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Neighborhood Development Corporation Prepares to Open the $60 million
Dana Hotel and Spa in Chicago's River North Neighborhood


CHICAGO, February 19, 2008 – Chicagoans and visitors alike will discover an urban retreat when the dana hotel and spa, a new $60 million property situated at 660 N. State Street in the River North neighborhood, opens its doors Wednesday, May 28, 2008. The 26-story, 216-room dana hotel and spa will envelop guests in an overall environment of comfort and serenity, while featuring state-of-the-art in-room amenities and sophisticated dining and lounge experiences. A dana centerpiece will be its full-floor, full-service luxury urban spa and fitness center, developed by the Inova Group, the company behind award-winning spas at several Four Seasons and Peninsula Hotel properties.  The dana hotel and spa, developed and managed by Chicago-based Neighborhood Development Corporation in a joint venture with Gold Coast Hotels, Inc., is the city’s sole locally-owned & operated luxury lifestyle hotel built from the ground up, and its owners aim to redefine the lifestyle hotel model whereby contemporary style and exemplary service co-exist.

“Through our extensive international travels and research, we found that most boutique hotels emphasize either a chic, design-oriented environment or a warm, service-based ethic, but not both.  At the dana, we intend for our guests to experience a sense of wonder at the artful surroundings but not at the expense of stellar, hands-on service,” said Eugene “Gene” Kornota, Neighborhood Development Corp. (NDC) Principal.   

“Even the hotel’s name – a nod to the Dana Hotel formerly on this site - sets the tone.  The expression ‘dana’ translates from Sanskrit to mean ‘the pleasure of giving’ and that expression was truly a driving force in developing all aspects of the hotel’s environment and service culture.  We are confident that the dana will give our guests a pleasurable feeling of tranquility and well-being, through a well-thought out design and generous service,” added Bonnie Roberts-Kornota, fellow NDC Principal.  

Chicago-based Ownership

Neighborhood Development Corporation was founded in 1988 and was the first to introduce the boutique hotel concept to Chicago’s lakeshore neighborhoods with its collection of wildly popular Neighborhood Inns of Chicago. Neighborhood Development Corporation, under a trio of principals – Anthony Klok, Eugene Kornota and Bonnie Roberts-Kornota – established a name for itself renovating and developing additional architecturally significant buildings. These include the HOTEL Indigo Chicago, in partnership with Gold Coast Hotels, Inc. and operated by InterContinental Hotels Group, Inc., and downtown Memphis’ Madison Hotel, a Small Luxury Hotels of the World member, which has been named one of the top mainland U.S. hotels by Condé Nast Traveler for three years, among many accolades. 

Gold Coast Hotels, Inc. has been stewarded by Louis Dolins and Max Dolins since the acquisition of the Eastgate and Croydon Hotels in River North in 1965. Operating in the hospitality and real estate industries for over six decades, the two Dolinses, first with Harry Dolins and presently with Lawrence Dolins and Jerome Dolins, distinguished themselves and Gold Coast Hotels, Inc. by developing, maintaining and managing many properties in Chicago and the desert southwest, including a historically significant building in Phoenix currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its latest development was the HOTEL Indigo Chicago. 

High Impact Design 

The footprint of the 150,000-square-foot dana hotel and spa will be slender; each floor will cover only 5,700 square feet, allowing a minimal number of guest rooms and engendering a heightened sense of intimacy. The small footprint will make a big visual impact, however, vis-à-vis its contemporary exterior and interior design. 

The sleek exterior façade, designed by Chicago’s Eckenhoff Saunders Architects, will feature a stunning 28-foot-high clear glass curtain wall offering passersby views of the goings-on inside the dana. The striking ground floor entrance will be anchored by an undulating timber wall, providing a soothing backdrop for a two-story fireplace and dana’s two primary dining offerings: ajasteak, balancing the precision of Asian cuisine with the robust flavors of a modern steakhouse, and the dana’s signature “floating” sushi bar.  

The hotel’s official guest registration desk and lobby will be located on the second floor, allowing the ground floor to give back to the neighborhood and serve a more public function. A glass-enclosed stairwell, with a dramatic black sand base, will lead up to the registration area, where guests can check in at a relaxed pace with a gracious host, or independently via express kiosk, which will also handle airline check-in needs.

