140 East Walton Place

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The Drake is located where the Magnificent Mile, Chicago's premier luxury shopping, dining, and entertainment area, begins: at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Lakeshore drive. Centrally located, it's the ultimate location where the ultimate in accommodations, services, and dining come together. "The Drake Hotel is a Chicago landmark and the symbol of white glove elegance for over 80 years." (3)


The Drake Legacy

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Construction on The Drake began in 1920 by the self-taught, novice architect Ben Marshall, who was known for his Italian Renaissance style. It was he who decided in 1917 that the area where The Drake is now located, would be Chicago 's most prominent area, and should therefore be the site for The Drake. In order to do so, Ben Marshall persuaded hotelmen John and Tracy Drake to construct this luxury hotel. They did this on reclaimed land from an area previously occupied by Lake Michigan . Marshall 's Italian Renaissance style reflects the formal composition and detail of the Italian palaces of Renaissance Rome and Florence . The land, construction and furnishings for The Drake led a total construction cost of $10,000,000. (5)

The Drake's reputation and fame are such that its name has reached all corners of the world. Visiting royalty and heads-of-state often reside at The Drake while in Chicago . Since its opening on New Year's Eve 1920, The Drake has accumulated guest book signatures of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and Princess Diana of England, King Hussein of Jordan, Nehru of India, Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, Presidents Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Regan, and many celebrities such as Charles Lindbergh, Walt Disney and Elizabeth Taylor. (5)

The Drake is one of only two United States hotels owned by Hilton International. It has 537 bedrooms and 74 suites, a six-room Presidential Suite, several restaurants, two large ballrooms and the " Palm Court ," a country-club-like private lobby. (4) High tea at The Drake is almost always on tourists' check list for essential activities in the city. (5)


The Drake Hotel in Literature and Popular Culture

Movie/TV Filmed at THe Drake - (5)

Time and Time Again (1980)

Risky Business (1983)

What Women Want (2000)

Jamie Kennedy Experiment (2003)

Flags of Our Fathers (2005)

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The Drake Hotel in Culture and Literature

The Drake Hotel's rich history and association with all things Chicago mirrors the realist style found within the majority of the works we read in English 280 throughout the semester. The Drake Hotel watched on as Chicago hosted The World's Fair, dealt with prohibition and Al Capone, and has made cameo appearances in popular culture and literature.

Saul Bellow, among the most famous of the Chicagoan novelists, has sited The Drake Hotel in many of his novels. Specifically, although the room is never directly mentioned, we can imagine Augie March sitting and drinking a cocktail in The Drake's Coq d'Or bar lounge in Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March. Jeffrey Eugenides, author of Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides spent much of his time in The Drake's Cape Cod Room after first moving to Chicago . Moreover, and most relevant to the literature we have read in class, in Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie , Hurstwood stops Carrie's questioning by relying on a job opportunity at the soon-to-be-opened Drake Hotel. (7)

Aside from The Drake's part in the movies listed above, The Drake Hotel has been the setting for much of Chicagoan literature, and the creative thinking ground for its authors.


Dining, Shopping, Entertainment (5)


Cape Cod Room ~ A seafood restaurant. The atmosphere is "cozy, nautical decor, with copper pots hanging from the ceiling, red and white checked tablecloths, with stuffed fish, lobster and crab adorning the walls."

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Drake Brothers' Steaks ~ In 1918, the Drake brothers contemplated a restaurant for their soon to be opened Drake Hotel which brought together an "unparalleled dining experience, breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, the best steaks Chicago could supply with great wines from around the world;" their realization was Drake Brothers' Steaks.

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Palm Court ~ An elegant area within the hotel's lobby to enjoy English afternoon tea, cocktails, and a Jazz trio performing five nights a week.

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Coq d'Or ~ An intimate cocktail lounge famous for their "Executive Drinks," lunch, and late-night, dining options in an atmosphere reminiscent of an old New England pub.

Image Taken from www.TheDrakeHotel.com

Shopping (5)

The Chanel Designer Shop

George Jensen Jewelers

Kamp Galleries

TD Waterhouse Banking

Mangel Florist

W.H. Smith Sundries

Photo taken from www.TheDrakeHotel.com