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4 Fresh Hotels in the Midwest to Consider for Future Meetings

April 16, 2021
Le Méridien Essex Chicago lobby.

Stay up to date on the latest venue openings and property renovations, including these four found around Mid-America. 

Illinois 

The Forester, a Hyatt Place Hotel lobby
Lobby at The Forester, a Hyatt Place Hotel. Image courtesy of The Forester, a Hyatt Place Hotel 

The Forester, a Hyatt Place Hotel developed by Janko Group and operated by Janko Hospitality, is a new contemporary boutique hotel and marks the first property to open in the North Shore suburb, Lake Forest, since 1929. 

The 156-room property’s concept is inspired by the city’s motto, “Naturae et Scientiae Amor,” which translates to “Love of Science and Nature.” At The Forester, a Hyatt Place Hotel, science and nature are woven throughout from artwork inspired by natural fractals and meeting rooms named after native plants and flowers, to the front desk itself being constructed of a solid, single white oak tree trunk. 

Equipped to host events both large and small, The Forester, a Hyatt Place Hotel offers three event rooms and a prefunction space with the latest technology. The Lupine Room offers exterior access to an outdoor patio and 1,676 square feet of space, accommodating up to 186 guests, while The Aster Room, the hotel’s largest event space, is able to host up to 200 guests in its 2,232-square-foot space. Best suited for groups of up to 45 guests, The Blue Stem Room offers an intimate 378-square-foot space. 

Plus: A Makeover on Michigan Avenue 

Lobby at Le Meridien Essex Chicago
Le Méridien Essex Chicago lobby. Image courtesy of Kailley Lindman 

Formerly the Essex Inn, Le Méridien Essex Chicago is a reimagined and transformed mid-century landmark along Chicago’s Cultural Mile. The property, owned by an Oxford joint venture with Quadrum Global, and managed by Oxford Hotels & Resorts, will continue to operate as an independent hotel until it officially joins the Marriott Bonvoy family this summer. 

The historic hotel is a part of a mixed-use lifestyle development, including the 479-unit Essex on the Park luxury apartment tower; bi-level, indoor-outdoor lounge SX Sky Bar; and ground floor, chef-driven French restaurant Grant Park Bistro.  

Le Méridien Essex Chicago offers 274 rooms, a fitness center and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer views of Grant Park, Lake Michigan and the cityscape. In the South Loop and adjacent to some of Chicago’s major attractions—Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Campus, the “Bean” and the Magnificent Mile shopping district—the hotel is near all that the Windy City has to offer. 

For meetings and events, the property includes a flexible 1,239-square-foot venue with large-screen image projection, as well as an additional 1,600 square feet of private space in the SX Sky Bar.  

Because Le Méridien Essex Chicago is a partner with the Shedd Aquarium, planners and guests can take advantage of a visit to the Shedd by booking the hotel’s VIP Shedd Aquarium package. Through this Shedd partnership, the hotel also offers room blocks at an exclusive discount for attendees of events at the Shedd. 

Minnesota 

Exterior of Hyatt House Rochester/Mayo Clinic Area
Hyatt House Rochesrer/Mayo Clinic Area exterior. Image courtesy of Hyatt House Rochester/Mayo Clinic Area 

Hyatt House Rochester/Mayo Clinic Area celebrated the 172-room hotel’s opening in March. Owned by PEG Companies and managed by In-Group Hospitality: A PEG Company, Hyatt House Rochester/Mayo Clinic Area is located in Rochester and provides guests the service and convenience of hotel living with the casual comforts of home.  

The hotel is the first ever Qualified Opportunity Zone project, as part of the Destination Medical Center initiative to revitalize the downtown area and fill the need for extended stay accommodations for Mayo Clinic patients and their families. 

Hyatt House Rochester/Mayo Clinic Area is situated just blocks from Mayo Clinic and Saint Mary’s Hospital, Mayo Civic Convention Center, University of Minnesota Rochester, Winona State University-Rochester, Heart of the City and the future Discovery Walk. The hotel is surrounded by shopping, dining and retail, as well as city parks and bike trails, including Central Park. 

Hyatt House Rochester/Mayo Clinic Area offers gathering rooms with more than 1,500 square feet of flexible meeting spaces, including a fourth floor Outdoor Terrace, food and beverage menu, audiovisual equipment and a House Host.  

Wisconsin  

Guest room at avid hotel Milwaukee West-Waukesha
Guest room at avid hotel Milwaukee West-Waukesha. Image courtesy of avid hotel Milwaukee West-Waukesha

IHG Hotels & Resorts announced in March the latest milestone for fast-growing brand avid hotels—the opening of the 30th avid hotel—avid hotel Milwaukee West-Waukesha, owned by Kingbird Real Estate and managed by Aimbridge Hospitality. Since its introduction in 2017, the brand has grown quickly across North America with 2020 seeing the opening of the first location in Mexico and construction of the first location in Canada. 

As with all avid hotels, guests can expect to find a new gym, as well as grab-and-go breakfast options to start the day. The 95-room avid hotel Milwaukee West-Waukesha is less than three miles from the Waukesha County Airport, Waukesha County Expo Center, the Center Court Sports Complex and the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee at Waukesha.  

Read this next: New Convention Centers, Hotels and More in Growing Southern Cities

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About the author
Adrian Schley | Contributing Writer

Adrian Schley has been writing for Stamats Business Media since March of 2018. She earned her BA in journalism at the University of Iowa, where she also studied English.