The Drake Hotel is one of the most famous hotels in Chicago and for good reason: it’s elegant, classic, historic, and has enviable views. This summer I had the pleasure of staying at The Drake during a recent trip to Chicago with my friend Candy and we could not have loved our room – or afternoon tea! – any more.
About The Drake
The Drake first opened its doors in 1920 and had high society buzzing throughout the roaring twenties. High tea in Fountain Court, now Palm Court, was most popular and continues to delight guests today. Icons such as Walt Disney, Bing Crosby, and George Gershwin could often be seen at the bar. In fact, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio carved their initials in the bar’s counter! In 1980 Hilton acquired and restore The Drake, upholding its historic look and feel to this day.
Our lakeview room had the most incredible view of Oak Street Beach and Lake Michigan! We stayed in room 654 and had plenty of space to spread out; we had a desk, dining table, and living room with a large TV. Breakfast at Cafe on Oak was also included with our room.
The bathroom, though small (that’s to be expected with historic hotels), was beautifully appointed.
Watch my room tour:
The Drake is located right on the famed Magnificent Mile with shopping galore right out your doorstep! Oak Street Beach is a five minute walk from The Drake and can be seen from the lake view rooms.
Have a furry friend? No problem! The Drake is pet friendly.
The Drake has a surprising amount of shops on its ground level, including a beautiful gallery to stroll through, as well a 3,000 square-foot fitness center.
The Drake offers live entertainment most Wednesday – Saturday nights, including jazz at The Palm Court on Saturdays.
The Drake has three dining options: Cafe on Oak, Coq D’or, and Palm Court. Cafe on Oak is a cozy breakfast nook with nautical vibes. You can order off the menu or partake in the buffet, which was complimentary with our lakeview room.
Coq D’or is a dark and sexy bar on the ground floor, perfect for a night cap. Coq D’or opened the day after prohibition ended and has masculine decor: wood paneling, leather accents, and flatscreens set to sports. We ended to have a bite at Coq D’or but ended up just getting cocktails before going out for the evening.
Palm Court has been serving tea for almost a century and it shows. The impossibly large floral fountain is a glorious backdrop to a sumptuous tea and the harpist completes the afternoon experience.
We didn’t originally have time for tea but ended up with an extra hour one afternoon and I’m here to tell you: do not skip tea at The Drake! It’s an absolute must. We didn’t have a reservation but by some stroke of luck, still managed to get a perfect table in front of the famous floral fountain.
Bites included scones and lemon poppyseed muffins (both amazing!), cucumber sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches, salmon mousse, thai spiced chicken tarts, orange creamsicle macarons, french silk tarts, blueberry buttermilk panna cotta, and strawberry shortcake bellinis. You can add a cocktail to your service if you’d like but we stuck with tea.
If I had to choose, my favorite bites were the lemon poppyseed muffins (if I could get these shipped to Dallas, I would!), chicken tarts, macarons (macarons are hard to get right but The Drake certainly does), and french silk tarts.
Seatings are for an hour and a half, which is plenty of time to enjoy a splendid afternoon tea.
The Drake has an air of aristocracy and old money. It’s not trying to impress you and therefore does. Each restaurant has a distinct vibe and ambiance all of its own. The staff was notably courteous and helpful and made our stay most enjoyable. I will definitely be back someday!
Book your trip to The Drake here.
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