Storied Inn Of Chicago Reopens As Stylish Boutique Hotel Following Extensive Remodel And Redesign
$6-million Interior Remodel Gives Legendary Hotel an Edgy, Boutique Feel
CHICAGO | The 357-room Inn of Chicago, the landmark Ohio Street property a half-block from Michigan Avenue’s famed Magnificent Mile, has been reborn following a comprehensive, $6-million interior renovation designed to blend the classic 1928 property with contemporary, boutique-hotel elegance and re-establish it as one of the city’s premiere business and leisure destinations.
Purchased in February 2006 by IOC Hotel, LLC, a joint venture between Oxford Lodging Advisory & Investment Group, LLC, of San Francisco (OLAIG), and Longwing Real Estate Ventures, LLC, a member of the Dubai Investment Group, the hotel embarked on a six-month, property-wide renovation in December 2006. Unveiled today during grand reopening ceremonies, the redesigned hotel features a new lobby, signature InnBar lounge and refurbished public spaces, reappointed guest rooms and bathrooms, and the establishment of 58 executive guest rooms and 1,100 additional square feet of meeting space including a 375-square-foot executive boardroom.
Hotel owners also announced a partnership with Lavazza, Italy’s premiere espresso company, to open a new Lavazza Café adjacent to the lobby. Featuring a distinctively European-chic décor, the ground-floor café will specialize in Lavazza’s renowned espresso-based coffee beverages as well as gourmet breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and pastry selections made right on the premises.
The redesign of the Inn of Chicago Magnificent Mile returns the hotel to the level of energy and buzz it has enjoyed at varying times since its opening as the Hotel St. Clair during the height of the Roaring 20’s.
“We didn’t need to go further than the hotel’s colorful 79-year history – a history that directly parallels Chicago itself – to find our inspiration for the redesign,“ explained Maxine Taylor, Oxford Lodging’s senior vice president of asset management. “It really came down to releasing the hotel from years of different owners, brands and design styles – and re-establishing the timeless, club-like exclusivity the original architects intended.”
The hotel’s 5,100 square feet of meeting space, including 1,100 square feet of newly created space, can accommodate groups of up to 150 people for corporate events and banquets in six separate facilities. In addition to the new, state-of-the-art executive boardroom, five Chicago-themed rooms are available, as well as the hotel’s historic, 22nd-floor Skyline Terrace. All existing meeting spaces received new carpeting and wall coverings.
The Inn of Chicago Magnificent Mile is the first remodeled property to be managed by Kokua Hospitality, LLC, the property management entity of Oxford Lodging. Kokua also manages two other Oxford Lodging-owned Chicago hotels currently under renovation: The 443-room Allerton Hotel on Michigan Ave., and the 495-room Chicago City Centre Hotel & Sports Club. Collectively, Kokua Hospitality is overseeing more than $45 million in renovations at Oxford Lodging’s three Chicago properties.
Originally built for the then-exorbitant cost of $3 million, the Inn of Chicago offered 11 floors of one-bedroom apartments and 11 floors of hotel rooms when it opened as the Hotel St. Clair in 1928. Its location near the legendary Chez Paree supper club attracted celebrities, including Bob Hope, Judy Garland, Roy Rogers, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis – as well as the Chez Paree showgirls known as the “Adorables.”
The hotel is also known as the former home of the Chicago Press Club, which occupied the Skyline Terrace penthouse suite from 1960 to 1978, and for its ornate rooftop “Inn of Chicago” neon sign that has since been repaired and relit by the new owners as a symbol of their commitment to maintaining the property’s historical link to the city.
Rachman Massucco Interiors, LLC, of San Francisco, was given the challenge of infusing an intimate, boutique-hotel feel into the Inn of Chicago’s lobby, public spaces and guest rooms, many of which had been redesigned numerous times in the property’s 79-year history.
“We were fortunate to work with a celebrated Chicago building with unmistakable architectural character – so we knew there was potential to create the same sense of drama in the rooms and public spaces,” explained Julie Massucco, principal. “Our goal was to create a must-see Chicago landmark that would resonate as much with locals as it does with visitors.”
