Why The Hilton Chicago Is Our Favorite Hotel in The Windy City

When visiting Chicago, there are many choices for accommodations. But there are no hotels as storied as the Hilton Chicago. Located on Michigan Avenue, the hotel boasts gorgeous views, spectacular amenities and the most unique and intriguing history.

Here’s Why The Hilton Chicago Is Our Favorite Hotel in The Windy City

The History

In1927, Hilton Chicago (originally the Stevens Hotel) opened its doors as the largest hotel in the world with 3,000 guest rooms, 27 chair barber shop, a pharmacy, a candy shop, a five-lane bowling alley, 1,200 seat movie theatre and an 18 hole miniature golf course atop the hotel.

It’s changed a bit since then but the redesign preserves the magnificence of its early 20th Century style while incorporating all of the 21st Century conveniences you expect of a luxury hotel.

Historical Highlights:

  • In 1927, the hotel opens with the Vice President of the United States as the first guest (Charles G. Dawes. The President was Calvin Coolidge).
  • Conrad Hilton (Paris Hilton’s great grandfather) purchases the hotel in 1946.
  • Queen Elizabeth II stays at the hotel in 1959 and two gorgeous suites were built just for her!
  • Since 1927, every sitting president of the United States has been housed in the hotel before leaving office, with the exception of Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
  • The day after Barack Obama was elected President, he held his first press conference as president-elect in the hotel’s Continental Ballroom. He also chose his cabinet while at the hotel.
  • In 1942, the U.S. Army purchased the Stevens Hotel for $6 million for use as barracks and classrooms for the Army Air Force during World War II.
  • The Normandie Lounge on the second floor promenade was created from panels and furniture from the famed French Line ocean liner, SS Normandie.

The Rooms

  • Hilton Chicago is home to Chicago’s largest and most expensive hotel room, The Conrad Hilton Suite. The 5,000-square-foot suite encompasses two floors and costs more than $7,000 per night.
  • In 1984, a $185 million renovation was completed turning the hotel’s 3,000 guest rooms into 1,544 larger and more elegant rooms, including dozens of suites. The one we stayed in had an amazing view of Lake Michigan, Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park, Navy Pier, the Museum Campus and Soldier Field.
  • The two Imperial Suites, located just below the Conrad Hilton Suite, draw inspiration from two famously regal Elizabeths: the Queen of England and Hollywood royalty Elizabeth Taylor. Each suite features a master bedroom, a separate double guest room, a kitchen, a nightcap station, a dining table for eight and an exquisite white onyx fireplace that is the centerpiece of the living area. The space can comfortably accommodate up to 100 guests for an event and rates start at $5,000 per night.

The Films and TV Shows

Many celebrities have stayed at the hotel over the years including The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, John Travolta, Michael Jordan, Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall and Ella Fitzgerald. Elizabeth Taylor even lived in the hotel in 1950 for the duration of her eight-month marriage to hotel heir Conrad “Nicky” Hilton, Jr. 

But what we really love are all the TV shows and movies that have been shot on property. Here are just a few of our faves that used Hilton Chicago as a filming location.

TV Shows:

  • E.R. (a helipad was built outside of the Conrad Hilton Suite)
  • Empire
  • Early Edition (starring Dripping Springs resident Kyle Chandler)
  • Prison Break
  • Cupid
  • Chicago Code (starring FNL alum Matt Lauria)
  • Chicago Fire
  • The Beast (starring Texas Patrick Swayze)
  • Chicago P.D.


  • The Fugitive
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (the scene where the family is reunited and gathered around the Christmas Tree was filmed in the Conrad Hilton Suite).
  • Little Fockers
  • Road to Perdition
  • The Express (starring Texas Dennis Quaid)
  • U.S. Marshals (starring Texan Tommy Lee Jones)
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding 
  • Primal Fear

And that’s not all! The hotel also boasts a state-of-the-art gym, indoor pool, sun deck, Irish pub, restaurant and bar, and more! While we highlighted the prices of the most high end rooms, don’t let those numbers scare you off from booking a stay at the famous hotel. Single room rates start at just over $200.

Learn more about the Hilton Chicago and book your stay here.

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