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Chicago, known for its architectural grandeur and vibrant cultural scene, is home to numerous historical landmarks. One such icon is The Drake Hotel, a symbol of luxury and elegance in the city’s Gold Coast neighborhood. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Drake Hotel in Chicago is currently owned by Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. This article will take a deeper look at the hotel’s ownership history, its architectural significance, and its status as a beloved Windy City institution.

A Brief History of The Drake Hotel

The Drake Hotel, one of Chicago’s most iconic landmarks, has a rich history dating back to its founding years in the early 1920s. Situated at the heart of the Magnificent Mile, this luxurious hotel has been a symbol of elegance and sophistication for nearly a century.

The Founding Years

The Drake Hotel was built by the Drake brothers, Tracy and John, who were successful real estate developers in Chicago. Inspired by European grand hotels, they envisioned a prestigious establishment that would cater to the city’s elite. Construction began in 1919, and the hotel officially opened its doors on New Year’s Eve in 1920.

Boasting a stunning Beaux-Arts architecture, The Drake instantly became a favorite destination for high society gatherings and lavish events. Its opulent interiors, including the iconic Palm Court and the legendary Gold Coast Room, exuded a sense of grandeur that attracted both locals and international visitors.

Notable Guests and Events

Over the years, The Drake Hotel has played host to numerous notable guests and witnessed many significant events. It has welcomed celebrities, politicians, and royalty from around the world. The hotel has been a favorite choice for presidents, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama, who have all stayed at The Drake during their visits to Chicago.

One of the most famous events associated with The Drake is the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop. Since its opening, the hotel has been hosting this glamorous tradition, attracting thousands of attendees who gather to celebrate the arrival of the new year in style. The Drake’s stunning facade serves as the backdrop for this iconic Chicago tradition.

Historical Significance

The Drake Hotel holds historical significance not only for its architectural beauty but also for its role in shaping Chicago’s cultural and social scene. It has witnessed significant moments in American history, including the Prohibition era, during which the hotel’s speakeasies became popular among the city’s socialites.

Today, The Drake Hotel continues to be a symbol of elegance and luxury in Chicago. It has been designated as a Chicago Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The hotel has undergone renovations and updates over the years to maintain its timeless appeal while offering modern amenities to its guests.

For more information about The Drake Hotel and its fascinating history, you can visit their official website

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. – The Current Owners

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. is a renowned hospitality company that operates and franchises hotels and resorts globally. With a rich history spanning over a century, Hilton has become a household name in the hospitality industry, known for its exceptional service, luxurious accommodations, and innovative approach to guest experiences. With a portfolio of over 6,000 properties in 119 countries and territories, Hilton is a true global leader in the hotel industry.

Acquisition of The Drake Hotel:

In 1996, the Drake Hotel was purchased by Hilton International, a renowned hospitality conglomerate. Recognizing the historical importance and timeless appeal of the hotel, Hilton embarked on a significant $45 million renovation program in 1998, aimed at modernizing its facilities while preserving its historic charm. This renovation spanned five years, culminating in 2003. Further upgrades were undertaken in 2005 and 2006, with a $15 million investment towards a new fitness center, an executive conference center, and fresh furnishings in all guest rooms.

The Drake’s ownership was consolidated in 2005 when Hilton Hotels Corporation acquired Hilton International, incorporating The Drake Hotel into the larger Hilton Family of Hotels and fortifying its place in Chicago’s luxury hospitality scene.

Hilton’s Influence on The Drake:

Since taking ownership, Hilton has invested in numerous renovations and updates to ensure The Drake Hotel continues to provide a remarkable guest experience. The hotel has undergone extensive refurbishments to preserve its historical charm while incorporating modern amenities and design elements. Hilton’s commitment to excellence is evident in the superior service and attention to detail that guests can expect during their stay at The Drake.

Furthermore, as part of the Hilton portfolio, The Drake Hotel benefits from the company’s extensive network and resources. This includes access to Hilton’s renowned loyalty program, Hilton Honors, which provides guests with exclusive benefits such as room upgrades, late checkout, and access to unique experiences. The affiliation with Hilton also allows The Drake Hotel to tap into the company’s global marketing strategies, ensuring it remains a premier destination for travelers visiting Chicago.

