With an ever-growing landscape of cultural attractions, sporting events and world-class dining, Chicago is in higher demand than ever. In 2015, we exceeded 50 million annual visitors for the first time, with a significant number comprising of meeting and event attendees. To accommodate this influx, Chicago has invested in an abundance of new properties that are rapidly changing the city's hotel scene — from the always-hot Magnificent Mile to vibrant Fulton Market.
From 2014 to 2018, Chicago's Central Business District is projected to be the third fastest growing market in terms of both hotel properties and room additions with greater than 20% growth. In 2016 alone, Chicago welcomed 1,675 new hotel rooms, and the next two years will more than double that number, with an expected 3,983 opening their doors. The result is an annual room supply in excess of 16 million. And we're showing no signs of slowing down.
Joining the ranks of recently opened hotels like the joint Homewood Suites/Hampton Inn in the buzzing West Loop, construction is currently underway on at least 15 new properties. The surge brings not only well-loved banners like Marriott and Hilton, but a new focus on design-forward boutique properties that offer unique new ways for meeting attendees to experience the city.
Here's a preview of some of the notable properties hitting the market in the coming year (and beyond).
Location: The Magnificent Mile
With 10,000 square feet of event space illuminated in natural light, Conrad Chicago takes advantage of the top two floors of the hotel, and will deliver a one-of-a-kind, 360 degree inspirational experience. Outside of the views, it boasts the latest in meetings/events technology... imagine 3D custom-imaging software so planners can see 3D renderings of their event space, decor and seating setups. Guest rooms will also be tech-forward with a theater-like experience from 65-inch tvs (the largest in Chicago hotels), Bluetooth-enabled entertainment systems and keyless check-in. And when ready to move on to culinary experiences, two restaurants/bar spaces and a rooftop are at the ready.
The Robey and The Hollander
Location: Wicker Park/Bucktown
Rooms: The Robey: 89; The Hollander: 12 private, 8 shared
This pair of boutique properties from Mexico-based Grupo Habita will open in mid-November, after three years of construction. Presiding over the buzzing six corners of Damen, Milwaukee and North avenues in trendy Wicker Park, The Robey and The Hollander are a gateway to some of Chicago's most cutting-edge cultural offerings — from mixology cocktail lounges to contemporary art galleries.
The Robey will occupy Wicker Park's iconic 12-story Northwest Tower, which dates to 1929, and the rooms will combine original art deco details with sleek, modern design. There will also be a ground-level restaurant, as well as a rooftop bar with sweeping downtown views that opens in spring 2017.
Down the street, The Hollander will transform a 1905 warehouse into a breakthrough "social" concept hotel that features a mix of private and shared rooms. The airy private lofts feature a modern-industrial aesthetic that will make meeting attendees feel like they're part of the neighborhood.
Opening in 2017Ace Hotel
Location: West Loop
Slated to open in early 2017, the Ace Hotel
will help cement the Fulton Market district as one of Chicago's hottest neighborhoods for locals and visitors alike. This former meatpacking district is a burgeoning tech and entertainment hub, with Google Chicago recently opening its doors and two Grant Achatz-helmed hotspots, Next and The Aviary, drawing foodies from around the city. The Portland, Oregon-based Ace Hotel brand, which specializes in trendy, minimalist design and top-notch amenities, is known for pioneering on-the-verge neighborhoods across the country, from Belltown in Seattle to New Orleans' Warehouse District.
Nobu Hotel Chicago
Location: West Loop
Another addition to booming Fulton Market, this hotly anticipated project brings star power and high-end design to the West Loop. Co-owned by actor and hospitality entrepreneur Robert DeNiro, the Nobu sushi empire added hotels to its résumé in 2013. Featuring, appropriately, a modern Japanese aesthetic, the brand will introduce a Chicago location in late 2017. The property broke ground in June 2016, with DeNiro himself hoisting a shovel to mark the occasion. Nobu Hotel will also have a sidewalk-level restaurant and bar, plus a 10,000-square-foot restaurant and rooftop terrace.
Location: Gold Coast
Spreading over 18 stories, Chicago's Viceroy Hotel will be strategically positioned within easy walking distance of both the Loop and the lake — two huge draws for meeting attendees. This design-oriented, Los Angeles-based hotelier has upscale locations in New York, San Francisco and Dubai, to name a few. The Chicago extension will be a glassy modern tower built atop an historic hotel at 1118 N. State Street. There will be a rooftop pool and lounge with jaw-dropping Lake Michigan and skyline views.
Marriott Marquis Chicago
Location: McCormick Square
With tempting new hotel and dining options on deck for 2017, there are more reasons than ever to never leave the McCormick Place campus. Leading that charge, Marriott Marquis will open a 40-story hotel that boasts a sky bridge connecting the property to the McCormick Place West Building, making it an attractive option for meetings and events year-round. The new hotel will also have two ballrooms and a 350-seat restaurant.
Cambria Hotel & Suites City Center and Magnificent Mile
Location: Central Business District and Magnificent Mile
Rooms: City Center, 198; Magnificent Mile, 215
Two new hotels from the mid-priced Cambria Hotel & Suites banner will reach completion in 2017. Opening first is Cambria Hotel & Suites Magnificent Mile, which will be a rebrand of the existing MileNorth Hotel. Situated between Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan, the hotel is a stone's throw to destinations like Navy Pier, Millennium Park and the John Hancock Center.
In September 2017 look for Cambria Hotel & Suites City Center, which will occupy the historic highrise above the Oriental Theatre. Smack dab in the middle of the Loop, the hotel gives attendees easy access to many top-rated restaurants as well as shopping and entertainment at the bustling Block 37 development.
Part of the prestigious Marriott Autograph Collection, Hotel EMC2 aims to bring an imaginative and innovative twist to Chicago's hotel scene (the name is a play on Einstein's theory of relativity). Think modern design, cheeky touches and communal dining at The Albert restaurant. The property will also offer nearly 2,000 square feet of meeting space, making it an ideal destination for small events.
Coming in 2018
Chicago is anticipating a projected 5.2% growth in room supply in 2018, with nearly 2,000 additional rooms and another seven hotel properties being added to the city's urban landscape. New hotels will comprise chain expansions by Homewood Suites and Hilton, the first-ever hotel at the newly revitalized Navy Pier, and upscale boutique hotels in Fulton Market and Wrigleyville — offering a plethora of ways for your meeting attendees to make themselves at home in this great city.