Pictured (left) is dana hotel and spa standard guest room and (right) view from the glass-enclosed spa shower of standard dana hotel and spa guest room.  Photo credit: Craig Dugan of Hedrich Blessing
A Warm and Welcoming Guest Room Experience

Once the check-in process is completed, a stylish, yet warm and welcoming, in-room experience awaits the dana hotel and spa guest. Designed by nationally-recognized EDI Architecture, each of the 154 standard guest rooms (approx. 325 square feet) will feature expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, bathing the rooms in natural light and offering breathtaking views of the city.  Interior materials will be natural and sustainable, from the reclaimed Australian jarrah wood floors to side tables made of exotic reeds to in-room stationery of recycled paper. Designed to evoke a comfortable residential feel, soft lighting, tactile wall coverings and furnishings in warm shades will soothe the senses, while a new 16” deep Serta Enrapture mattress bed dressed in layers of Egyptian cotton linen invites relaxation.  A Keurig gourmet single-cup coffee brewing station, a “priced-to-entice” honor bar, and an in-room, chilled wine reserve will further enhance the guest experience. 

Providing an additional element of openness and light, a floor-to-ceiling glass wall will separate the boudoir and bath areas (with curtain for privacy).  A glass-enclosed, 4 x 5’ foot walk-in shower will feature a rain showerhead and spa-inspired Philippe Starck bench, plus luxury amenities. Continuing the use of organic materials, the vanity has a marble agglomerate top imported from Italy, while the base is wood in a warm walnut finish.  

An artful juxtaposition will balance the beauty of these natural elements with state-of-the-art technologies, including free high bandwidth internet connection and WiFi capabilities; a 37” HD flat screen television; and European Smart Digital cordless phones (with all local calls complimentary). Of note, the dana hotel and spa will be the only hotel in the world to provide Bowers & Wilkins ‘Zeppelin’ audio equipment as standard in all guest rooms; the ‘Zeppelin’ (a 2007 Rolling Stone top pick) allows a guest to ‘sync’ his or her MP3 player, providing an ultra-high fidelity outlet for one’s personal soundtrack and video collections, or simply television and pay-per-view. 

The dana hotel and spa will also offer a selection of  suites (ranging from 550- 970 square feet), uniquely featuring, among other amenities, up to two outdoor balconies with sweeping views, a dry bar, and a luxurious 9 x 5’ walk-in shower for two. 

Luxury Urban Spa 

A centerpiece of the dana hotel will be its full-floor dana spa and fitness center, accessible to both hotel and non-hotel guests, for pampering and polish. Five treatment rooms, including one strictly for couples, will offer the latest in relaxation and aesthetic techniques, including a European product selection exclusive to the dana. Its environment will be soothing, serene, and sustainable; designed with materials including bamboo bricks and recycled glass terrazzo flooring. An adjoining private 24-hour fitness center will feature the Italian Technogym® line of fitness equipment, including Kinesis, the cutting-edge exercise system for total workout and wellness, plus client comforts such as individual MP3 docking stations and televisions; a yoga stretching area; and yoga mats, pilates balls and hand weights available for in-room use.  The dana spa was developed by the Chicago-based INOVA Group, which under the direction of Founding Principal Joseph Conant, is responsible for creating upscale spas at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, New York, and Las Vegas and the Peninsula Hotel Beverly Hills. Spas created by INOVA occupy more places on the “Top Ten” lists of Condé Nast Traveler and Spa Finder Magazine, and have earned more star distinctions in the Mobil Spa Guide than any other spa operations company. 
Modern Food & Beverage Offerings

In addition to the aforementioned ajasteak and the premium sushi bar, ajasteak will operate a sidewalk café, and a comprehensive 24-hour room service menu will be available for hotel guests. Plus, adding to the mix, and set to open in late summer, the dana hotel will play host nightly at its 4,100-square-foot rooftop living room, the Vertigo Sky Lounge. The alluring spot will tout conversational seating arrangements around a centralized fire pit, handcrafted drinks, and a custom-blended soundtrack, all 26 stories above street level!  The restaurant and lounge concepts are being developed exclusively for the dana by CB5 Restaurant Group, an East Coast consultancy, which will also manage the food and beverage services. Further details about the dana hotel and spa’s food & beverage components will be announced shortly.

Inspired Meeting Facilities

Also opening in late summer, the dana hotel and spa will offer a full floor dedicated to meeting facilities and special events, for business conferences, board meetings and formal-to-friendly social functions seating up to 100 guests. Complete chef-driven, on-site catering will be available. 

The Bottom Line

The dana hotel and spa, at 660 N. State Street (at Erie Street), Chicago, Illinois, will open its first tier of rooms, on floors 6-14, plus its spa and food and beverage operations, post-Memorial Day, Wednesday, May 28, 2008. Guest rooms and suites will be competitively priced, beginning at $350. The remainder of rooms, meeting facilities, and the Vertigo Sky Lounge will open in late summer. For more information or to make a reservation, please call toll-free (888) 301.3262 or visit


Beth Silverman

Also See: InterContinental Hotels Group Opens Second Hotel Indigo - Chicago-Gold Coast / May 2005
WexTrust Capital Acquires the 221-room Days Inn in the Lincoln Park Area of Chicago; Planning A Multi-million-dollar Renovation and a New Name / July 2006


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