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Looks like starting crazy rumors about themselves wasn't enough.
Virgin Hotels are now printing those rumors--on doormats--and dropping them off at other competing hotels in Chicago. Here are a couple of snapshots of the upcoming hotel's cheeky brand awareness campaign.
We've actually seen this sort of campaign before when CitizenM parked a stretch limo plastered with ads for their new Times Square hotel in front of luxury hotels. We like the doormat idea better but would it have hurt you, Virgin, to put an opening date on the doormat? #canthardlywaitanylonger
[Photos via Virgin Hotels]
Virgin Hotels / Hotel Hype / Sir Richard Branson / Hotel News / Chicago Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Contests / → All Tags
At long last, Virgin Hotels are getting ready to strip down for guests.
Since 2011, we've been
not so patiently awaiting the opening of the Virgin Hotel Chicago, which will be the first hotel for the brand. Making the wait more frustrating, aside from the repeated opening delays, is that we're still rather in the dark about what the Virgin Hotel concept is about.
We did learn 6 important things about the Virgin brand this past spring and about their 6 F&B concepts in Chicago, but largely, we've just been speculating as to what will be inside the Virgin Hotel. In true tease fashion, Virgin wants us to keep guessing.
Today, Sir Richard Branson himself is spreading rumors about the Virgin Hotel and wants you to spread some of your own too.
The Branson-sanctioned rumor-mongering is all part of a gimmick to drum up attention for the Virgin Chicago property as well as give fans an opportunity to win a two-night stay at the hotel. Here's how it works:
Branson has shared some Virgin rumors here in this video including one that says he personally tucks in every guest at night and that the hairdryers have a "beard setting."
You can submit your own Virgin rumors over the next five weeks by tweeting here on the Virgin Hotels website. Be sure to hashtag this entry with #virginrumors. Whoever submits the best rumor will be win the two night stay at Virgin Hotels, plus airfare and transport to the hotel's opening party. A rep for Virgin also cryptically said the "rumors will play out on the streets of Chicago this week" so we'll be sure to report on that as we see them.
Alas, there's no hint as to when the actual hotel opening will be but if the contest is running for five weeks, then we know the hotel won't be open before then. Ooo, did we just come up with our own entry for #virginrumors? Indeed we have.
That old saying, "Three's a crowd", clearly never bothered Kimpton Hotels who have had not three, but four hotels in Chicago for quite some time. And now, the boutique brand is working on their fifth hotel for the Windy City. Fifth!
Kimpton recently purchased a historic office building in the Central Loop neighborhood. Built by architect William Le Baron Jenney in 1894, the building was previously known as the LaSalle-Monroe Building and before that, The New York Life Building.
Kimpton will renovate and refurbish the property to open by early 2016. The hotel will have 281 rooms, 9,500-sq.ft. of retail space on the ground floor, a restaurant and bar and a top floor ballroom with views of LaSalle street. We're guessing that means the Starbucks and Subway, shown in the photo above, will probably move out.
New York-based architect Gensler and Los Angeles-based design firm Beleco, will work with Kimpton's senior VP of design, Ave Bradley, to create a "locally appropriate" style.
And of course, all the Kimpton amenities that we love will be in play like free WIFi for Karma members, complimentary wine hour for guests and fun animal-print bathrobes.
Meanwhile, we hear that Kimpton will make yet ANOTHER new hotel announcement very soon, regarding a new hotel in the South. Our sources say it will be in Palm Beach but a Kimpton spokesperson would not comment on that. We'll just have to wait it out then.
The Soho House Chicago has been open for a week now and since we're still, um, working on our Chicago travel plans, we thought we'd do a cursory check of recent internet reactions.
The hotel surprisingly lacks a TripAdvisor page, so we're unable to find out the nitty gritty details of like quirky elevators or loud vents or issues with WiFi. But here's what we've gleamed about the new hotel from both the mainstream media and the (probably more important) social media:
New York Times: There's a custom, on-site boxing ring coming soon.
New York Post: Nine different products from Cowshed line the showers.
Eater Chicago: Go inside the Chicken Shop and Pizza East, both London-based restaurants that have spun off to Chicago.
Chicago Mag: The "ultra-indulgent" treatment from the Cowshed Spa is actually just a pedicure.
