If you’re in Chicago
and notice its storied downtown skyline looking a bit different, that’s because the gleaming 40-story Marriott Marquis Chicago—the largest Marriott to open in North America in 2017—is the newest member of the Windy City’s club. The hotel is home to more than 93,000 square feet of meeting space, including 48 breakout rooms, two ballrooms (each large enough to accommodate up to 2,100 peopleand a premier 33rd floor event space featuring floor-to-ceiling panoramic views of Chi-town and Lake Michigan. No less than Oscar winning, Grammy nominated singer Jennifer Hudson performed in one at the hotel’s grand opening.
The Marriott Marquis Chicago is 90 percent group business, and the location couldn’t be more convenient. It’s directly connected to the country’s largest convention center, McCormick Place
. Translation: You won’t need to step foot outside on subzero winter days. It’s also adjacent to the new 10,000-seat Wintrust Arena
. When that venue isn’t hosting the DePaul University Blue Demons basketball games, it’s a concert venue (Bob Dylan sold out there in October.)
Breakout in the Dance room
Built from scratch on a previously empty lot, Marriott Marquis Chicago opened in September 2017 in the burgeoning entertainment and convention district of McCormick Square. The historic American Book Company building, built in 1912 and granted landmark status by the Chicago Landmark Commission in 2009, sat adjacent to the lot and was purchased along with it.
The resulting connected space has an old-meets-new feel; the ABC’s interior was converted to meeting space, including 29 modern breakout rooms on three floors (Think: centrally located hubs bathed of natural light; mixed seating, including mid-century modern rocking chairs; white lacquered desks; and outlets aplenty).
And because “the American Book Company was the leader in textbook printing, distributing them around the world, we’ve honored its history in the details,” says Brenda Maldonado, destination sales executive at Marriott Marquis Chicago. For instance, the wallpaper is made from repurposed textbook bindings, and meeting rooms are named for classic school subjects like chemistry, geography, journalism and dance.
Back in the main hotel area, Maldonado points out that any meeting room with a window has floor-to-ceiling views. Meeting rooms feature full height white glass panels that pull quadruple duty as marker, display and magnetic board, plus a projection surface.
About that 33rd floor event space: Three of the four walls are glass, the North side being completely retractable. “You can watch the fireworks at Navy Pier, see the Adler Planetarium, the screen at Solider Field and more,” Maldonado says. The room itself is decorated in grays, whites and light wood, with a built-in bar and discretely placed AV equipment. “It’s perfect for receptions, networking and customer events.”
Marriott Marquis Chicago is a fiber optic data hotel. The 24/7 M Club Lounge offers breakfast seven days a week, a full-service bar in the evenings and functions as a co-working space, complete with snacks, Apple computers, Wi-Fi, fruit-infused water and Illy’s coffee. (Sticky notes plastered up and down a 10-foot-high window on a recent Monday afternoon serve as evidence of a recent brainstorming session.) The lounge, available to all Elite Marriott Rewards members with Gold and Platinum status, was recently ranked No. 1 within the Marquis brand among seven worldwide. (Other guests can purchase a day pass for the lounge.)
The 3,000-sq-ft., 24-hour fitness center features a spinning studio. More fitness opportunities—walking, running, biking and rollerblading—can be found a block away, with direct access to the gorgeous Lakeshore Path that curves along Lake Michigan.
Art commissioned from more than 30 Chicago-based artists elevates the lobby, hallways and various corridors throughout. Each artist was asked to create a piece inspired by the hotel, its location and the surrounding city environment; the resulting collection includes “I Give You Chicago,” a massive grid of Chicagoans with their heads obscured by various fruits and vegetables, by David Murray
; a series of 10 X 7 backlit winter house images by Amanda Williams
and more. Each piece includes a video-enabled QR code, which guests can scan with their smartphone and hear the artists speaking about the piece. This approach was born out of the influential “David Bowie is” exhibit at nearby Museum of Contemporary Art, says hotel designer Anderson/Miller Ltd
, adding that “we believe the Marriott Marquis will be the first hotel to implement this type of video exhibition approach.”
When it comes time to sleep, guests can retire to one of 1,161 rooms or 44 suites. Half the rooms are double queens; half are single kings. Every room has floor-to-ceiling windows, either facing the skyline or Lake Michigan, and they all feature low-slung platform-style beds, sleek desks, en suite bathrooms and more original art.
Other points of interest: Hallway carpeting with a modern tire tread-like pattern serves as a nod to the nearby Motor Row, a historic district in Chicago's Near South Side community area; a 30-foot tall lobby diffused with Marriott’s signature Attune scent (notes of apple, grapefruit, white cedar and a calming floral blend); families can bring their kids to play in a brightly colored community park across the street; Chicago’s own Garrett’s Popcorn is available via room service.