The Marriott Convention & Resort Network is expanding in Chicago with the opening of the Marriott Marquis Chicago in July 2017. On a recent trip to visit the Windy City, I explored three of the brand’s existing convention properties as well as had an inside look at the soon-to-debut addition to the network.
Marriott Marquis Chicago: The 1,206-room Marriott Marquis Chicago will be located in the South Loop neighborhood and will help breathe life back into the neighborhood in the same way the JW Marriott at LA Live did for downtown Los Angeles. New restaurants and bars are already opening up in preparation for the 39-story hotel, which will be directly connected to McCormick Place, the country’s largest convention center. It will also feature 90,000 sf of its own meeting space, with a fourth-floor ballroom featuring floor-to-ceiling windows. Groups can also take docent-led tours of the nearby historic Prairie District—the place to be in the late 1800s.
JW Marriott Chicago: Located in the city’s Central Loop, the 610-room JW Marriott Chicago offers the most meeting space—44,000 sf to be exact—of any other luxury hotel in Chicago. The hotel is located inside a historic bank building, built in 1914, and underwent a $396 million restoration before opening in 2010. Domed-ceiling ballrooms and hand-blown glass chandeliers enhance the property, which Oprah chose to film her last show (in the Presidential Suite). The hotel also has a partnership with Willis Tower, making it easy for groups to get in to see the famous views or even plan an event on the 96th floor. The hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing Steve Conklin said that they have even organized team building events for groups to walk the tower’s stairs for money.
Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile: The 1,198-room Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, situated along Michigan Avenue, is undergoing a four-phase renovation to be completed in the beginning of 2018. The first phase of the about $90 million makeover includes the hotel’s top four levels of guest rooms and the Rush Street Pantry, a new dining concept for Marriott. Rush Street Pantry brings artisanal items to attendees at an affordable rate, and they can even opt to pick up their order in lieu of room service. The next phase of the renovation will include adding a new exercise room—one part of which will be dedicated entirely to virtual workout classes that meeting planners can incorporate into an event.
Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel: Located about 30 miles outside of the city stands the 500-room Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel. The hotel manages the onsite convention center, with a total of 148,62f sf of meeting space available for groups. It’s accommodated everything from a Tony Robbins concert—in which Robbins landed a helicopter on property—to the Hockey Expo, which sets up an ice rink in the convention center. To incorporate the local lifestyle, the property also offers a Celebrate the Neighborhood event every month in which local musicians play or artisans bring in local food to taste. Groups also won’t want to miss the summer concert series, with live music available every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on the outdoor terrace.