The family-focused, Wisconsin-based Great Wolf Lodge opened its first resort in Wisconsin Dells in 1997. Over the next two decades, it slowly expanded with more properties around the Midwest, moving into the Northeast, South, West and Canada. And this summer, the greater Chicago area will get its first resort from the brand.

Great Wolf Lodge Illinois, slated to open July 1 in Gurnee, will include the hallmark giant waterpark, family-friendly dining options and woodsy décor. The property will also have 7,800 square feet of meeting space, 414 guest rooms (including 14 suite styles) and a separate entrance for meeting guests to avoid the waterpark. It’s the result of a $40 million makeover to the former Key Lime Cove property.

Though the waterpark plays second fiddle to meeting groups looking to get business done at the resort, it has a nice perk: Guests have access to the waterpark at 1 p.m. on the day of check-in, so they can arrive early or with families in tow to take advantage of the fun facilities.

Meeting planners can also get creative with events at Great Wolf Lodge. They can use the 38,000-square-foot adventure park for teambuilding, or rent it out for “waterpark after dark” cocktail hour.

“How often can you have a cocktail party with these elements available to you?” says General Manager Emilio Fabico, noting the Illinois property will also have a lazy river, the funnel-like Whitewater Whirl waterslides and the Wolf Rider, for daring guests only.

Another attraction of Great Wolf Lodge Illinois is the brand’s newly revamped F&B program, which includes the farm-to-fork restaurant Barnwood. Guests will find fresh dishes made with locally sourced ingredients alongside a craft cocktail menu, also available to meeting groups.

The property is holding a job fair for nearly 600 positions at College of Lake County in Grayslake this week through May 18 (details), and is accepting reservations starting July 1, 2018.

A Derby themed gala to commemorate Hotel Baker’s 90th anniversary was held on June 2, 2018. The invitation-only event was both a celebration an important milestone as well a tribute to the original owner Colonel Edward Baker, who opened the downtown St. Charles hotel on June 2, 1928. 

 

Food trucks may be mobile, but they aren’t going anywhere, since their popularity only seems to grow with each season. A New Jersey hotel is getting in on the fun! Along with over 18,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space, Embassy Suites by Hilton in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, offers the Grain & Cane “Gastro Truck” as a fun option for a mid-meeting break or post-event dining option.

 
Popular lakeside meetings and events destination The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa has announced the completion of major renovations to Abbey Harbor on Lake Geneva as well as the resort's all-new outdoor pavilion.