CHICAGO—W Hotels Worldwide and Chesapeake Lodging Trust have unveiled the full-scale, $38 million renovation of W Chicago – Lakeshore, which combines the energy of the ‘Windy City’ with the waters of Lake Michigan. The only hotel located on Lake Shore Drive in the heart of the city, W Chicago – Lakeshore has transformed all 520 guestrooms and its signature Living Room experience; expanded its 14,000 square feet of meeting and event space to include three new outdoor spaces; and introduced a new signature restaurant, Current, with Executive Chef Gregory Elliott at the helm.
“W Chicago – Lakeshore has been reimagined to reflect iconic architecture and vibrancy of Chicago, pulling inspiration from the 24/7 energy of the W brand DNA,” said Anthony Ingham, vice president, North America global brand management, W Hotels. “With new cutting-edge designs and reinvigorated bar, restaurant, and event spaces throughout, the reveal of W Chicago – Lakeshore is a true milestone in our strategy to ensure W Hotels around the country deliver a dynamic lifestyle experience for both guests and locals alike.”
“We are very proud of our transformation of this incredible hotel,” said Jim Francis, president and CEO of Chesapeake. “The project’s end result captures all the design and energy elements we had hoped for and so much more.”
The transformation of W Chicago – Lakeshore is a key project in the second wave of renovation projects, part of the W brand’s plan to reinvigorate its iconic North American portfolio. The aggressive strategy includes a significant investment by the W brand and its ownership groups with cutting-edge updates to public spaces, new signature bar and restaurant concepts, and stylish guestroom refreshes in key markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Mexico City, and Washington, D.C.
New York-based interior design and architecture firm Meyer Davis Design and Starwood’s design team collaborated to redesign W Chicago – Lakeshore to reflect the views of the hotel, combining the beauty of Lake Michigan with the urban environment of the city. The guestrooms draw the eye to the lake’s reflections and the illumination of Chicago with each window featuring a seamless window frame. The color palate is a blend of soft tones, which allow for the views to pop and serve as the focal point of the room. Additionally, the light fixtures were changed to chandeliers to reflect and amplify the light and views, and mirrors were added to the walls for yet another reflective design element.
The décor in the public spaces reflect the W brand’s urban New York City roots, merged with the vibrancy of Chicago. The Living Room has undergone a bold transformation, including a completely revamped layout to increase the space flow and energy. A spray can mural acts as an accent behind the Welcome Desk, a historical nod to the aerosol can, which originated in Chicago and is now used in modern day street art. The Living Room was broken into smaller circular lounges that have the opportunity to create social gathering spaces. A central point to the lounge is a circular DJ booth, that creates a dynamic energy to the space as guests enjoy activities of the restaurant, bar, and Living Room.
The hotel also expanded its 14,000 square feet of meeting space to include an additional venue on the two top floor spaces; Altitude and Skyline. Altitude offers 360 degree views of the lake and city with floor to ceiling windows, and Skyline, a new adjacent space for even more flexibility with meetings and social events.
“Meyer Davis is excited to present the redesign of W Chicago – Lakeshore, which utilizes the textural and light qualities distinct to its Lakeshore Drive location,” said Patrick Martin, project designer at Meyer Davis. “Our concept showcases the confluence of a vibrant world class city meeting the serene edge of Lake Michigan.”
As part of the renovation, W Chicago – Lakeshore has debuted Current (also designed by Meyer Davis), a fresh, modern take on seasonal Italian cuisine showcasing Chef Gregory Elliott’s simple and soulful ingredient-driven dishes.
“Having worked in this location leading up to the opening of Current, we really developed our menus with our guests in mind,” explained Chef Elliott, who has worked at some of the most renowned kitchens in the country, including Brannan’s Grill in Napa Valley, one sixtyblue, Ambria and Lockwood restaurants in Chicago. “Pair our made-in-house pastas, pizza and salumi with our hand-crafted Italian cocktails, boutique wine list and array of local microbrews, and you can’t go wrong.”