Chicago: The Palmer House Hilton Hotel

It was just about getting dark by the time I got to Chicago downtown. I had earlier booked myself into a hotel within The Loop which is about the most convenient (not to mention safest) place you could stay in Chicago. The Loop is the historical downtown of Chicago which is bounded by the transit railway.


I actually did not know anything about the Palmer House Hilton Hotel. I guess that if its’s a Hilton, it would be OK.

Moreover, I got a deal for a room night rate of only $95. For that rate and with a location within the downtown core, I did not expect much.

But when I stood outside the hotel, I thought I was in a wrong hotel.


It was much better than I thought. It was later that I learned this hotel is where past US presidents and world dignitaries stayed when they visit Chicago. Moreover, this is also the longest continuously operating hotel in North America.


The hotel was very old and quite stately. I am quite impressed with the elevator lobby. Each floor are ornate and are different. The doors for the floor above is bronze. There are some in silver, some gold. You don’t get such a big elevator lobby in modern buildings these days so this was quite a novelty.

The lay out of the rooms is a confusing maze with lots of turns. Fate has it that my room is on the far end of the floor that I got lost a few times circling the floor.

The room wasn’t too big and there was not much of a view. At least it was clean, comfortable and free of smoke. God, I hate stale cigarette smell in hotel rooms.

I took many many shots of the room and created a photosynth. Use your mouse to navigate into various view and the scroll wheel to zoom in and out. You can even zoom into the writing pad on the table and such. Try it and see if you can figure out what room number I stayed in.


This is the reason why the room smell so fresh when I walked in. All hotels should do it like this hotel. Fine the hell out of the smokers.

You know, the irony is I used to … work with the British American Tobacco Company. Career-wise it was a great company to work in but personally I hate cigarette smoke. As you can imagine, smoking is encouraged in the company. In all the meeting rooms, there are cigarette samples and people smoke in meeting rooms. As an employee no one spoke out against it. At least they have really good ventilations in the meeting rooms that makes it bearable to us non-smokers.

I used to tell people that while smokers in most company will hide in the washroom to smoke, this is one company where people will hide in the washroom to escape from the smoke. I got lots of other tales working in a tobacco company. I’ll save it for another time to tell you.


The washroom is squeaky clean.


Love the designer faucet …


… and name brand toiletries.

Say, how many of you collect this … like, you know, sort of swipe them to take home? I don’t normally care for these but I know Suanne likes it. Ten times out of ten, Suanne will ALWAYS take these home. It doesn’t matter of they are branded soap and shampoo or not. And I always tease her about it … so much so that nowadays, she puts it into the bag when I was not looking. It’s only when I get home that she will show me her stash. My Suanne. LOL!

So, for her, I swiped the whole lot the last two days I was there.


Can you believe the internet charges above? I ended up going to the deli around the block from the hotel where they have free wifi.

That’s this thing you got to be careful about when you think you get a great hotel deal. They will find a way to charge you the extras. We used to stay in a resort once which costs only $70. But you must use their valet parking which is a non-negotiable $20 per day … and a $2 tip each time they get the car for you. That hurts.


Free newspaper is something I like. Ever since I was a young boy, I always start my morning reading the newspaper. It is a habit even though I could get all the news I need via the internet.


I told you about The Loop earlier. The Loop encircles the downtown business district. The transit is lovingly known as the “L” to the people in Chicago. The name came from the shortened name for elevated transit system. It is an old system.

Guess how old? 120 years. It is however a very efficient system and I can get to anywhere I wanted through the system. And it is also very cheap too compared to the fares from other cities.

That’s it for today …

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  1. Doug

    You have to travel around the world to appreciate what we have in Vancouver. I’ve been to Italy, China, and all of America and I still will rather grow old in Vancouver then any other place in the world!

    P.S. That rusty sky train looks like its about to fall apart O.o

  2. Eat. Travel. Eat!

    Interesting photosynth! I’ve never tried using one before. It’s quite nice but loaded quite slowly…

    I do the same thing that Suanne does with toiletries. 🙂 But main brand/ high quality products only! I find it interesting that the same brand is being used in Beijing too.

  3. Sandy

    We usually stay in Hilton hotels, and this brand of toiletries is the one we usually get. The other Hilton chains use a different brand (e.g., Hampton Inn usually has Neutrogena).

    We’re thinking of taking a trip to Chicago, so I look forward to the posts in this series. We’ll keep this hotel in mind.

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