CONVENTION CENTERS & FACILITIES
McCormick Place (2.6 million sf of exhibit space; 600,000 sf of meeting space)
PINNACLE AWARDS GO TO:
• Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau
• JW Marriott Chicago
• Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
• Swissôtel Chicago
• The Wit Hotel
The Windy City's skyline is seeing some new additions
Chicago’s hotel scene is ever-expanding. This summer, the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place is expected to complete the second phase of a multimillion-dollar expansion project. Phase two includes a complete renovation of its 800-room tower, expanded seating for the hotel’s restaurant, and the construction of a second private dining room. Phase one, which began in December 2011, saw the construction of a 460-room tower that is also expected to be completed this summer. Phase three, which is scheduled to begin in early 2014, will focus on the hotel lobby, the renovation of the 25,000-square-foot Hyatt Conference Center, the addition of three new boardrooms, and the construction of a new business center.
In April, the Hyatt Regency Chicago completed a $168-million redevelopment project to enhance its guest rooms and impressive meeting space, which consists of 228,000 square feet of function space divided across four ballrooms, 63 meeting rooms, and the 70,000-square-foot Riverside Exhibition Center. The renovation also included a reimagining of the property’s in-house restaurant, Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi.
Later this year, the new, boutique Godfrey Hotel Chicago will open with 220 rooms, a 24-hour fitness center, and a 12,000-square-foot rooftop bar and lounge.
In July, the Langham Chicago Hotel will open in a landmark building designed by celebrated architect Mies van der Rohe. The riverfront property will be a “haven of European hospitality,” with 316 rooms, a 9,000-square-foot Chuan Spa, 15,000 square feet of meeting space, and new dining options to rival the brand’s other Michelin-starred restaurants.
Meanwhile, the Renaissance North Shore Hotel is embarking on a $7.5-million revamp, which will first benefit its 22,000 square feet of meeting space, including the Northbrook Ballroom and the Greenery, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows. The renovation will also overhaul the guest rooms.
In June, the 180-room Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown is slated to open in Chicago’s famed River North area, which is a short walk from the shopping delights of the Magnificent Mile and the energetic nightlife of Hubbard Street.
Also in June, the 212-room Hyatt Place Chicago Downtown River North is scheduled to open on bustling Hubbard Street.
The same month, the chic, modern Aloft Chicago City Center will open with 272 rooms, free Wi-Fi, plug-and-play connectivity centers in rooms, and state-of-the-art meeting space. It will cater to business travelers and also feature a swanky hotel bar.
And in late 2013 or early 2014, Virgin Hotels will open a new location in the historic Dearborn Bank Building in the Loop. Design details have been sparse thus far, but potential guests are told to expect a stylish and elegant property with 250 rooms.
Looking ahead, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority announced the building of a 1,200-room headquarters hotel adjacent to McCormick Place. The McCormick Place Headquarters Hotel will double the convention center’s nearby hotel room count and allow conventions and meetings to use a single property as their headquarters.
Meanwhile, in spring 2014, Inter-Continental Hotel Group will open a 145-room hotel in a long-vacant Michigan Avenue building, to be called the Hotel Indigo Chicago-Millennium Park. The century-old building will be gutted and refurbished to accommodate a rooftop bar and multi-level restaurant.
At some point that same year, the SOHO House Hotel will open in Chicago. The six-story private club and hotel will include a full-sized pool, rooftop bar, and three restaurants.
In January 2015, Loews Hotels & Resorts plans to open a property with 390 luxury apartments, 400 guest rooms, and 25,000 square feet of meeting space.
Finally, there is also good news for allergy sufferers: Last fall, the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile added 20 additional PURE Rooms, which refresh rooms, treat every surface, and remove up to 99 percent of pollutants so guests with allergies can breathe easier. The rooms also feature hypoallergenic pillows and mattresses.
On the dining front, this year has seen numerous new spots open in the Windy City. In February, Chef Fabio Viviani of Top Chef’s fifth season opened Italian eatery Siena Tavern in the River North neighborhood. March saw the unveiling of Central Standard downtown, which is decorated with and serves items from the Central Standard time zone. The concept encompasses the entire area from the tip of the Dakotas to the Gulf Coast. Other restaurants that opened this spring include Howells & Hood, which offers globally inspired cuisine in the landmark Tribune Tower; the amped-up American Junkie, which features a descending DJ booth; and MileNorth Hotel’s Ferris & Jack, a casual, eclectic eatery inspired by two beloved Chicago firsts — the Ferris Wheel and Cracker Jack, which were introduced at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.