The Blackstone Hotel
Last night we were blessed with one of those picturesque spring nights in Chicago where all you need to explore the city is a light jacket and the confidence to breeze past any doorman in your way. There are so many building in the South Loop I haven't explored yet so I was happy to knock one off my list last night. The Blackstone Hotel on the corner of Michigan and Balbo was known as the "Hotel of Presidents" for much of the 20th century. However, it fell into disrepair in 2000 and has been going through much-needed renovation and repairs after its purchase by the Renaissance Hotels of Marriott International in 2008. We discovered that the makeover has been going well, waltzing past the security guard to the three-story staircase and sleeping concierge that greeted us in the main lobby. To our surprise, the elevator did not require a room key to explore any of the 23 floors of the building so we took it straight up to the top to see if there was any possibility of rooftop access. Pushing past the yellow caution tape that awaited us as soon as the elevator doors slid open, we saw deconstructed rooms and unfinished ceilings. It was incredibly spooky. My favorite floor we saw was Art Hall; modern art lit up brightly with chandeliers and mirrors from a previous era. It's crazy that this is the very hotel that Al Capone smashed a guest's head with a baseball bat in The Untouchables, and where Tom Cruise's pre-pool tourney stay was in The Color of Money. I'm excited to return after the renovations are completed and the hotel is restored back to its glory days where it hosted the likes of Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal, and Johnny Griffen, to name only a very very few.