The Blackstone is back

CHICAGO The hotel closed in 1999 and has sat vacant since. But, now the so-called "Hotel of Presidents" is welcoming guests.

A turn of the century luxury hotel, the Blackstone was built between 1908 and 1910. Mayor Daley attended the ribbon cutting on Wednesday.

"It is not only a grand hotel ... but it also has the heart and soul of the history of the city of Chicago."

The Blackstone, after several years of hard times, closed in 1999. The Beatles Maharishi bought the place to turn into condos, but that didn't happen. Nothing happened until Sage Hospitality started rehabbing it two years ago.

"Basically we gutted the Blackstone from top to bottom ... and all 330 rooms. All the public space, the Crystal Ballroom. We spent over 100 million dollars restoring it to it's original grandeur," said Walter Isenberg, pres. and CEO of Sage Hospitality.

It's called the Hotel of Presidents for many different reasons -- twelve different reasons.

"We had many great presidents stay with us. Teddy Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Coolidge, Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon and Carter," said Ryan Buck, Senior Sales Manger Blackstone.

The presidential suite, at $3,000 a night, has been totally restored to its glory days.

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