Rachman Massucco chose a mink brown, lavender grey and Macassar ebony design scheme for the lobby, which now features chocolate-colored wool area rugs, a dramatic Lucite-backed central banquette and faux zebra-skin ottomans. A special highlight are crystal glass-beaded wall and window treatments, and pearlized metallic wall coverings, that give the room a glittering feel reminiscent of its 1920’s roots.
The redesign also includes a new, all-day InnBar bar and lounge concept, which will offer guests their choice of signature martinis and the very best cordials and liquors, plus a selection of light appetizers.
Upstairs, in the newly renovated 58 executive guest rooms, a chocolate brown and celery color scheme replaces the quintessential teal/pink 1980s décor, and is punctuated by lacquered brown writing desks and sculptural table lamps made from aluminum and blown glass. All 357 guest rooms now feature 100-percent sateen bedding packages that include Serta Perfect Sleeper pillow-top mattresses, and 400-thread-count down-feather duvets and pillows. All bathrooms were redesigned in an all-white “spa” theme inspired by the Thassos white marble floors, and feature more luxurious showers.
The hotel’s prime Ohio Street location puts it steps from the world-class shops, restaurants, museums and galleries of Michigan Avenue’s prestigious Magnificent Mile area, including Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Nike Town, Hard Rock Café, Mike Ditka’s and ESPN Zone. Also within walking distance are Water Tower Place, Chicago Children’s Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Navy Pier, the John Hancock Building and Shedd Aquarium.
The Inn of Chicago Magnificent Mile is one of five hotel partnerships between Oxford Lodging and Dubai Investment Group. Oxford Lodging served as the lead investment advisor to Dubai’s September 2005 purchase of New York’s Essex House – a transaction that included the appointment of Oxford Lodging as asset manager and received the ALIS’ “Single Asset Transaction” award for 2005, presented by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and Burba Hotel Network (BHN).
Earlier this year, Oxford Lodging and Dubai purchased the 495-room Holiday Inn City Centre in Chicago, and has since initiated a $21-million renovation and repositioning of the property into the Chicago City Centre Hotel & Sports Club. That deal came after 2005 purchases by Oxford Lodging and Longwing Real Estate of the 417-room Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco, reopening this month after a $20-million renovation and repositioning, and the Adam’s Mark Jacksonville Hotel, a 966-room, convention hotel on the St. Johns River that has since been reflagged the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.
About Oxford Lodging Advisory & Investment Group, LLC
Oxford Lodging Advisory & Investment Group, LLC is an advisory and investment firm focused on the investment, asset management, property management and renovation of high-quality lodging assets. Oxford Lodging’s principals have been responsible for over $6 billion of lodging investments and have asset managed over 100 upscale and luxury hotels, resorts and conference centers. The firm is currently responsible for a $4.4-billion, 14,000-room portfolio of luxury and upscale hotels, conference centers and resorts located throughout the United States and Japan. Oxford Lodging’s principals and employees are direct investors in 75% of this portfolio. Oxford Lodging is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Tokyo. For more information on Oxford Lodging, please visit .
About Longwing Real Estate Ventures, LLC
Longwing Real Estate Ventures, LLC, a member of the Dubai Investment Group, is a New York-based private real estate investment company established to make investments across industries and market segments in North America. The Longwing team has made, since its establishment in early 2003, well over two dozen such investments totaling nearly $2 billion in real estate assets across a wide variety of market segments. For additional information about the Dubai Investment Group, Longwing, its employees and investment history, please visit Longwing’s website at .
About Kokua Hospitality, LLC
Kokua Hospitality is a property management firm affiliated with Oxford Lodging Advisory & Investment Group, LLC, of San Francisco. Purposely created by lodging management and operational experts as a management company with an investors’ sensibility, Kokua Hospitality blends the attention to detail of a customer service entity with the rigors of a real estate investment concern. The name (pronounced “koh-kooh-ah”) is Hawaiian for “to serve.” Based in San Francisco, Kokua Hospitality manages a growing portfolio of hotels and resorts nationwide.