One of Chicago's most iconic hotels is reopening to the public after a year-long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Palmer House welcomes guests back beginning Thursday, offering new amenities and experiences that also coincide with the Hilton hotel's 150th anniversary this year.
Located at 17 E. Monroe St. in Chicago's Loop, the hotel first opened in September 1871, but burned down 13 days later in the Chicago Fire. It was later rebuilt and has been open ever since, until last year as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the travel and hospitality industry.
The hotel says staff has vacuumed over four miles of carpet and changed 10,000 light bulbs ahead of the reopening. The Palmer House, which houses more than 1,600 rooms, has also implemented new cleaning and disinfecting protocols, including a contactless check-in for guests who choose.
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“We are incredibility proud to reopen the iconic Palmer House doors, and welcome guests back to the epicenter of Chicago’s rich history for our 150th anniversary year," the hotel's general manager Dean Lane said in a statement.
"We have faced the most challenging year for the travel industry and Chicago community, but in the face of adversity, Palmer House has continued to rise like a Mythological Phoenix, allowing our legacy as one of the most iconic hotels in Chicago to live on," Lane added.
Also debuting with the reopening is the Palmer House's new indoor swimming pool, opening to guests after a $2.2 million renovation, as well as a new grab-and-go dining option for travelers.
To celebrate the reopening, the Palmer House will have entertainment on Thursday from magician Dennis Watkins, who will also appear at pop-up performances throughout the opening week.
All guests checking in during opening week will also receive a complimentary brownie bite at check-in in an homage to the hotel's status as the "birthplace of the original chocolate fudge brownie," the Palmer House says.
And likely the most luxurious package the Palmer House is now offering comes with an eye-popping price tag. The Bertha Palmer Experience includes a stay in the penthouse suite, black car service, a butler, a private viewing of the hotel's vault, spa treatments and more - all starting at $150,000 a month.
But for those looking for a less costly option, rates for opening week begin at $189 per night.