Swissôtel Chicago Keeps It’s Renovation Green
In November of 2011, the Four Diamond Swissôtel Chicago began the revitalization of its lobby and meeting space with an extensive $10 million renovation. The updates are inspired by the work of original architect Harry Weese, and will feature a harmonious blend of modern design and natural elements in calming earth tones. In addition to technological and aesthetic enhancements, Swissôtel Chicago is intent on maintaining its commitment to sound environmental practices during the process.
Throughout the updated lobby and meeting space, project designers chose to utilize as many eco-conscious, sustainable materials as possible, including tile, rugs, carpeting, and paint. These choices align with Swissôtel Chicago’s already strong commitment to the environment, exemplified by its global certification by the International Organization of Standardization for Quality and Environmental Management and Job Safety and Health Protection, as well as ISO 9001 Quality Management, ISO 14001 Environmental Management and OHSAS 18001 Job Safety and Health Protection certifications. Swissôtel Chicago uses energy-efficient lighting throughout the hotel, donates all unused amenity bottles to Chicago charity Bin Donated, and saves water by remaining linen-free, among other initiatives. “In keeping with Swissôtel’s commitment to environmentally responsible practices, we felt it was important to utilize as many eco-conscious materials as possible,” says Christy Hubbard, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C, Senior Project Designer of Gettys.
The Swissôtel Chicago offers 661 newly renovated guestrooms, suites and a new state-of-the-art, 38,000 square foot Event Centre. The all-glass triangular hotel, designed by Harry Weese, is wedged into the confluence of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan and features wrap-around views from Navy Pier to Millennium Park and The Magnificent Mile.
Swissôtel Chicago, www.SwissotelChicago.com
Kimpton Hotel Offers $175 “Toast to Chicago” Package
The city of Chicago recently celebrated its 175th birthday, and Kimpton’s Chicago hotels want to wish a big “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” to the Second City. For 175 days, Kimpton’s four Chicago hotels are offering a “Toast to Chicago” package for $175 per night, including a welcome birthday gift of our favorite locally-made goodies.
Known for distinct design, genuine service and playful amenities, Kimpton hotels of Chicago are a home-away-from-home for travelers of all types. The hotels are located in ideal neighborhoods, from the Loop District on up to River North, and offer a launching pad for Chi-town adventures 175 years in the making. Whether taking on museum hopping with family, girlfriends’ shopping escapades or boardroom marathons for business travelers, Chicago’s Kimpton hotels will make guests feel welcome in the Windy City.
Participating hotels include:
· Hotel Allegro: www.allegrochicago.com
· Hotel Burnham: www.burnhamhotel.com
· Hotel Monaco Chicago: www.monaco-chicago.com
· Hotel Palomar Chicago: www.hotelpalomar-chicago.com
Kimpton’s “Toast to Chicago” package will run through August 26, 2012. Rates are $175 and blackout dates apply. Enter rate code PCHIC at time of booking.
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, 800-KIMPTON, www.ExploreChicago.org/175Days
Special $450 Chicago Retreat Package from The Peninsula Chicago
The Peninsula Chicago invites guests to escape with the Chicago Retreat package, offering room rates from $450 plus a host of other value-added benefits. A Lucky Draw at check-in provides guests the opportunity to win one of several prizes. The Chicago Retreat provides the perfect opportunity for a family trip, romantic couple’s escape or a girlfriend getaway, and is based on a two-night minimum stay, valid from April 1 through September 3, 2012.
The Peninsula Chicago Retreat includes:
Complimentary dining for children 12 years and under from the children’s menu in The Lobby and from Room Service (up to two children)
25% off spa services (not including manicures)
Complimentary overnight valet parking for one vehicle
Deluxe Room – $450, Grand Deluxe Room – $525, Executive Suite – $750, Junior Suite – $850, Deluxe Suite – $1,075
Lucky Draw – Guests who reserve the Chicago Retreat also receive one Lucky Draw for a chance to win an exciting prize, redeemable during their stay:
Dinner for two in The Lobby
Upgrade to next available room category
Three hours in a chauffeured MINI Cooper
Complimentary 60-minute massage
Complimentary overnight stay in a Deluxe Suite
Westin Michigan Avenue Completes $7 Million Renovation
One of Chicago’s leading hotels recently completed a sizable renovation. Located on the north end of the Magnificent Mile, The Westin Michigan Avenue has finalized its $7 million renovation to its entire 38,000 square feet of banquet, ballroom, conference and meeting areas. Improvements include state-of-the-art lighting and audio systems, faster internet connectivity, and increased flexibility in room configurations.
