A Taste of Hospitality at the Chicago Hotel Tour

The Interiors & Sources 2014 Hotel Tour rolled into Chicago to showcase the latest trends in hospitality design, offering attendees a chance to sample firsthand the best the Windy City has to offer.

by AnnMarie Martin

The I&S hotel bus tour CEU was back on the road again in April, and this time we took our wheels to the Windy City. Chicago played host to another amazing group of interior designers and architects as they toured some of the premiere hospitality projects in town. And of course attendees were armed for their day of walking and talking with our signature lunchbox goody bags, packed with some serious loot!

Field Notes graciously provided guests with a 3-pack of their “county fair” regional edition gridded notebooks, and Peeled Snacks made sure they had some sustenance for a jam-packed day with their single-serve bags of apple clusters. 

A very special thanks goes out to our sponsors: Florida Tile and New Era for their amazing giveaways, also found in the lunchboxes. Designers were delighted to find car phone chargers from Florida Tile and a postcard redeemable for a free piece of art from New Era!

The day kicked off at the Hotel Lincoln, designed by Andrew Alford, chief creative officer at AJ Capital Partners. Alford led the group through the property, discussing his use of bespoke and vintage pieces to create a sense of place and link the guests to the history and lore of the local neighborhoods.

These unique finds created “social spots” for hotel guests to post on their social media pages—the best, if not the only form of advertising now-a-days, according to Alford. 

Then it was on to the Kinzie Hotel, designed by the Gettys Group and presented by Ron Swidler, principal in charge of brand design, and Ari JeRue, lead designer on the project, who spoke to attendees about developing a cohesive brand identity from graphics to color palette and beyond. The guest story here was that of an urban explorer, which was illustrated via nautical and compass themes.

The next stop was the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in the famous Mies van der Rohe Aqua tower. Guests saw how even with a larger chain one can integrate subtle design moves, such as specialty material choices, which create strong visual connections to the signatures of a city and celebrate local culture and talent while still maintaining a strong brand identity. Here we were also treated to a delicious luncheon at Filini restaurant and bar just off the main lobby. Presentations were made by General Manager Pierre-Louis Giacotto and Social Media and Marketing Manager Kelly Kroyer.

But there was no rest for the weary as the group piled back onto the luxury tour bus to make its way over to the MileNorth hotel, also designed by the Gettys Group. Presented by Chris McDonough, Gettys’ design director, the interiors were the perfect display of one of the day’s learning objectives: prepare product specifications that make guests feel at home. At the lobby bar, everyone toasted to the day, new friends, and their well-earned 2 hours of IDCEC-approved continuing education credits.

Attendees were thrilled to spend a day away from the office, meet some of their peers, and have a chance to see their physical work in action—and earn credits while doing it! Our next stop will be San Francisco on July 17, so please contact senior editor AnnMarie Martin at annmarie.martin@interiorsandsources.com if you are in the bay area and would like to attend. And look for us too in New York in September and Miami in November!