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The Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel Review: This hotel was originally opened in 1871, just thirteen days before the Great Chicago Fire reduced it to ashes. Chicago real estate baron Potter Palmer immediately built a new hotel on the site --- at three times the size of the original and ten times the cost. It was the first Chicago hotel to have fireproofing, elevators, electricity and telephones, and was the home-away-from-home of such colorful figures as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde. Right in the middle of the Loop, this 1,639-room hotel has all the usual guest services. Although standard rooms tend to run small, they were rejuvenated with the Palmer House's history in mind, so that each is individually decorated with turn-of-the-century details and art, as well as modern amenities. Suites are more than oversized, featuring such luxuries as in-room pool tables. Fear not, though: Even without a pool table in your room, there's no shortage of entertainment on hand. Located on "State Street, that great street," the hotel is within walking distance of shopping, Millennium Park, Willis Tower, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus.