check in, which is in my eyes the part the hotel rises or fall as it is the first impression of a guest in the hotel and this it the impression the average guest remembers. It would have been nice to get the information about restaurants, upgrades, relocated gyms, etc without asking. Staff in the restaurant was unfriendly and you feel not welcome. The lack of a pool is not a matter of fact, as I did not expect it in an older hotel.

I have send a fax to the general manager right after I returned but did not receive and answer yet. If I will return, I do not know. You should rate a hotel not after one stay and therefore I will stay again and see if this was a one time exception but from the comments at Flyertalk it was not.