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Lobby of the Palmer House Hilton Hotel Chicago
Laura Motta/Palmer House

Tis the season to head to the city of Chicago — if you can bear the cold, and if you’re looking for great value, that is. Yes, this time of year brings low temperatures, but it’s also the time that brings amazing savings at the city’s many excellent hotels. I recently had the opportunity to visit a trio of the city’s Hilton properties — the historic Palmer House, the Hilton Chicago, and the Conrad — to explore a savings package that all three are currently offering called, fittingly, Chillcation.

So, what do you get? The offerings vary slightly from property to property, but the Palmer House package includes daily buffet breakfast for two, complimentary guestroom internet, mugs with unlimited hot chocolate or coffee refills, discounted parking and spa treatments, and a buy-one-get-one deal on the resident historian’s fascinating tour of the property. All of that provides more than $75 in additional value.


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In short, it’s a nice deal. With rates in February as low as $124 per night, and in March as low as $154 per night, it’s a great way to enjoy lavish surroundings and great extras for a relatively low price. Our favorite perk included here is the breakfast, which normally costs $21 per person per day. Lockwood, the hotel’s restaurant, is situated in a modern alcove off the glittering lobby and offers modishly sheathed chandeliers and sleek furniture along with excellent fare.


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And about that lobby. With an enormous, meticulously restored ceiling fresco by French painter Louis Pierre Rigal and Tiffany lighting fixtures, the historic space buzzes into the evening — even, and maybe especially, in the dead of winter — with both gawking guests and locals enjoying drinks from the Lockwood bar. To learn more about the building itself, join the History is Hott tour with Ken Prince, who will lead you through not just the lobby, but also the hotel’s ballrooms and other spaces that aren’t typically open to the public. The tour, which includes lunch at Lockwood, normally costs $65 but is buy-one-get-one with the Chillcation package. The best part? You don’t even have to venture out into the Chicago cold to enjoy a signature part of the city’s culture.

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