Chicago’s Allerton Hotel Relaunches after $12M Renovation

The landmark Allerton Hotel on the “Magnificent Mile” of Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue has relaunched following a $12 million renovation. The project included the redesign of all guest rooms and public spaces, the relocation of the front desk from the third floor to its original site on the second floor, and the creation of a new restaurant/bar/lounge known as M Avenue and new ballrooms and meeting spaces. The hotel remained open during the five-month renovation. Andrea Mayer, the Allerton’s general manager, told CPN that the 443-room hotel’s interior décor is “W-esque,” in reference to the chic Starwood brand. She described the look as 1920s Art Deco, cool and sophisticated in an old Hollywood way, which is in contrast to the opulent look the hotel had when new. Built in 1922, the 25-story hotel was designated a landmark by the City of Chicago in 1998. Between August 1998 and May 1999, it underwent a $60 million restoration, reopening as the Allerton Crowne Plaza Hotel. In November 2006, the Allerton was purchased by the Oxford Lodging Group for $70 million. The hotel, which is not currently branded, is owned by a joint venture of Chartres Lodging Group LLC (formerly Oxford Lodging), San Francisco, and Perry Capital, New York. “There’s definitely a place in Chicago for independent hotels,” Mayer said, not least because not being a chain affiliate gives the Allerton’s management more flexibility. The Allerton is best known among some Chicagoans for being the final venue, from 1963 to 1968, for “The Breakfast Club,” a long-running ABC radio show hosted by Don McNeill. With its mix of music, humor, guests and audience participation, the show is considered a predecessor of sorts to Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” McNeill still holds the record for longest tenure by an emcee on a network entertainment program, beating both Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” (29 years) and Bob Barker on “The Price is Right” (nearly 35 years).