September 22, 2011 // Franchising.com // CHICAGO (Sept. 22, 2011) – Carlson, a global hospitality and travel company, today announced the U.S. debut for the Radisson Blu upper-upscale brand. The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago, located on the first 18 floors of the architecturally acclaimed 81-story Aqua Tower, will open Nov. 1, 2011, inspiring a new chapter in the global re-invention of Radisson.
Rich in style and design, the hotel features 334 guest rooms and suites; exquisitely prepared Italian fare at the contemporary bistro Filini; more than 28,000 square feet of meeting and event space; an 8,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art fitness facility; an indoor basketball court; a movie screening room; an indoor lap pool; a full-service business center; as well as an 80,000-square-foot green roof and recreation deck complete with gardens and gazebos, fire pits, two outdoor pools, hot tub with cabanas, and a 1/5-mile running trail.
"The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago represents a dramatic evolution for Radisson Blu and the future direction of the brand, especially in the Americas," said Thorsten Kirschke, president, Carlson Hotels, Americas. "This hotel, the launch of the Club CarlsonSM global loyalty program, and the USD 137.5 million investment in the forthcoming Radisson Blu Hotel at Mall of America, are marking some of the significant milestones in Carlson's Ambition 2015 growth strategy.
Like other Radisson Blu hotels, the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago lays claim to a distinct design heritage, including the world's first designer hotel, Arne Jacobson's game-changing Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. Radisson Blu hotels are recognized throughout the world for thought-provoking contemporary style, such as the giant, cylindrical aquarium at the Radisson Blu Berlin, the floor-to-ceiling wine tower complete with wine angels at the Radisson Blu Zurich, and the Euro-coin architecture of the Radisson Blu Frankfurt.
Aqua Tower: the Right Home for a New U.S. Flagship – Carlson selected the Aqua Tower, a new landmark on the Chicago skyline designed by internationally acclaimed architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang, as the home for the nation's flagship Radisson Blu hotel. The hotel itself is designed by U.K.-based designer Jim Hamilton of Graven Images.
Public Spaces: a Celebration of Chicago – For the interiors, Hamilton pays homage to the city of Chicago with such elements as an eye-catching lobby wall that features backlit glass bricks symbolic of the Chicago skyline witnessed from a distance; steelwork that recalls the city's reputation as the birthplace of the modern skyscraper; reclaimed bricks, wood and steelwork – supporting Carlson's commitment to responsible business; and in the Filini bistro, mosaic flooring that echoes the design of grates used by the city to protect young trees. Meanwhile, polished concrete; reclaimed brick; Corten steel, featuring a weathered "rust" patina; Krion-brand surfaces; weathered oak; Cadisch-brand woven wire mesh screens; ornate hand-cut brass screens; and back-painted glass are among myriad materials in the design palette used to create a visual and tactile experience that is both compelling and contemporary.
In keeping with Carlson's commitment to responsible business practices and environmental stewardship, the hotel will also be pursuing LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council once it opens its doors this fall.
Guest Rooms and Suites – Accommodations include 334 guest rooms, 15 king suites, two "Lakeshore" and "Millennium Park" suites, as well as the two-bedroom Aqua Presidential Suite. Developed by the renowned Swedish designer Christian Lundwall, rooms are available in two distinct styles, including "Mansion House"—defined by sophisticated strong lines, deep, rich timber finishes, flashes of chrome and a clubby, yet refined, aura—and "Naturally Cool"—featuring splashes of color, a soft and sensual white bed, metal lamps, wood flooring and dramatic paper art. As with all Radisson hotels around the world, guests who are Club Carlson members receive free high-speed wireless Internet access in the comfort of their rooms and suites.
Conference and Private Functions – The hotel showcases more than 28,000 square feet of total meeting space, including the 12,041-square-foot Atlantic Ballroom, which boasts 20-foot-high windows presenting views of Lake Michigan and the six-acre Park at Lakeshore East.
Amenities for Business Travelers – In addition to the array of amenities provided for all guests, the hotel offers Business Class By Radisson®, a branded service developed to provide upgraded amenities and services, such as complimentary breakfast, evening cocktails and use of an exclusive 17th-floor lounge.
"Above all, our brand-defining Yes I Can!SM service culture, signature amenities and proximity to Chicago's greatest tourist attractions will ensure our place as the preferred choice for hospitality in Chicago," said Pierre-Louis Giacotto, hotel general manager. "We look forward to opening our doors soon."
Special opening promotional rates start at USD 160 per night for a King-City View room to USD 344 per night for a Park Suite.
Marking the debut of the Radisson Blu brand in North America, Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago is set to open on Nov. 1, 2011. The hotel features Filini, a contemporary 150-seat Italian restaurant and bar that offers simple and authentic dishes as well as an expansive Italian wine collection. http://www.radissonblu.com/aquahotel-chicago or call +1 (312) 565-5258.
Carlson is a global hospitality and travel company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn. Carlson encompasses 1,068 hotels, including Radisson®, Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM, Park Inn by Radisson and Park Plaza®; more than 900 T.G.I. Friday's® restaurants; and a majority stake in Carlson Wagonlit Travel®, the global leader in business travel management. Carlson operates in more than 150 countries and its brands employ about 170,000 people. http://www.carlson.com
Magellan Development is a Chicago real estate development company; they are responsible for the Lakeshore East community in downtown Chicago along with numerous properties in the River North and Gold Coast regions. www.magellandevelopment.com