• Venue Spotlight: A Touch of Paris in Chicago

     
    POSTED August 20, 2018
     

    The newly renovated, French-inspired Sofitel Chicago offers innovative F&B and modern meeting spaces in the Gold Coast.

When you enter the casually elegant, living-room style lobby of Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile—with comfy couches, dim lighting and a translucent grand staircase—it seems to mirror the vibe of many millennial-focused hotels that have turned their lobbies into social hubs over the last few years. When you learn that Sofitel’s lobby has been this way since the property opened in the Gold Coast in 2002, however, you realize the newly renovated, 415- room hotel is ahead of its time, in more ways than one.

With only five hotels in the United States, Sofitel (under the AccorHotels umbrella) often flies under the radar for U.S.-based meeting planners. Paying homage to the brand’s headquarters in Paris, each of the Sofitel properties embraces the French l’art de vivre (the art of living), focused on chic design, arts and culture, wellness and authentic cuisine. 

Take its innovative F&B for example. For meetings, Sofitel Chicago has had healthy items on breakout menus for years. Not only is the food itself utterly delicious, the presentation is wow-worthy—making healthful eating enjoyable for attendees. Picture Greek yogurt parfaits topped with in-season fruit presented in unique cone-shaped vessels on a custom metal tree, or dehydrated pineapple and apple slices nestled into living grass. For a high-energy coffee breakout, opt for Japanese cold brew stations, where guests can watch the brewing process, grab a cup of joe and snack on mini desserts like churros with dipping cups of espresso ganache.

You won’t find tired tablecloths in the hotel’s 10,000 square feet of meeting space; linenless tables and chairs complement the hotel’s contemporary look and feel, and also align with AccorHotels’ sustainability goals. That sleekness continues throughout its modern meeting spaces, including the 4,600-square-foot Grand Ballroom, its 2,800-square-foot foyer and a variety of other smaller spaces.

In the newly renovated SoFit fitness center, high-tech equipment from TechnoGym, an ARKE core training station and a very unique Batak Lite reaction training system (to measure reflexes) further illustrate the hotel’s focus on wellness. 

From excellent food to thoughtful design, every element of the Sofitel Chicago not only provides a refined setting for a meeting, but also serves to spark conversation among guests. Even the elevators provide a talking point, adorned with photos of Paris and a faux “balcony” designed to give riders the feeling of looking out over the City of Lights. 

Despite an overall crushing year for the hospitality industry in Pennsylvania, some seeds of hope have been planted and are finally sprouting in the form of new hotel openings. These new properties on the horizon have ample meeting and event space up for grabs, all within close proximity of each other. As capacities allowances increase, check out the new real estate for meetings and events at the following hotels.

 

Making the most of Minnesota’s ideal (and ever-fleeting) outdoor event season is a time-honored tradition, but outdoor venues hold a whole new appeal in a post-pandemic landscape. 
Plein air events can offer planners plenty of space to safely distance their guests as well as peace of mind to attendees still wary of in-person gatherings—as well as some much-needed screen-free interaction.

 

Houston’s new attraction, Seismique, is a feast for the senses. The 40,000-square-foot art-fueled experiential museum on Houston’s west side is built to capture the imagination of audiences with more than 40 unique exhibits showcasing dazzling displays of light (generated by 9 million LEDs), color, sound and natural elements.