Hotel Cocktails / Hotel Bars / Hotel Cocktail Week / Doubletree Hotels / Chicago Hotels / UK Hotels / → All Tags
It's no secret that we love drinking in hotels here at HotelChatter. In fact, hotels might be our favorite "local." So all this week and next, we'll be pouring out some drinks for you during our second Hotel Cocktail Week(s) -- newly-expanded because there’s just so many drinks to share. We'll be posting quirky cocktails, boozy trends, unique menus and even recipes so you can recreate your favorite hotel drink at home. We expect everyone will be getting a bit tipsy over the next couple of weeks! But don't forget to tip your bartenders, in this case, us.
For those of you have ever sunk your teeth into DoubleTree by Hilton’s gooey-good chocolate chip cookies (each and every DoubleTree Hotel—from Anaheim to Zanzibar—hands these babies out to guests to the tune of 60,000 per day) knows why we’re excited about these cocktails. Now, you don’t just get to eat the cookies, you can drink ’em too.
If you can’t make it to one of these hotels to try these cookie bevvies in person (although you’ll miss out on that hotel bar ambiance) you can always make one (or all) at home.
We told you back in March that the Soho House Chicago would be opening in August and well, wouldn't you know? The Chicago spinoff of the London members-only club--with hotel rooms attached--is actually opening next month, on August 11 to be exact.
Located in the West Loop nabe in an old warehouse that was once home to the Chicago Belting Factory, the Soho House Chicago will now offer 40 rooms, ranging in sizes Small, Medium and Medium Plus.
The small rooms, which are going for $240 a night on opening night, start at 300-sq.ft. and include free WiFi; complimentary tea, coffee and homemade biscuits; and Cowshed products in the bathroom. The website also says a hair straightener will be included with the hair dryer. Score one for the curly-haired ladies out there.
The Medium rooms offer 450-sq.ft. of space while the Medium Plus rooms bump up to a generous 650-sq.ft of space with a bathtub in the bathroom. (The other rooms only have showers.) Rates for these rooms are going for $350 on opening night. Sadly, there are only illustrations of the rooms online and not real photographs. Hopefully, we can get some of those for you to peep real soon.
It's not a rare 1961 Ferrari GT California but it is pretty sweet.
Thompson Chicago has revved up their offerings for hotel guests, thanks to a new partnership with Lexus.
Guests can ride around town in a sleek Lexus IS 350 convertible or a ginormous LX 570 LUV--luxury utility vehicle--without any mileage restrictions, i.e. no one telling you the ride is only good for a one-mile radius from the hotel. The rides are complimentary and feature a pre-programmed navigation system with addresses to Chicago landmarks and nearby road trip destinations outside of Illinois. But of course, you'll still rely on Google Maps anyways.
Guests can also choose to ride in the house car, which is an LS 460 L flagship sedan, driven by a personal chauffeur and equipped with complimentary bottled water, the Chicago Tribune newspaper and Wi-Fi mobile hotspot functionality.
Rates next weekend at Thompson start at $429 a night so having the use of a Lexus during your stay makes that a little more bearable. And if you already own a Lexus, you can book the Thompson Chicago through the Lexus Drivers Site and get a $100 hotel credit which can be used towards dining and drinks at the hotel's Salone Nico or Nico Osteria.
Fourth of July Hotels / DC Hotels / Manhattan Hotels / Chicago Hotels / Laguna Beach Hotels / San Diego Hotels / Newport Hotels / → All Tags
America the beautiful, we're ready to celebrate you on the 4th of July. (Shout-out to our new national treasure, Tim Howard.)
Still not sure what to do for the Fourth? Here are 8 hotels who want to BBQ and drink beer with you before cuddling up to watch the fireworks. Boom, boom, pow and room service!
W WASHINGTON DC: The restaurant at the W is currently closed but the P.O.V. rooftop bar and its incredible views of the Washington Monument is still open. Tickets to the Boom with a View party are sold-out BUT if you book a room package, you'll get two tickets to the shindig. Rates start at $345 a night. You can book your reservation here.
CONRAD NEW YORK: The hotel's rooftop Loopy Droopy bar has killer views of the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River, as well as adult ice pops to cool off with during the holiday festivities. Room rates start at $259 a night tomorrow for a king deluxe suite.
