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History

History

1923 - 2024

A history of glitz and glam.

Built in 1923, and named after the street, our property began simply as The Belden. Billed as “One of Chicago’s most distinctive hotels” the 450-unit property was developed by Charles H. Lott (who built the Webster and Parkway Hotels) and had interiors designed by the W.P. Nelson Company, which stood “foremost in every detail of decorative and painting work.”

The Grand Opening of The Belden took place on October 1st, 1923. The announcement was made a few weeks prior in the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune.

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1950-1990

DINING IN STYLE

In the 1950s Chicago residents celebrated special occasions at Ambria, an upscale French restaurant in the North wing of the hotel, opposite Un Grand Café. Today, Mon Ami Gabi proudly continues the bistro tradition in the space once occupied by Un Grand Café.

In the 1960s, the hotel housed Al Farber’s Steak Room, a Lincoln Park staple known for its savory dry rubs and “famous roast prime ribs of beef.”

In May of 1992, the famed hotel officially became part of the National Register of Historic Places.

a black and white photo of the front of a building  at The Belden Stratford, Illinois
a large lobby with couches and chairs and a table  at The Belden Stratford, Illinois, 60614

2000-2024

RECREATING THE PAST

In 2008, chef Laurent Gras opened L2O in the space once occupied by the famous French restaurant, Ambria. Standing for “Lake to Ocean,” L2O was one of only two restaurants in Chicago to receive 3 stars from the 2010 Michelin Guide.

To restore The Belden-Stratford to its former glory, architects and designers began to pore over the building’s history. The greatest insights came from the building’s landmark lobby and grand front entry. Everything from the tile to the plasterwork to crown moldings was carefully restored or recreated from scratch.

THE PRESENT

By exhaustively removing layers of renovation, primarily from the 1980s and 90s, the hotel’s historic character gradually came into focus while still complying with modern-day accessibility requirements. Today, many of the original colors, gilding, and plasterwork are on display for a new generation of residents. For those who call The Belden-Stratford home, the glitz and glam is back, and more distinctive than ever.