Successful Meetings - June 2008 - (Page 68)

Meeting Sites Chicago GORGEOUS: Natural scenery, stirring architecture, brilliant theater, lively music, world-class museums, major-league sports, and delicious, diverse dining—and constant reinvention. Last year, McCormick Place’s West Building added 61 meeting rooms with a rooftop garden and a 100,000-sf ballroom— bringing the facility’s total to 2.7 million sf of exhibit halls. It’s another reason the Windy City remains vital, easily accessible, and full of unique lodgings, meeting spaces, and experiences. For meeting planners, the toughest part of Chicago events is keeping attendees at their sessions instead of out exploring the city. By Leah A. Zeldes HOME TEAM RECOMMENDS The Windy City got its nickname from its boosters, not its weather, but the chill winds off the lake in fall and winter may make visitors prefer indoor recreation. In summer, the lakefront and the city’s numerous green spaces beckon. Home Team member Joan Eisenstodt recommends the Summit Executive Conference Center “without a doubt!” For under 100, Beth Cooper-Zobott, director of conference services for Chicago-based Equity Residential, offers the Conrad, Sofitel Water Tower, Westin River North, and W Lake Shore. Her favorite off-site venues include Park Grill in Millennium Park, the private dining rooms of Spiaggia and Mike Ditka’s, and river cruises. Dianne Davis, an OK-based meetings and marketing consultant, finds the hotels Allegro and Monaco very nice: “Experiential and lots of internationals.” Jacquie Brave, partner at Accenting Chicago Events & Tours, Inc., did a carnival-midway event at the Chicago Hilton and Towers: “The catering director just kept shaking READERS RECOMMEND Our subscribers gave a Pinnacle Award to the following: Chicago CTB Illinois Bureau of Tourism Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile The Drake Hotel Harrison Conference Center at Lake Bluff Hyatt Lodge at McDonald’s Campus Q Center Hyatt Regency Chicago Hyatt Regency McCormick Place InterContinental Chicago Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers his head saying: ‘In the most beautiful ballroom in the city…’ ” She also recommends the Cadillac Club, soon to be the United Club; Millennium Park, and the Grainger Ballroom in the Symphony Center. Krys Slovacek of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends the Chicago Illuminating McCormick Company (in the south loop): “A fanPlace West tastic and unique venue, capable of hosting about 200 people for a seated dinner and dancing.” Michelle Santee Tupps, a planner based in Safety Harbor, FL, loves the Renaissance Schaumburg: “They have excellent customer service and a beautiful brand-new property with mid-century modern decor.” Tupps also bought out the Improv Comedy Club for a night out. Chicago has no off-season, though wintertime dates can be slower to book up. In the pre-Christmas months, planners may want to look at facilities with easy access to shopping—on the famed Magnificent Mile or in the suburbs near massive Woodfield Mall, one of the Midwest’s largest shopping centers. For more listings, visit Facility Quick Search at ALL ABOUT CHANGE In downtown Chicago, at least 20 newly built or reflagged and renovated properties have launched since 2001 and the city will add some 2,800 more hotel rooms before the end of 2009. New and soon-to-open facilities include the glittering, 286room luxury Trump International Hotel & Tower, open for business while its uppermost stories are still being constructed; the 216room Dana Hotel and Spa; the 188-room Elysian Hotel, opening in Oct; and the first U.S. Shangri-La Hotel, due in 2009. After $128 million in renovations, the historic Blackstone Hotel, JUNE 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS 68

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - June 2008

Successful Meetings - June 2008
Editor's Note
Industry Trends
Planner Spotlight: Kelly Broz
Technology Talk
Food & Beverage
Websites of the Month
Pre-Event: Tech
Pre-Event: Bartering
Tools of the Trade
Dialing for Dollars
The All-in-One Resort
Bottom-Line Speakers
Places & Spaces
Florida’s West Coast

Successful Meetings - June 2008