Categorized | Hotels

USA’s first, hip Radisson Blu to open in Chicago…

Posted on 24 August 2011

Are you in the mood for a soothing room? If so, request a room that sports the

CHICAGO – Radisson’s hip sister chain Radisson Blu – best known in Europe – will do things a little differently when it opens its first U.S. hotel here this fall.


Despite the fact of a walked through a construction site and relied on iPad images to fully understand the vision, it was easy to get a sense for what the high-end Radisson Blu wants to accomplish.


Chicago, after all, is loaded with hotels ranging from iconic, super expensive luxury properties such as the Park Hyatt, Peninsula and Fairmont (which is located directly across the street from the Radisson Blu) to modern, style-driven hotels such as the independent Elysian and two different W hotels.


First, some basics: The hotel is housed in the first 18 floors of Chicago’s newest skyscraper, 81-story Aqua, which is hard to miss due to its all-white, wave-like exterior. As of July 1, the hotel started accepting bookings for Oct. 31 and beyond. The official opening bash is being planned for sometime early next year.


The restaurant will be called Filini, and it will feature outdoor dining on the sidewalk during the warmer months. Filini will have a marble martini bar.


Among the surprises Radisson Blu guests will find:

  • Wi-Fi included: You won’t have to pay extra for Internet service because it’s included in the rate.
  • Room style choice: The hotel has two styles of rooms, allowing you to pick based on your mood or personality. Both styles have a hip edge to them.
  • A hint of disco: You’ll know what I mean when you visit one of the public restrooms on the main entry level. Designers made sure you’ll know that you’re not in a regular Radisson hotel. (See photo gallery.)
  • Balconies: Due to Aqua’s unique design, even basic guest rooms feature a balcony. About half of all 338 rooms contain one. At least for now, the hotel doesn’t plan to charge extra for them during prime summer months, though we’ll know more about that next year.
  • Resort-like amenities: Because the hotel’s located within a residential tower, the fitness center is extra large and even contains a half basketball court. There’s also a jogging trail outside. There’s a small game room with a billiards table and a media screening room.

Guests can pick their room style;

Radisson Blu’s decision to offer two completely different style rooms is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the hotel. While small, boutique hotels may go to extremes and decorate each room individually, this strategy seems risky for a large, full-service hotel. What will the hotel do, for instance, if a customer truly wants one style but only the other style is available?


But with risk may come reward. The hotel also stands to gain if guests get what they want the majority of the time. The concept could strike a chord with people who love customizing everything, from their Starbucks latte to their Wii avatar.

Here’s a quick summary of their model rooms:

  • “Mansion House:” If you like a W-esque room with electric blue carpeting, a black lacquer mini-bar cabinet, sparkly black granite counter tops, then you should request a “Mansion House” room.
  • “Naturally Cool:” If you’d prefer a more understated room, request one of these rooms. It’s a Scandinavian style room done in shades of white, metals and woods. You’ll find a white leather sitting chair in the room and a block wood side table.


Rates: What to expect

Guests should expect to pay an average of $250 a night in the hotel’s first year as Radisson Blu establishes its brand in Chicago – and the USA.



The hotel’s in Lakeshore East, a mixed-use, planned community of condo, apartments, shops and some green pedestrian areas. A cab ride to Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile shopping district will take roughly 10 minutes, depending on traffic.




Depending on what floor and what side of the building your room is on, the views from your room may let you see glimpses of the lake, the Lakeshore East development’s green six-acre park and/or Aqua’s pool. “City view” rooms may face the grand Fairmont hotel directly across the street on Columbus Road and/or provide a glimpse of Millennium Park.


When it opens on Oct. 31, this hotel will be hospitality giant Carlson’s lone Radisson Blu in the USA – and one that Carlson executives hope will inspire developers to build more of them in other U.S. gateway cities. A second Radisson Blu is rising at the Mall of America near Minneapolis, not far from Carlson’s headquarters.

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