Fifteen years ago, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place had 800 guest rooms and was a standalone property. The builders of the hotel knew they wanted to expand later, but there wasn’t a set timetable. In 2013, the hotel—connected by covered skywalk to the McCormick Place convention center—completed a $110 million renovation and expansion that added a new tower with 458 guest rooms. “This expansion helps the city in multiple ways,” says Michael Panko, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “We were pigeon-holed with 800 rooms, and now we are like a powerhouse in the industry. It’s the fulfillment of the original vision and offers a seamless experience for the guests.”
The project, which began in December 2011, also updated the 800 guest rooms in the existing tower with a new modern, residential style that includes new furniture, fixtures, and hard and soft goods. The design is intended to suit business travelers’ needs. For example, larger, redesigned desks have additional electrical outlets as well as USB and HDMI cable slots. The front desk also was expanded to accommodate the larger scale of rooms. During the renovation, the 4,000-sq.-ft. Prairie Room was redesigned with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide natural lighting, the 25,000-sq.-ft. Hyatt Conference Center was updated, and three new boardrooms and a business center were added. Groups also have access to more than 2 million square feet of meeting space at the adjacent convention center.
Many of the hotel’s food outlets and restaurants were included in the renovation. M/X, a high-energy lounge, expanded its seating and buffet and added a second private dining room. The Daily Grind coffee shop was expanded and now features a fresh-market concept with homemade breakfast and lunch menus that use ingredients sourced locally. Other eco-friendly elements include a new green roof and a wind energy system. “Our goal is to do everything we can to be sustainable,” says Paul Daly, general manager. The hotel hopes to achieve LEED Gold certification in the new building category.