Focus On… The Historically Hip Blackstone Hotel
By Angela Fairhurst
Located in the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue is Chicago’s historic The Blackstone Hotel. Originally built and designed in 1909 by architectural firm Marshall and Fox, it is a Chicago landmark named after Timothy Blackstone, a notable business executive and politician.
RENOVATIONS & DECOR
After changing ownership over the years, Marriott meticulously restored the hotel in 2008 with a renovation costing $139 million. Summer of 2017 brought about the hotel’s most recent interior design refresh led by Chicago’s The Gettys Group, following which The Blackstone was transferred from Marriott’s Renaissance division into the distinguished and diverse Autograph Hotels division. The refresh updated the soft goods in all 335 guest rooms and suites, as well as public and event spaces.
Timothy Blackstone was an art curator donating pieces to the Art Institute of Chicago. In keeping with the spirit of the hotel’s namesake, a carefully commissioned collection of over 1,600 contemporary works primarily by emerging local artists hang throughout the hotel in public spaces, meeting rooms and guest rooms.
FOOD & DRINK
MERCAT a la Planza is a modern-day take of Spanish cuisine with an emphasis on the food of Catalonia. This culinary adventure includes everything from street food starters and grilled specialties to classic dishes.
Timothy’s Hutch Lobby Lounge is the Blackstone’s new 1960s happy hour lounge serving distinctive cocktails and a wine list inspired by Timothy Blackstone. Open nightly, the hutch is the middle of the lobby.
The hotel has some fun partners for guests to enjoy.
The Blackstone pays attention to the details starting with bespoke room keys. There are unique goodies in the rooms including a Blackstone Robe (black of course), a Chicago Coloring book, and tales of past presidents encouraging guests to create their own history.
Buddy Guy’s Legends is a premiere blues club conveniently located a block away from The Blackstone. The Blackstone has an exclusive partnership with Buddy Guy’s Legends where guest receive 50% off admission to the club by presenting their hotel room key.
Koval Distillery is the first distillery in the city since the mid-1800s, The Blackstone partnered with the Koval to create a hand-selected, single barrel batch of whiskey, which is available to hotel guests and locals at Timothy’s Hutch, The Blackstone’s lobby cocktail lounge.
Hotel guests have exclusive access to The Iwan Ries Lounge, downtown Chicago’s only smoking lounge. Through this partnership, The Blackstone becomes the first hotel to hold a member locker in The Iwan Ries Lounge in the shop’s 160-year history.
The Field Museum connects guests with the renowned and diverse artifacts and experiences that define Chicago.
Timothy Blackstone funded The Art Institute of Chicago’s T.B. Blackstone Collection of Architectural Casts through an unrestricted gift to the Art Institute of Chicago in his will, and donated a piece from his private collection, The Family Concert by Jan Steen, to the museum in 1891. The Blackstone celebrates its artistic legacy through a partnership with the Institute.