Business travelers need efficiency, convenience, connection, a location that make sense and the best bang for their boss’ or stockholders’ buck. Chicago boasts some of the best hotels on the planet and those on this list offer all of the above plus some smart amenities that separate them from the rest.
Hyatt Regency Chicago
151 E. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Business-savvy people agree that the $168 million was money well spent in enhancing this colossal hotel, the world’s largest Hyatt, from the lush lobby, high-tech check-in pods and new restaurants to spiffed-up guest rooms – all 2,019 of them, including PURE – Hypo-Allergenic Rooms. Don’t let the size scare you: there are employees everywhere that are happy to help you, and they are really happy. The Hyatt secured a spot in the Chicago Tribune‘s Top 100 Workplaces list two years in a row. With 228,000 square feet of meeting and event space, four ballrooms, 63 meeting rooms, an exhibition center and five restaurants and lounges, plan on successful one-day meetings, week-long conferences, enormous banquets or small private dinners. Amenities include spa and workout facilities, Hertz Car Rental on-site, laundry and dry cleaning services, currency exchange, dedicated concierge, high-speed Internet, multi-lingual staff and 24-hour in-room dining. The AAA Four Diamond hotel’s central location is ideal for quick jaunts to the convention or forays to the city’s limitless attractions.
Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago
401 N. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
The Chicago outpost of the Trump empire is as cool, subtle and elegant as it is extravagant in its amenities for business travelers. Highlights for business travelers include free WiFi; the signature Trump Attaché™ service, available 24/7 for everything from personal and business assistance to custom-stocked kitchens and personalized business cards and stationery; spa services specific to the woes of business travelers; wardrobe storage and management service for frequent visitors to keep clothing and personal items in Chicago rather than travel with luggage on each visit; Quick Bites, an express, in-room menu of healthy food and drink to take to go with guaranteed delivery in 15 minutes or less; Travel Fit, fitness apparel and footwear from Under Armour; a pre-loaded iPod with your music preferences for working out; and so much more. The restaurant, SIxteen, was voted one of the World’s Best for Business Travelers by Travel+Leisure readers.
720 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
The first stop on the returning route from McCormick Place Convention Center, the storied Hilton Chicago in the South Loop has a renovation ($150 million so far), flexible event space (234,000 square feet) and just plain genius ideas with business people in mind like the bank of 14 elevators to help expedite the transition between meeting rooms and a ton of online tools and downloadable resources in addition to on-site pros to plan your visit. Hilton Chicago Athletic Club is stellar with its indoor lap pool, Jacuzzi®, running track and a seasonal sun deck. The renovation included restaurants that offer fabulous fare and the SNAX grab-and-go area is the epitome of delicious convenience. Every President since Kennedy has stayed here, so it should work for you, too.
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The Langham Chicago
330 N. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Can you get better business mojo than the edifice that now houses The Langham? The former IBM building (the last office building designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and called the father of the modern skyscraper) has been transformed into a 316-room luxury hotel on the river and is within walking distance to the Loop and Michigan Avenue. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel offers some of the city’s largest standard guest rooms; distinctive European hospitality including afternoon tea; 15,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space; a Chinese wellness-inspired spa and fitness center; a fabulous restaurant (Travelle) in a town crammed with notable eateries; and a Club Lounge with dedicated butler service. The Club Lounge offers complimentary pressing of three items, a check-in desk, an eight-seat conference room and a “need it now” closet for forgotten necessities. Busy guests can take advantage of a breakfast buffet, light lunch, evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The Langham’s refined serenity and seamless efficiency makes it a winner for business travelers.
ACME Hotel Company
15 E. Ohio St.
Chicago, IL 60611
If you want to save a few bucks and prefer a younger, hipper atmosphere and attitude, look into the ACME Hotel Company. Just a couple of blocks from the Mag Mile and downtown buzz, ACME exists for a biz type who is not one for convention (pun intended) but delights in zippy, free WiFi (100 MB band-width internet), high-tech audio and visual like internet-ready smart TVs so you can stream your content, Serta Suite plush beds, desk-level outlets and ergonomically correct desk chairs. The meeting room will keep your eyes open with windows offering city views, high-tech gadgets and configuration options from board room, classroom or even “beanbag playroom.” The on-site Berkshire Room mixes sturdy cocktails and bites and the locally loved West Town Bakery brews Passion House Coffee Roasters joe, fresh-baked pastries and breakfast sandwiches, grab ‘n’ go gourmet sandwiches and desserts.
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Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.