Apr. 30th, 2013

The Talbott Hotel: Classic Victorian Splendor in Downtown Chicago

the talbott hotel chicago exterior
Photo Credit: Columbia Hillen
A peculiar-looking cow—its red and black colored back reminding me of a giant ladybug—walking up the front sandstone façade of the building means The Talbott Hotel in downtown Chicago is hard to miss. Its entrance, with twin potted plants, ash-gray overhanging awning, polished glass and brass doors, and a valet in full livery, reminded me of a bygone era—a Private Gentlemens' Club in Victorian London.

Neither image is quite what it seems; the cow is sculpted from fused plastic materials, leftover from an innovative city arts exhibition; and the hotel, while demonstrating delightful aspects of what one might indeed term exclusivity, is open to everyone.
the talbott hotel chicago lobby
Photo courtesy of The Talbott Hotel

If location is a key consideration of your planned visit to the Windy City, then you would be hard-pressed to find accommodations more convenient than The Talbott. The 86-year-old hotel is situated in the heart of the Gold Coast shopping district, fronting East Delaware, close to Wabash Avenue and a stone’s throw from North Michigan Avenue, the John Hancock Building and the Water Tower.

The old world luxuriance that the 4-star hotel’s front entrance hints at, radiates beyond its revolving doors. Stepping into the lobby seemed as if we had stepped back in time, for all around us was the essence of a classic, upper-class English countryside manor: chandeliers; magenta and duck egg-colored textile wallpaper with a floral motif; an abundance of mahogany paneling; antique clocks; a fireplace; an elegant marble floor; plush leather settees; and chairs and stucco ceiling.
the talbott hotel chicago lobby
Photo Credit: Columbia Hillen

Enhancing this impression further, shelves and walls are replete with hunting themes—framed paintings of riders in black hats and scarlet coats and polished hunting horns, bugles and a bronze statue of two horses as ornaments. The Victorian motif is also captured in a large framed coat of arms and black and white photos of women in 19th century dresses.

The hunting theme even extended to our bedroom (I was told average room size is 375 square feet, with suites being 825) with gold leaf framed paintings depicting fox and hound chase scenes hanging from the walls. We were located right beside the main elevator, but not a single sound disturbed our sleep during our three-night stay. Heavy, olive colored drapes across three windows looking out over Delaware provided ample privacy from the busy street below.
the talbott hotel chicago guest room
Photo courtesy of The Talbott Hotel

A full-size mirror decorated one wall, beside which was a large walk-in cupboard. The half canopy bed, featuring Frette premium linens, was a picture of elegance, complete with an ornate, darkwood headboard, though we did find the light from the bedside lamps not quite strong enough to encourage late night reading. Dressing table drawer space was more than plentiful, one having six drawers and two, located either side of the bed, with three in each.

There was also a brass-handled, five-drawer writing desk with decorative lamp atop. Added comfort was provided by a cozy armchair with adjoining leather footrest, not to mention fluffy, Toga-like towels, soft, fluffy robes and a coffee maker. The spacious bathroom contained both a bathtub, a separate walk-in shower and twin wash hand basins.
the talbott hotel chicago Little Market Brasserie
Photo courtesy of The Talbott Hotel

Little Market Brasserie is the name of The Talbott’s restaurant, entered through a contemporary bar area open to the lobby. The venue features dishes inspired by classic French Brasseries with menu items including short rib-cognac poutine and cheese curds, its own version of French Fries. The brasserie also hosts breakfast where we ate a rather ordinary eggs Benedict.

While The Talbott doesn’t have its own in-house gym facilities, guests have free access to the nearby 30,000-square-foot Equinox Fitness Club, that features a full-service spa, yoga and Pilates studios, a cycling room, personal trainers and a lap pool. While we didn't need too much assistance from staff so interaction was minimal, we found their service to be helpful, efficient and unassuming.
The Talbott Hotel chicago exterior
Photo courtesy of The Talbott Hotel

Want a complete Travel Quote including airfare, special hotel rates and FREE upgrades? Contact our Travel Specialist today!With such a delightful mix of historical, contemporary and avant-garde style reflected in its architecture, museums and entertainment, Chicago offered us a long-to-be-remembered holiday, and staying at The Talbott Hotel was an important element of that.
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