THE JAMES NEW YORK: JIMMY, the rooftop bar at the hotel, will have killer views of the fireworks on the East River, along with special July 4th cocktails, live DJ, and gourmet twists on BBQ food like Kobe Franks in a blanket, mini grilled cheese with cheddar and apple and the signature JIMMY burger. Room rates this weekend start at $313 a night.
Sleeker. Sexier. Sassier.
Those are the three words used to describe the freshly revealed design of W Chicago Lakeshore after a massive renovation that made this beach-side stunner even more stunning.
Forking over about $38 million dollars for a much-needed refresh of the 520 guest rooms and suites, corridors, and even building exterior, the only hotel that overlooks Lake Michigan is once again the hotspot for visitors. And for locals too thanks to a few new restaurant and lounge offerings.
The Virgin Hotel Chicago announced their new executive chef last week and with that announcement we also learned a little bit more about the very mysterious Virgin we're dying to sleep with.
Chef Rick Gresh comes to Virgin after a 7-year stint as Executive Chef at David Burke's Primehouse restaurant at The James Hotel, which was deemed "Best Steakhouse" by Chicago Magazine in 2013. He's been cooking in Chicago for nearly 20 years and puts innovative concepts and local sourcing at the forefront of his approach to cooking. Here's what he said about joining Team Virgin:
“I am thrilled to join Virgin Hotels and inspired by their dedication to exceptional, locally sourced food,” says Gresh. “With six unique concepts under one property, this project will mark a landmark moment in Chicago’s F&B landscape, and I am very excited to be a part of the team.”
Yup. Read it again. He really did say SIX F&B concepts.
What will those be? We can only guess but it will include at least the hotel's main restaurant, probably the rooftop, possibly a bar menu, hypothetically a small cafe and maybe, room service? But that's only five concepts. Dammit, Virgin. You're killing us here. Guess we will have to wait until September when the hotel opens to find out.
In the meantime, here are 6 things we already know about Virgin Hotels.
[Photo: Virgin Hotels]
Loews Hotels / Hotel News / Chicago Hotels / InterContinental Hotels / Airport Hotels / Hotel Rebrandings / → All Tags
Loews Hotels have been busy at work on their new Chicago hotel, which is expected to open next year near North Michigan Avenue, but in the process, they managed to snap up another hotel in the area. This time near the airport.
The 556-room InterContinental Chicago O’Hare Hotel was recently purchased by Loews Hotels. The deal should close in late July which means the InterContinental branding will switch over to the Loews branding. The hotel will then go by the name, Loews Chicago O'Hare. And yes, this means the hotel will now have free WiFi.
The hotel is two miles from the airport and is also connected to the Donald E. Stephen’s Convention Center and the Fashion Outlets of Chicago. Downstairs the hotel has its own entertainment, thanks to three restaurants and bars and a curated art gallery. So it's clearly no rinky dink airport hotel.
Meanwhile, Loews is crushing hard on the Midwest these days as they just snapped up the Graves 601 Hotel in Minneapolis, and the Loews Chicago proper is coming soon. But this might not be the end. Jonathan Tisch, the chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts, hinted at more Loews in the future.
“The Midwest is an area where we were looking to increase our presence,” he said in a statement. So, Loews Detroit? Loews Cleveland? Loews Des Moines? We'll keep our eyes out.
[Photo: InterContinental Chicago O'Hare; Loews Logo added by HotelChatter]
Grupo Habita, Mexico-based operators of boutique design hotels, will be taking on the Windy City with a 120-room hotel in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. There is no official name yet for the hotel, which is presently scheduled to open in the summer of 2015.
This will be the 15th and largest hotel for Grupo Habita, who has made transforming historic buildings a true art form. We don’t know yet who the design team is for the new hotel; however, all you have to do is look at their other hotels - such as Downtown in Mexico City and Hotel Americano in Manhattan - to see what an extraordinary pool of design talent there is coming from Mexico.
According to DNAinfoChicago, approval was given to Convexity Properties by the Chicago City Planning Commission— no small achievement—to convert a 12-story Art Deco building, the Northwest Tower, to a 75-room hotel, along with a nearby warehouse, which will offer “shared rooms,” for a total of 120 rooms.