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Price: $16,000 a month
The Property: I know you know the Drake Hotel, but do you know this? For $16,000 a month, you can rent a four-bedroom, 4,000-square-foot apartment on the top floor of the east wing.
Of course, the Drake is known for its grandeur. You enter through a very beautiful lobby with the Palm Court off to the side and all the trappings of luxury all around. The route from there to the apartment is confidential, but what I can tell you is we end up on the tenth floor.
When you come into the apartment, the lake is spread out before you. You see the beaches and Lake Shore Drive stretching all the way north from your very large living room window. The living and dining rooms are the main rooms you come into—and as I point out in today’s video, it’s minimally furnished now because it’s not occupied. The idea is that the renter brings in furnishings and paintings and the rest that a level of luxury that this space deserves.
Joan Fox, the agent representing the apartment showed me around the apartment, which I hadn’t realized existed. “It’s a well-kept secret,” she says in the video. Fox says Tracy and John Drake, the brothers who built the hotel, first lived in this space, and later it was used by managers of the hotel. It only became a rental apartment about a dozen years ago, she says.
The first tenant, for about seven years, was the Brazilian consul, Fox says, followed by “a royal family from Austria and Russia.” That couple moved out recently, although the Crain’s article about them seems to confuse this apartment with more lavish suites at the Drake where Princess Diana and others have stayed.
Although large and comfortable, this is not a grand space, but more of a family home; the last renters, Fox says, had a child going to school in Chicago. And in fact, the best room in the apartment is the family room. While the very large living and dining room have a flat plane of windows looking north, in the family room is a corner of north and east windows overlooking one of the best pieces of Chicago’s lakefront, Oak Street Beach. The family room has original, moldings and flooring and is big enough that it includes a casual dining area. And while tenants in the apartment have access to all the Drake’s room service and restaurants, there is a full kitchen next to the family room.
There are four bedrooms in all. The master bedroom is on the west side of the apartment, looking down over the hotel’s stately architecture to Michigan Avenue and the beach. It has a master bath and two big dressing rooms. In the east section of the apartment are three more bedrooms. And one thing about renting an apartment in a hotel is, they have a lot of beds. If one of these bedrooms has, say, two twin beds and you want a double, they can swap it out instantly. Each of the three bedrooms has ample closet space, but the farthest-back bedroom has an enormous closet space. It was apparently built for steamer trunks. Two stories high, it has nearly as much space as you’d get in the basement of a suburban home.
And like a home, “you may not rent it for one night,” Fox says. “You may not even rent it for the summer. I have requests for that. We rent this suite on a yearly basis with a lease and most people who have done that stay longer because they love living here.
Price Points: The $16,000 monthly rent also covers daily housekeeping, use of the hotel’s fitness center, concierge and bell staff. The tenants pay for room service and valet parking. For high-end renters who would prefer more of a neighborhood setting to the Drake apartment’s hotel atmosphere, there’s this $18,000-a-month rental in Lincoln Park, which Fox also represents. It has an indoor lap pool, a glassy contemporary family room space in the back, and a private yard.