Newton, MA (November 3, 2021) – – Sonesta International Hotels Corp. has announced the relaunch of Royal Sonesta Chicago Downtown after a $50 million renovation project that lasted nine months. Royal Sonesta and its design partner, The Gettys Group, approached the hotel with a residential design to inspire business and leisure guests with a fresh perspective on travel. Located at 71 E Wacker Drive in the heart of downtown Chicago, the finished project across the property’s 381 guestrooms, common areas, private event spaces and penthouse rooftop ballroom and terrace reflects an attempt at “reimagining the modern traveler experience.”
With a light and airy design channeling warmth and midwestern hospitality, the hotel welcomes guests to the Wacker Drive Living Room—a bright, urban living environment at the cross-section of the Chicago River and the Michigan Avenue. Royal Sonesta and The Gettys Group Companies approached the project in a layered fashion, developing a style that highlights Chicago’s diverse culture. The reflection of the bustling city and calming river against the hotel’s glass-clad façade inspired the hotel’s interior transformation. Cool tones of blue and green can be found throughout the property, in addition to pops of yellow and orange.
The use of subtle architectural details and artwork are intended to simultaneously make guests feel at home, while invigorating them to step outside and experience everything the Windy City has to offer. For instance, the architectural arch details found in the lobby soften the robust, original columns, while paying homage to the classical structures throughout the Loop and Chicago’s beloved “corn cob” towers, visible through the front windows. Additionally, the reception pods were inspired by the design motif found on some of Chicago’s bridges, reinterpreted to connect the traveler to today’s modern world. The team also worked with Kevin Barry Art Advisory and Indiewalls to incorporate thoughtful pieces into the design, including the dramatic custom piece in the lobby featuring rolled paper in shades of blue and green reflecting those found in the river, plus at the elevator landing where a piece featuring a chimpanzee from the Lincoln Park Zoo gazes across the hallway to another piece of an old-worldly gentleman.
Featuring more than 300 oversized guestrooms and 81 suites across 29 floors, the hotel has no dearth of riverfront and city views. With standard guest rooms averaging 400 square feet—double the size of a standard 220-square-foot hotel room in Chicago—the accommodations were created with work, life and play in mind.
The 154 king rooms, 146 queen-queen rooms and 81 suites all received upgraded features including custom nightstands fitted with convenient technology and drawers that offer extra surface space for devices. Roughly 20 percent of the hotel’s inventory consists of suites, including one-bedroom, two-bedroom and even family style suites featuring bunk beds. Some suites even include a Peloton bike for fitness-conscious guests. A distinct difference in all of the guestrooms is the addition of a multi-purpose dining zone instead of the traditional desks commonly found in hotel rooms. Other updates include 65” Samsung TVs, eco-friendly thermostats, walk-in showers and LED lights, besides mini-refrigerators and new coffee makers in each room.
With over 16,000 square feet across 18 meeting spaces, Royal Sonesta Chicago Downtown is equipped to accommodate a range of meetings and events. The 39th-floor Penthouse Ballroom comes with a 360-degree view of the Chicago skyline. It offers 2,100 square feet of interior space with an extra 1,600 square feet of outdoor terrace space, and is ideal for large gatherings. The property’s meetings spaces can host groups from 10 to 350 people, and comes with a dedicated convention services team. Hoyt’s American Tavern, found on the first floor off of the lobby, specializes in Midwestern tavern cuisine infused with cosmopolitan flair.