When we last visited the former Chicago Motor Club (now a Hampton Inn) in April, a vintage Model A Ford was being hoisted up to the mezzanine level, a tribute to the building’s past life.
If you enter the lobby at 68 E. Wacker Place now, it’s unmistakably a hotel, but with significant art deco elements. There are also many visual reminders of the motor car and the open road.
The Hampton Inn Michigan Avenue (no, its not technically on Michigan Ave.) was one of the 200 locations open to visitors during the 2015 Open House Chicago hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
You’ll find many reminders of the building’s past in the lobby, including a mural map of the U.S., which the motor club used to plan trips. The 17-story building was built in 1928. It’s now a 143-room hotel, that reopened earlier this year.
The north mezzanine level is where the 1928 Model A now sits. It’s only accessible via a stairwell behind the breakfast area. That zone is also labeled “staff only.” We felt that was merely a suggestion, not a directive. So, stealthily and quietly we entered the forbidden zone and climbed the stairs.
Voila! There sat the shiny Ford in all its splendor.