“Along with the daffodils and warmer weather, this spring our conference and banquet areas is re-emerging in new colors, fabrics and textures,” says General Manager Brent Menzel. “Among the many upgrades, our ballroom area rejuvenation promises to our guests’ Westin experience even more memorable.”
The completed renovation reflects Starwood’s commitment to improve its properties while the economy remains stuck in neutral. With Chicago business and tourism predicted to re-emerge in 2012, the renovation is well-timed for the downtown conference and bridal season. As part of its design process, Chicago-based architect VOA Associates took great care to extend what they call “the DNA of the Westin brand” throughout the renovated spaces.
“Our biggest challenge was to make this space feel glamorous enough for a wedding reception, but also serious enough for a business meeting,” says VOA’s Patricia Rotondo. “We also took great care in aligning the renovation with Westin’s selected Chicago themes of ‘lake,’ ‘park’ and ‘city’.”
In a nod to the environment, the renovation incorporates earth-friendly features from top-to-bottom. Brighter, energy-efficient lighting in the ceiling, for instance, will reduce energy needs, while the new, wool carpeting on the floors will last longer. “Wool has a natural fiber,” explains the architect. “Because the fiber is thicker, there’s less wear-and-tear,” Rotondo adds. “Wool costs more, but the payoff is a longer life-span.”
To Chicago-based event planners, The Westin Michigan Avenue offers guests both a location at the hub of Chicago’s vibrant downtown and breath-taking views from its 752 guest rooms. These help to explain the hotel’s popularity for business conferences, weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceañera parties and fundraising events.
“The Westin Michigan Avenue is a very cool place to stay downtown,” says Dave Betke, manager of meetings and corporate travel for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “It’s got that great location right along Michigan Avenue and has easy access to nearby world-class shopping and restaurants.”
Westin Michigan Avenue, www.starwoodhotels.com
2102 Springtime Events
Spring is fast approaching. For a change of pace, take a break from busy beaches and costly cruises and set your sights on Chicago. The city will be in full bloom, and an array of indoor and outdoor events and attractions invite visitors to discover all that Chicago has to offer.
“Whether for a quick getaway or extended stay, there is no shortage of things to do in Chicago,” said Dorothy Coyle, Executive Director, Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture. “You can check out an afternoon at the ballpark, immerse yourself in world-class museums, delve into the craft cocktail scene or taste some of our top-notch culinary offerings. There is something for everyone.”
Stop by one of the Visitor Information Centers – across from Millennium Park in the Chicago Cultural Center (77 E. Randolph Street) and at historic Water Works pumping station (163 E. Pearson Street at Michigan Avenue) – to plan an excursion to Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. Friendly visitor representatives are on hand to help customize an itinerary and assist with any questions.
Upcoming Events in the City
One of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country, the downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebrates the patron saint of Irish heritage. On March 17, watch as parade floats, musicians and dancers take to Columbus Drive, then catch a glimpse of the Chicago River dyed green in honor of the festivities. Also, an old favorite returns this year to the Beverly neighborhood when the South Side Irish Parade kicks off on March 11 at Western Avenue from 103rd to 115th Street.
From April 13 to 26, catch screenings at the Chicago Latino Film Festival, presenting the great diversity of themes and genres of Latino filmmaking from around the world.
Every spring Michigan Avenue celebrates the bloom of hundreds of thousands of vibrant tulips, signaling the start of the season in Chicago. From May 1 to 31, visit Tulips on The Magnificent Mile while taking advantage of special events and spring offers at area hotels, restaurants, spas and attractions.
Celebrate Hispanic culture at the Cinco De Mayo Parade on May 6 in the Pilsen neighborhood, where visitors will find authentic Mexican food vendors, colorful floats, great music and dancing starting at noon.
The FREE Illinois Tourism Day returns to Union Station’s historic Great Hall on May 17, bringing with it live music, fun giveaways and information booths about all the great attractions to discover throughout the state.
Chicago’s Kids and Kites Festival on May 19 is a FREE fun-filled day to celebrate the joys of being a kid – from running around outdoors and flying paper kites to enjoying family-focused programming including face painting, crafts and balloon artists.
Join the thousands who gather to honor veterans and active duty military at Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade, which steps off at noon on May 26 and proceeds south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street.
Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, www.ExploreChicago.org