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$7 Million Renovation of 38,000 Square Feet of Meeting and Banquet Facilities
Unveiled at
Chicago's 752-room Westin Michigan Avenue

MARCH 1, 2012—CHICAGO—One of Chicago’s premier hotels recently completed a sizable renovation. Located on the north end of the Magnificent Mile, The Westin Michigan Avenue this week finalized its $7 million renovation to its entire 38,000 square feet of banquet, ballroom, conference and meeting areas.

Improvements include state-of-the-art lighting and audio systems, faster internet connectivity, and increased flexibility in room configurations.

“Along with the daffodils and warmer weather, this spring our conference and banquet areas is re-emerging in new colors, fabrics and textures,” says General Manager Brent Menzel.  “Among the many upgrades, our ballroom area rejuvenation promises to our guests’ Westin experience even more memorable.”

The completed renovation reflects Starwood’s commitment to improve its properties while the economy remains stuck in neutral. With Chicago business and tourism predicted to re-emerge in 2012, the renovation is well-timed for the downtown conference and bridal season.

As part of its design process, Chicago-based architect VOA Associates took great care to extend what they call “the DNA of the Westin brand” throughout the renovated spaces.

“Our biggest challenge was to make this space feel glamorous enough for a wedding reception, but also serious enough for a business meeting,” says VOA’s Patricia Rotondo.  “We also took great care in aligning the renovation with Westin’s selected Chicago themes of ‘lake,’ ‘park’ and ‘city’.”

In a nod to the environment, the renovation incorporates earth-friendly features from top-to-bottom.  Brighter, energy-efficient lighting in the ceiling, for instance, will reduce energy needs, while the new, wool carpeting on the floors will last longer. “Wool has a natural fiber,” explains the architect. “Because the fiber is thicker, there’s less wear-and-tear,” Rotondo adds. “Wool costs more, but the payoff is a longer life-span.

It’s this same dedication to the environment that last year earned the hotel the coveted designation as Green Seal™ Silver Certified.  The hotel meets the Green Seal Environmental Standard for Lodging Properties for its best use practices in the areas of energy consumption and efficiency, recycling, and waste minimization.

For business conference attendees, meanwhile, internet connectivity continues to be the lifeblood of communication with the outside world.  That’s why the renovation included the installation of Fatpipe, a bandwidth management network tool that significantly boosts the hotel’s conference area IT connectivity.

“This feature alone will allow us to better manage high-speed data transfer through multiple lines and multiple ISPs,” says Bob Thomas, the hotel’s director of engineering.  “It’s pretty amazing stuff.”

Other renovation improvements include an electronic reader board system, along with insulation upgrades in the walls to make the rooms more soundproof.

To Chicago-based event planners, The Westin Michigan Avenue offers guests an unbeatable, one-two punch:  a location at the hub of Chicago’s vibrant downtown, and breath-taking views from its 752 guest rooms. That helps to explain the iconic hotel’s popularity for business conferences, weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceañera parties and fundraising events.

“The Westin Michigan Avenue is a very cool place to stay downtown,” says Dave Betke, manager of meetings and corporate travel for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.  “It’s got that great location right along Michigan Avenue and has easy access to nearby world-class shopping and restaurants.”

The renovation also provides the hotel an opportunity to rename its meeting and event spaces. In a nod to the Windy City, the former Wellington Grand Ballroom has been renamed “The Great Lakes Grand Ballroom.”  The names of the other meeting and event spaces each reflect upon the Chicago theme of “lake,” “park,” or “city.”

About Westin Hotels & Resorts
Westin Hotels & Resorts makes the healthiest choices irresistibly appealing, so guests leave feeling better than when they arrived.  With more than 180 hotels and resorts in over 36 countries and territories, Westin is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. Starwood Hotels is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,051 properties in 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM.  The company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates.  Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com

Contact:

SilbarPR
Dave Silbar
dsilbar@silbarpr.com
(847) 729-7333


 
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