At the PCMA Convening Leaders conference next week, meeting planners that have not visited Chicago in a while may be surprised by all the new offerings. In between meeting at McCormick Place, meeting planners can visit the city’s latest hotels and unique venues to see what might be a good fit for future meetings of their own.
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place: The anchor hotel for the convention center underwent a $110 million expansion and renovation that added a new 460-room tower, expanded the lobby and completely renovating the existing 800-room tower in 2013. The 25,000-sf Hyatt Conference Center also underwent a complete renovation, and the hotel added three new boardrooms.
Virgin Hotels Chicago: The Virgin brand opens its first hotel in the Windy City this month. Converted from the former Old Dearborn Bank Building, the hotel still maintains its historic Art Deco architecture. The 250-room “chambers” are divided into two lifestyle-focused rooms: a dressing room and a sleeping lounge. Perfect for smaller events, the hotel features 2,400 sf of event space; however, The Commons Club, Miss Ricky’s and The Rooftop Bar also serve as unique event spaces.
Loews Chicago Hotel: The 400-rom Loews Chicago Hotel will open in March, featuring views of the city skyline and lake views from both the rooms and the 29,000 sf of indoor and outdoor meeting spaces. Meeting planners won’t want to miss the 9,000-sf terrace—perfect for summer evening events.
The Chicago Riverwalk: Scheduled to open later this spring, the city’s “second coast,” as Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls it, draws visitors to the downtown riverfront. The continuous, water-level walkway will allow pedestrians to walk from State Street, around the northwest corner of The Loop, down to Lake Street without having to cross any streets or climb any stairways. The design plans include distinct concepts that represent each of the six blocks from State Street to Lake Street. The Boardwalk, for instance, will be surrounded by floating gardens and landscaping, a new place for groups to meet outside in the warmer months.
Robot Revolution: The Museum of Science and Industry is set to premiere Robot Revolution, a national touring exhibit supported by Google, this spring. The exhibit—ideal for tech and engineering companies to check out—will explore how robots will some day become human companions and colleagues, changing how humans play, live and work together. Attendees will get the opportunity to interact with about 40 robots, allowing them to teach a robotic arm new movements or to meet PARO, a therapy baby seal robot that works with the elderly and autistic children.
Revel Downtown: Last March, The Revel Group, a full-service team of event professionals, opened a 2-story venue located at Canal and Randolph streets, within walking distance of Chicago’s business district. Located in a historic building designed by Daniel Burnahm, the facility maintains its 1920s brick facade, while its Tuscan arcading and high ceilings give it a classic, urban feel. The 13,000-sf main floor serves as a blank canvas for meeting planners.