Harley-Davidson Museum Revs Up for Expansion and Other Midwest Renovations

August 17, 2021

Stay up to date on the latest venue openings and property renovations, including these found in the Midwest.


Formerly the Essex Inn, Le Méridien Essex Chicago has been reimagined and rebranded into a Marriott Bonvoy property. The historic hotel, located on Chicago’s Cultural Mile overlooking Michigan Avenue and Grant Park, underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation that gave new life to its iconic building, with European flair and a modern mid-century design. 

The property offers 274 guest rooms, each with a work station, smart TV, high-speed Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled bathroom mirrors with hidden speakers. For F&B, guests can dine at the hotel’s ground-floor restaurant, Grant Park Bistro, serving contemporary American fare with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. 

For event and meeting space, planners can utilize the LM Studio, a bi-level event space, as well as additional meeting rooms on the second floor that feature AV capabilities and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Grant Park.  

Palmer House
The new indoor swimming pool at the Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel. Credit: Hilton

After a year-long temporary closure due to the pandemic, Chicago’s Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel reopened June 17, coinciding with its 150th anniversary. Upon its June reopening, the 1,641-room property unveiled a brand-new indoor swimming pool following a $2.2-million renovation. Also new to Palmer House is Lockwood Express, a grab-and-go concept that offers daily baked pastries, Lavazza coffee and cold brew and small batch cocktails for travelers on the go. 

Planners can still book the property’s extensive meeting space—totaling 130,000 square feet—including three ballrooms, 77 breakout rooms, 11 hospitality suites and a nearly 17,000-square-foot exhibit hall.  

[Related: Pendry Reinvigorates Historic Building on Chicago's Michigan Avenue]


Hotel Indy
Rendering of a king guest room at Hotel Indy. Credit: Hotel Indy

Coming this fall to downtown Indianapolis’ Warehouse District is Hotel Indy, a 90-room boutique hotel located at the corner of Washington and Delaware in the former State Life Insurance building, with architectural roots dating back to the 1950s Brutalist movement. 

Hotel Indy will be Indiana’s first Tribute Portfolio by Marriott property. Along with 90 rooms, it’ll feature six suites, an “innovative dining experience,” a 95-seat rooftop bar and more than 1,500 square feet of meeting space. The interior design will feature a mix of gold, maroon, mint and obsidian volcanic rock and a number of noteworthy art installations.  

Hotel Indy is within walking distance of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers. The property will be managed by Coury Hospitality and is positioned to be the cornerstone of downtown Indianapolis’ Warehouse District.  

A Milwaukee Venue Revs Up for An Expansion 

Harley Davidson Museum
Rendering of The Garage. Credit: Harley-Davidson Museum

An exciting new addition is planned for Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Harley-Davidson Museum, which is a 20-acre campus housing an unrivaled collection of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and memorabilia and a top tourist destination for the city.  

The new single-story space, slated to open in the spring of 2022, is dubbed The Garage and will boast more than 8,000 square feet of event space, floor-to-ceiling views of the Menomonee Valley and state-of-the-art AV capabilities. It will replace Chrome, the museum’s seasonal event space.  

The museum’s 1903 Events team will manage the space to book special occasion and corporate events. Throughout the space, planners can also expect five glass garage doors and access to an adjacent outdoor space called The Square. They’ll also have access to onsite catering and event equipment. 

Other event spaces at the Harley-Davidson Museum include Rumble, which can accommodate up to 440 people and the Motor Bar & Restaurant for up to 200 people. For something smaller, planners can look to Bolt, which can accommodate up to 30 people. 

Read Next: A New Westin in Anaheim and Other Openings in the West

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Sarah Kloepple | Content Developer, Destinations and Features

Sarah Kloepple joined Stamats as a staff writer in August 2018. Previously, she's written and edited for numerous publications in St. Louis.