If you’re from Chicago, you’ve heard of Daniel Burnham, and if you’ve read the book
“Devil in the White City” you’ve heard of him too—he was one of Chicago’s most famous architects who was also connected with the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, aka Chicago’s World Fair. After reading the book years ago, I took a walking tour connected with it –and that's when I first discovered the historic Reliance Building on State Street that Burnham helped design in 1894-95—and which (since 1999) is now the Burnham Hotel. As soon as I walked in its cozy lobby with stone fireplace, saw the mosaic floor, the iron elevator grillwork, marble staircase, hotel room doors that were the original office wooden doors with mail slots, I knew I wanted to stay there. And once I did, I have returned again and again—it’s my favorite hotel to stay at when I’m visiting Chicago. I try to reserve a room in the northeast corner of the building, with the distinctive Chicago style bay windows that overlook the Chicago Theater’s famous neon sign. The rooms are smaller than you may find at some of the bigger chains, but still have all the amenities. The location puts me close to an Intelligentsia coffeehouse, Garrett’s popcorn shop, the Chicago Cultural Museum, Millennium Park, and the Art Institute of Chicago. The room unlocks with a solid key on a ring—no plastic card. I love it.