CHICAGO (CBS) — Navy Pier remains a ghost town, closed to visitors for six months due to the pandemic, yet a new luxury hotel opens there today.
What will it be like to stay there when the rest of the site is shuttered? CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory takes us inside Sable at Navy Pier.READ MORE: One Killed, Two Injured In Multiple Car Crash On Dan Ryan Expressway
The near-future is foggy at Navy Pier; no Ferris wheel rides, board walk strolls, or a concrete date for re-opening.
Navy Pier management said some clarity from the state is needed before one of Illinois’ most popular tourist attractions can open again.
Yet, clearly forging ahead are the developers of Sable at Navy Pier, the landmark’s first hotel.
Guests are now welcome in its 223 rooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows specially designed to withstand high winds and rain.
“We had to take so many extra steps, because we’re building on a lake,” said Bob Habeeb, CEO of Maverick Hotels and Restaurants, the company that developed and will run Sable, which is affiliated with Hilton.
Hotel construction was completed in November, but Habeeb chose to delay opening until now. Why not wait until April or May?
“We think the timing is great, people are starting to come out,” Habeeb said. “We’re telling people, ‘When else can you come and have Navy Pier to yourself?’”READ MORE: United Center COVID-19 Vaccination Site To Switch To Single-Shot Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Hotel guests can’t go far if they flock to the Sable. They will be limited to hotel grounds until the rest of the Pier opens.
Late spring is the best prediction CBS 2 could get for when that might happen.
But Habeeb said he’s confident enough that staff are in training at Sable’s restaurant, Lirica, which opens Thursday.
CBS 2 cameras spotted cooks perfecting their recipes, while the rest of dining spots at the Pier remain closed.
“We weren’t prohibited for any legal reason from opening, and we decided we would open now. Give us a chance to get the hotel up and running,” Habeeb said. “There has never been a hotel room on site.”
Imagine the traffic once conventions come back.
“That opens up a new avenue of bookings for Pier as well,” Habeeb said. “It’s a very symbiotic relationship.”MORE NEWS: At Least 24 People Shot, 3 Killed In Gun Violence In Chicago This Weekend
Hopefully soon, we can all enjoy Chicago’s beloved Navy Pier, and maybe even the return of the fireworks shows that would be visible from the hotel’s windows.