Midwest Living Review
Once host to the likes of Guy Lombardo and Cary Grant, Hotel Blackhawk (formerly the Blackhawk Hotel) was a symbol of elegance during the American Jazz Age. After years of steady decline, the hotel underwent a multimillion dollar renovation and reopened in December 2010 with a touch of both the classic and the contemporary. Complete with luxurious guest rooms, an upscale event space and a spa, the hotel -- now one of the Historic Hotels of America -- has been restored to its former glory and standing 11 stories tall overlooking the mighty Mississippi. Upon entering, guests are greeted by a marble foyer and friendly staff who will take your bags and guide you to the lobby, decked out in gold trim, plush seating and a refurbished stained-glass skylight. Conforming to original construction, rooms differ slightly in layout but all have an opulent Art Deco appearance and wear rich colors and textures. A burgundy chaise lounge coupled with a marble-and-brass drink stand seemed a perfect place to take in a good book. A leather headboard framed in dark wood was the focal point of the bed, made up in white linens. The room had its own wall-mounted thermostat -- no noisy window units. Rates run from $149. Small reminders of a bygone era remain, such as the brass mail chute that makes its way through every floor. However, the hotel has certainly moved into the 21st century with high-speed wireless Internet access, flat-screen televisions, and, perhaps most stunning, a second television embedded into the bathroom mirror of each room. Still, be prepared to deal with some of the quirks of an older building. The retooled elevators dawdle a bit. More than just a resting place, the hotel has a full-service restaurant, a hip bowling alley in the basement and an indoor pool. Just as it might have been in 1920, the hotel was hopping on a Saturday night, with a pianist playing in the lobby, a wedding party celebrating in the Gold Room, and friends and families meeting up for drinks in the lounge.