by Matt Alderton | April 14, 2016

Groups in Chicago sometimes have a "Goldilocks" problem: The city's convention center is too large and its hotels are too small; what they need, and what's missing, is an in-between venue that's just right.

Five hotels in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood -- bounded by Michigan Avenue to the west, Lake Michigan to the east, and the Chicago River to the south -- have formed a new alliance with the goal of filling the gap. Called the River East Collection, the alliance includes the Sheraton Grand Chicago, the Loews Chicago Hotel, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile, the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, and the Doubletree Chicago Magnificent Mile, which collectively offer more than 3,300 guest rooms and over 235,000 square feet of meeting space.

Together, the hotels' national sales teams will target groups of 1,500 to 2,800 people. Those in need of a large function space will be able to utilize the 170,000-square-foot Festival Hall at nearby Navy Pier, as well as the Sheraton Grand's 40,000-square-foot ballroom (pictured), which is Chicago's largest hotel ballroom.

Members of the River East Collection also are exploring dine-around programs and reciprocal perks, whereby meeting attendees could show their room key for a food and beverage discount or other incentive across the group of hotels.

"We wanted to bring a viable option on the table for groups that are too large for a single hotel, yet not in need of expansive convention center space," said Sheraton Grand Chicago General Manger Mark Lauer. "In forming this collaboration amongst the five hotels we are able deliver a turnkey solution for meeting planners who might have bypassed Chicago in the past. With the River East Collection, we are now on the radar for more conventions and associations looking to host an event. The goal here is to make sure the City of Chicago can court groups of all sizes, especially the 1,500 to 2,800 attendees that this initiative was strategically built around."


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