Get the latest Chicago news and updates for June 2012, including hotel highlights.

Chicago News and Updates for Meeting Professionals

Chicago News: June

The ROOF on theWit: New, All-Glass Retractable Rooftop

This chic, downtown rooftop added a new element of swank last month, thanks to the completion of a new, retractable rooftop on its 27th floor outdoor space. Now it can host guests year-round. From Hotel Chatter:

If you've been to theWit, a retractable roof makes complete sense. Located in the thick of the city's Loop and theater district, this Chicago hotel has always been about embracing its surrounding city views with style. No matter where you are in theWit — the spa, the fitness center, the restaurants, your room — you'll often spy views of everything from the L train and street level to Lake Michigan and Millennium Park. Now from the ROOF, the views just keep on coming through rain, sleet, snow and the wee hours.

Wee hours, indeed. The new retractable rooftop means that the ROOF won't have to close at midnight in accordance with the local ordinance that calls for outdoor patios across the city to close at that time.


Chicago's First New Skyscraper in Five Years (+ A Riverfront Sculpture Park)

Chicago's West Loop neighborhood is getting a new addition, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel announced last month.

A new, sleek, 45-story office building is being planned for 444 W. Lake St., at Lake and Canal streets, where the Chicago River splits into its north and south branches — and that's not all. The city is also planning to construct a 1.5-acre public riverfront sculpture park just east of the new tower.

Groundbreaking for the project is expected to begin late this year, with completion estimation around early 2016.

More details


Chicago's James Beard Award Winners

One Chicago restaurant and two local chefs are adding another accolade to their repertoire:

  • Best New Restaurant: Next
    The unique concept restaurant from Grant Achatz takes this top honor, no doubt thanks to a whimsical, themed tasting menu that rotates every few months. Tickets, released online at random, are required; visit for details.
  • Outstanding Pastry Chef: Mindy Segal, of Hot Chocolate
    She's no stranger to winning awards, but this marks the first James Beard Award for Mindy Segal. (She had been nominated six times before.) Her Wicker Park restaurant, Hot Chocolate, is an urban café that marries contemporary food and desserts inspired by seasonal and local ingredients.
  • Chef of the Year, Great Lakes Region: Bruce Sherman, of North Pond
    Sixth time's a charm for native Chicagoan Bruce Sherman as well. As the chef-owner of Lincoln Park's North Pond, Sherman focuses on exceptional ingredients at the height of their season and supports local farmers. The result? Complex layers of subtle craft beneath a simple style.

Two more Chicagoans walked away with important honors… Charlie Trotter was recognized as Humanitarian of the Year, and Grant Achatz was named to the foundation's Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America hall of fame.

View the complete list of 2012 James Beard Award winners.


Chicago Hotel Highlights: June

The Affinia Hotel Becomes MileNorth

Located one block off The Magnificent Mile, the Affinia Hotel’s new name, MileNorth, is rather fitting. Most of the hotel’s elements remain the same — like the 215 guest rooms, C-House restaurant and C-View rooftop bar — but there’s one big change in store: MileNorth offers free WiFi.

More on the meetings:

  • 3,000 square feet of contemporary space
  • Flexible setups accommodating up to 120 guests
  • Well-appointed boardrooms and meeting rooms
  • State-of-the-art audiovisual equipment
  • IT support
  • On-site parking
  • Impressive food and beverage operations
Learn more about meetings at MileNorth.


The Wyndham Hotel Becomes Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile

On June 1, the Wyndham Hotel officially became a Hyatt hotel, creating a convenient Hyatt offering for medical meetings near Northwestern Memorial Hospital and its Feinberg School of Medicine, as well as the new nearby Children’s Memorial Hospital of Chicago. And it’s not just the name that’s changing. Following the rebranding will be a $25 million renovation that will take place later this year.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. will rebrand the 417-room Streeterville hotel as the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile after its $88.4 million purchase of the property from an affiliate of the Blackstone Group in a deal announced Wednesday. The rebranding is expected June 1, Hyatt Hotels Corp. said.

The hotel at 633 N. St. Clair St. will be managed by Davidson Hotels & Resorts under a franchise agreement with an affiliate of Hyatt.

"We believe Hyatt is the most attractive brand for this hotel due to Hyatt's ability to attract high-end business travel and corporate groups, including the vast number of medical meetings generated within walking distance of the hotel," Ken Cruse, Sunstone president and chief executive, said in a statement.


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