The Blackstone Hotel was designed by architect Benjamin Marshall, of Marshall and Fox, in 1909 and is often known as “The Hotel of Presidents.”
The Blackstone is a 22-floor rectangular structure and its structural steel frame is cased in tile and plaster fireproofing. The exterior south and east elevations is a one-story base of pink granite with high arched openings. The Blackstone Hotel has been dubbed “The Hotel of Presidents.” It was once considered one of Chicago’s finest luxury hotels, and a dozen 20th-century U.S presidents have stayed at the hotel.
Unfortunately, years of neglect following the closing of the hotel took a toll on the building’s appearance, with both interior and exterior façade crumbling. In 2005, it was announced that the hotel would undergo an extensive renovation in a deal between Marriott International/Renaissance Hotels and Sage Hospitality Group. The city of Chicago provided $13.0 million for street-front improvements, including the restoration and recasting of over 10,000 pieces of decorative terra cotta. The project also received federal tax credits due to the building’s status as a historical landmark. James McHugh Construction was the general contractor for the project and Auburn Corporation provided the window replacement. The design firm handling the renovation was Illinois-based Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. The restoration resulted in 332 rooms, 12 suites, and 13,230 square feet of meeting space. Only two guest rooms were preserved during the restoration: the famous ninth-floor “smoke-filled room” and the original tenth-floor presidential suite.