One of Chicago’s leading hotels recently completed a sizable renovation. Located on the north end of the Magnificent Mile, The Westin Michigan Avenue has finalized its $7 million renovation to its entire 38,000 square feet of banquet, ballroom, conference and meeting areas. Improvements include state-of-the-art lighting and audio systems, faster internet connectivity, and increased flexibility in room configurations.
“Along with the daffodils and warmer weather, this spring our conference and banquet areas is re-emerging in new colors, fabrics and textures,” says General Manager Brent Menzel. “Among the many upgrades, our ballroom area rejuvenation promises to our guests’ Westin experience even more memorable.”
The completed renovation reflects Starwood’s commitment to improve its properties while the economy remains stuck in neutral. With Chicago business and tourism predicted to re-emerge in 2012, the renovation is well-timed for the downtown conference and bridal season. As part of its design process, Chicago-based architect VOA Associates took great care to extend what they call “the DNA of the Westin brand” throughout the renovated spaces.
“Our biggest challenge was to make this space feel glamorous enough for a wedding reception, but also serious enough for a business meeting,” says VOA’s Patricia Rotondo. “We also took great care in aligning the renovation with Westin’s selected Chicago themes of ‘lake,’ ‘park’ and ‘city’.”
In a nod to the environment, the renovation incorporates earth-friendly features from top-to-bottom. Brighter, energy-efficient lighting in the ceiling, for instance, will reduce energy needs, while the new, wool carpeting on the floors will last longer. “Wool has a natural fiber,” explains the architect. “Because the fiber is thicker, there’s less wear-and-tear,” Rotondo adds. “Wool costs more, but the payoff is a longer life-span.”
To Chicago-based event planners, The Westin Michigan Avenue offers guests both a location at the hub of Chicago’s vibrant downtown and breath-taking views from its 752 guest rooms. These help to explain the hotel’s popularity for business conferences, weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceañera parties and fundraising events.
“The Westin Michigan Avenue is a very cool place to stay downtown,” says Dave Betke, manager of meetings and corporate travel for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “It’s got that great location right along Michigan Avenue and has easy access to nearby world-class shopping and restaurants.”
Westin Michigan Avenue, www.starwoodhotels.com