Chicago's O'Hare and Midway International airports are among the busiest in the country. Thousands of travelers arrive daily, and many make their way to meetings in the city, creating an extra leg of travel that can be costly, frustrating and unpredictable.
“Here in Chicago, we all know you can spend an hour going 8 miles,” says Micaela Haas, general manager of The Rose Hotel, opening in Rosemont this November.
Thankfully, a handful of new and recently renovated properties put a new spin on airport hotels, with inspired spaces for functions large and small.
Not only do these hotels make it easy to fly in, attend a meeting and fly out the next morning, but “conceivably, you can do it all in one day, depending on where you’re flying from,” says Jeremy Schaeffer, general manager of The Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca.
This means everyone involved can maximize their time and productivity while also maintaining their energy and composure, notes Skip Adams, general manager of Hyatt Regency Schaumburg.
Wayne Leming, general manager of Sheraton Suites Elk Grove, points out airport hotels can be a major cost savings from meeting in the Chicago metro area.
As a bonus, these airport hotels are a short train ride from city attractions and close to suburban golf courses, shopping and walking trails. All boast outdoor terraces; some overlook park-like settings and lakes; and all have spaces ideal for receptions and luncheons. Free shuttles and new roads make getting to and from airports easier than ever for travelers and locals alike. Take a look.
The Westin Chicago Northwest; Itasca
It’s easy for groups to get down to business at this Itasca property thanks to a handsome, $14 million redesign of the lobby, its 416 guest rooms and 45,000 square feet of wired meeting space, including a grand ballroom and 31 meeting rooms. The convenience factor is an added benefit. “You can come down an elevator [from your room] and walk 10 steps to your meeting,” compared to walking long distances at convention centers, says Schaeffer.
Located on the picturesque grounds of Hamilton Lakes with basketball, tennis and racquetball courts on-site, The Westin also has three restaurants, including the fine dining establishment Seared. The 25-minute drive to O’Hare will be halved when west-side access to the airport via Illinois Route 390 opens in coming years.
The Rose Hotel, Rosemont
Opening mid-November, this art-inspired, 165-room boutique hotel—a first for Rosemont—is “unexpected and different from your typical airport hotel,” says Haas. If the bold décor with rose gold and pink accents don’t convince you, the lobby’s edgy, zebrastriped mannequin display certainly will.
The first Tapestry Collection by Hilton property built from scratch, it has eight meeting rooms accounting for 5,000 square feet of pre-function and high-tech meeting space. Other highlights include personal meeting pods and a contemporary lounge and a restaurant with private dining for 14.
The closest off-site hotel to O’Hare, The Rose Hotel is set in the new Pearl District, home to Carmine’s and Truluck’s restaurants; Dave and Buster’s; and minor league baseball’s new Impact Field, home of the Chicago Dogs.
Hyatt Regency Schaumburg, Chicago
In April, the Hyatt completed a $17 million renovation to its entrance, 468 guest rooms and 41,000 square feet of meeting space, including pre-function and exhibit areas and 23 meeting rooms, which all now feature the latest A/V and Wi-Fi technology.
The new MARKETbowl restaurant lets guests customize fresh meals to their individual tastes. In early 2019, City Works Eatery & Pour House—featuring craft beers, American cuisine, bocce ball and a large patio—will open steps away.
Only 15 minutes from O’Hare and within walking distance to Woodfield Mall, Busse Woods forest preserve and more than 225 restaurants, the Hyatt offers “the ultimate urban experience in the suburbs,” says Adams.
A multimillion-dollar transformation in May 2017 elevated the guest experience at the Sheraton with upgrades to every part of the hotel, from its 253 guest suites to its fitness facilities. “The biggest impact of our renovation was to open up the lobby and bar area to make it a gathering space for guests to enjoy,” says Leming, noting the addition of plush chairs, communal tables and lounge areas. The smartly redesigned restaurant features white upholstered club chairs and natural finishes.
Also modernized was 6,500 square feet of pre-function and meeting space, comprised of six rooms, a boardroom, and an outdoor patio and that accommodates up to 160 people. The property is less than 15 minutes from downtown Elk Grove Village, Woodfield Mall and O’Hare.
A $2.5 million renovation completed this spring brings “a big-city, modern, urban vibe to the heart of the Chicago Southland suburbs,” says Julie Popovic, director of sales and catering. The hotel updated its guest rooms, lobby, fitness center and 15,000 square feet of ballroom, banquet and meeting space that holds up to 800 guests.
“We pride ourselves on our reputation as an award-winning hotel,” says Popovic, noting her team works one-on-one with planners to deliver personalized service. Only 25 minutes from Midway, the hotel is close enough to be convenient and far enough away to avoid airport congestion and high parking fees. It’s easily accessible from Interstates 294, 57 and 80 as well.