For more information about Hilton Worldwide and The Drake Hotel, please visit and

The Architectural Significance of The Drake Hotel

The Drake Hotel in Chicago is not only a renowned landmark but also holds great architectural significance. Its design and construction, architectural style, and preservation efforts all contribute to its iconic status.

Design and Construction

The Drake Hotel was designed by the architectural firm Marshall and Fox and was completed in 1920. The design of the hotel was inspired by French Renaissance architecture, which is evident in its grandeur and ornate detailing. The construction of the hotel was a massive undertaking, with over 600 workers involved in the process. The use of high-quality materials, such as limestone and marble, further enhances its architectural appeal.

Architectural Style

The Drake Hotel showcases the Beaux-Arts architectural style, which was popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This style is characterized by its grandeur, symmetry, and classical elements. The exterior of the hotel features elaborate cornices, pilasters, and decorative motifs. The interior is equally impressive, with grand ballrooms, ornate chandeliers, and luxurious finishes. The attention to detail and craftsmanship are evident throughout the building, making it a prime example of Beaux-Arts architecture.

Preservation Efforts

The preservation of The Drake Hotel has been a priority for both its owners and the city of Chicago. In 1980, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, recognizing its architectural significance. The hotel has undergone several restoration projects to maintain its original charm and beauty. This includes the preservation of its iconic Gold Coast Room, which features 23-karat gold leaf detailing and has hosted numerous historic events.

The Drake Hotel’s architectural significance extends beyond its design and construction. It has become a symbol of Chicago’s rich architectural heritage and continues to be a beloved landmark in the city. Its preservation efforts ensure that future generations can appreciate its beauty and historical value.

The Drake Hotel: A Beloved Chicago Institution

The Drake Hotel is an iconic landmark in the heart of Chicago. It has been a symbol of elegance and luxury since it first opened its doors in 1920. Over the years, it has become a beloved institution that is deeply ingrained in the city’s cultural fabric.

Cultural Impact

The Drake Hotel holds a special place in the hearts of both locals and visitors alike. Its grandeur and timeless beauty have made it a popular destination for weddings, special events, and high-profile conferences. Celebrities and dignitaries from around the world have graced its halls, adding to its allure and prestige. From its stunning architecture to its world-class service, The Drake Hotel continues to be a symbol of Chicago’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Contributions to the Chicago Skyline

With its distinctive Beaux-Arts style architecture, The Drake Hotel stands tall as a prominent feature of the Chicago skyline. Its iconic rooftop sign has become a recognizable symbol of the city. The hotel’s design and prominence have inspired other buildings in the area, contributing to the overall architectural landscape of Chicago. The Drake Hotel’s presence is a testament to the city’s commitment to preserving and celebrating its architectural heritage.

Role in the Local Community

Beyond its cultural and architectural significance, The Drake Hotel plays an important role in the local community. It provides employment opportunities for many Chicago residents and supports local businesses through partnerships and collaborations. The hotel also hosts charitable events and fundraisers, giving back to various organizations and causes within the city. The Drake Hotel’s commitment to the community is a testament to its dedication to not only providing exceptional hospitality but also being a responsible corporate citizen.

The Drake Hotel is truly a Chicago institution that has left an indelible mark on the city’s landscape and culture. Its rich history, architectural beauty, and commitment to the local community make it a beloved destination for both residents and visitors. Whether you’re staying at the hotel or simply admiring it from afar, The Drake Hotel is a testament to Chicago’s greatness.


As a possession of Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., The Drake Hotel continues to uphold its reputation for elegance and grandeur. This iconic hotel’s storied past, architectural beauty, and cultural significance make it more than just a place to stay – it’s a piece of Chicago’s rich history. The Drake’s impact extends beyond its luxurious rooms and stunning views, as it contributes to the city’s skyline and serves as a social hub for both locals and visitors. So, the next time you walk past this grand establishment, you’ll know the story of who owns The Drake Hotel and the role it plays in the heart of Chicago.

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