Loop Hotels Go Wild!

I’m planning a month-long trip for next month and of course circumstances are very different compared to travel in prior years.

For a start, we may be witnessing a pent up demand for rail travel. I’m probably averaging a half-dozen inquiries week from first-time train travelers who have come across this site and found it to be a source of good information. And my impeccable source at Amtrak says that, across the entire system, the railroad has been getting 300,000 first-time riders a month. 

But it’s my personal observation that the rush to travel seems also to have affected the cost of hotel rooms . . . most especially, and most painfully for me, hotel rooms in Chicago. 

I spent an hour on line yesterday afternoon trying to find a hotel room in downtown Chicago because I’ll be there overnight between trains in the first week of October. The Palmer House is a favorite of mine and I’ve stayed there 15 0r 20 times in recent years for a rate that’s usually been between $200 and $300. So I checked their web site first.

Holy crap!!

You want the Palmer House for the first week of October? Well, pal, it’ll cost you at least a grand! And, yes, that’s for one night in a standard room with a king-sized bed. The rate for one night: $745.00. But when they add tax, the total bumps to $1017. That’s for one room and for one night. Meals are extra.

I shopped for hotel rooms for another hour, but most other newer hotels in downtown Chicago had rates as high or even higher than the Palmer House.

Thank you, but no. For that one night, I’ll be staying elsewhere. It ain’t the Palmer House, but it’s cheaper by almost two thirds.

Here’s the thing: The Palmer House will probably sell out with the cheapest rooms going for $1000 a night. The next afternoon, I’ll be on the Zephyr and for the first 30 minutes after we roll out of Union Station, we’ll be passing neighborhoods where entire families are trying to live on $1000 a month.

Somehow we have to find a way to fix that.


  1. Whenever I’m on the SW Chief to/from CHI, I take the Blue Line towards O’Hare and stay at the Embassy Suites. Loop hotels too expensive for me

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