Expansions & Renovations

Chicago's Historic Blackstone Hotel Joins Autograph Collection Hotels Following Multi-Million Dollar Renovation

CHICAGO, IL. USA – MAY 15, 2017 – Autograph Collection Hotels, part of Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR), today announced The Blackstone will join the brand’s diverse and distinguished portfolio of over 100 independent hotels around the world on June 7, 2017. A hallmark of hospitality and history in the Windy City, the hotel shares the brand’s values of vision, design and craft and it’s exactly like nothing else mantra.

“The Blackstone has found its home as part of Autograph Collection Hotels given its rich history, exceptional design and iconic reputation,” said Julius Robinson, Vice President and Global Brand Lead, Autograph Collection Hotels. “Our one-of-a-kind hotels are known for providing differentiated, standout guest experiences, and we are thrilled to welcome global travelers and Chicago locals alike to this latest addition to our dynamic portfolio.”

Following the hotel’s large scale architectural restoration of $139 million in 2008, this multi-million dollar renovation refreshes the original work of renowned Chicago architectural firm Marshall and Fox, highlighting the early twenty-first century grandeur and craftsmanship while incorporating state-of-the-art technology and modern amenities. A Chicago landmark on the city’s Cultural Mile along Michigan Avenue, the hotel’s refreshed interior design carries through to the hotel’s 335 guestrooms and suites, which feature marble accents, plush bedding and dynamic textiles. Upgraded accommodations up the ante with unobstructed views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan spanning from Navy Pier to Soldier Field.

“The Blackstone has long been the cornerstone of hospitality in Chicago,” says Kim Corrigan, General Manager of The Blackstone. “The opportunity to join Autograph Collection Hotels amplifies this same distinctly hospitable and cultural spirit coupled with the unique design elements of our architecturally-stunning property.”

The creative spirit of The Blackstone is brought to life through uniquely-curated art pieces by more than 1,600 local artists placed throughout the hotel, including in the Art Hall, guest rooms and public spaces, as well as woven throughout various guest touchpoints including the bespoke room keys, in-room amenities, and more.

A NOTABLE AND NOTORIOUS HISTORY IN THE HEART OF CHICAGO Living up to its distinction as the “Hotel of Presidents” for over 100 years, The Blackstone has hosted U.S. presidents and foreign dignitaries, scandalous political and mob exchanges, a star-studded array of actors, and more than a dozen movie productions. In 1920, The hotel became known for the Smoked Filled Suite following the Republican Party leaders’ secret meeting to nominate Warren G. Harding as their candidate for president. Additionally, the hotel’s Suite of Presidents saw the likes of President Dwight Eisenhower watching his nomination for president from the room in 1952, and President John F. Kennedy preparing for D.C. negotiations on the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. In turn, The Blackstone also became known as the location of Chicago gangster Al Capone’s barbershop, nestled below street level in a “barbershop” lounge that still remains today.

The hotel honors these illustrious and notorious tales through “Back in the Day” Turn Down & Other Stories available in each room, encouraging guests to create their own history while staying at The Blackstone Hotel.

The "Barbershop" Lounge

ELEVATED DINING AT THE BLACKSTONE The Blackstone Hotel’s culinary programming culminates at Mercat a la Planxa, which fuses age-old flavors from Spain’s Catalan region with a signature twist, resulting in an inspired menu market-fresh seafood, and distinctive steaks along with Cava, sangria, and wine. Having recently undergone its own refreshing restoration, the sultry Mercat a la Planxa and Mercat Lower Lounge, off Michigan Avenue, is open nightly for cocktails and tapas. Come nightfall at The Blackstone Hotel, the newly-transformed lobby becomes a social hub for hotel guests and local tastemakers alike to gather and enjoy live local music, cultural programmimg and drinks from Timothy’s Hutch. A new addition following the hotel’s renovation, Timothy’s Hutch features unique cocktail programming that takes guests through the past, present, and future of The Blackstone.

For more information about The Blackstone, visit: www.theblackstonehotel.com; and for more information about Autograph Collection Hotels, visit: www.autographhotels.com.

About Autograph Collection Hotels

Autograph Collection Hotels, part of Marriott International, Inc., celebrates individuality by curating one-of-a-kind travel experiences at more than 100 luxury lifestyle hotels in nearly 30 countries and territories, among the world’s most desirable destinations. Exactly like nothing else, Autograph Collection properties are hand selected for their rich character and uncommon details. A personal realization of an individual founder’s vision, these hotels are defined by unique design, differentiated guest experiences and their meaningful role in locality. Autograph Collection Hotels is proud to participate in the industry’s award-winning loyalty program, Marriott Rewards® which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®. Members can now link accounts with Starwood Preferred Guest® at members.marriott.com for instant elite status matching and unlimited points transfer. For more information, please visit www.autographhotels.com, and explore our social media channels on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to learn more about championing the independent spirit that is #ExactlyLikeNothingElse.

About Marriott

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,000 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 122 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts. The company also operates award-winning loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. Connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

Contact:
Emmy Carragher / Jessica Levine
emmy@wagstaffworldwide.com or jlevine@wagstaffworldwide.com

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Food & Beverage: Multiplicity and Diversity are Key
The challenge for hotel food and beverage operations is to serve the personal tastes and needs of an increasingly diverse population and, at the same time, to keep up with ever-evolving industry trends. In order to accomplish this, restaurateurs and hoteliers have to flex their creative muscles and pull out all the stops to satisfy their various audiences. One way to achieve this is to utilize existing food spaces in multiple ways at different times of the day. Lunch can be casual and fast, while dinnertime can be more formal and slower paced. The same restaurant can offer counter service by day but provide table service by night, with a completely different menu and atmosphere. Changes in music, lighting, uniforms and tabletop design contribute to its transformation. This multi- purpose approach seeks to meet the dining needs of guests as they change throughout the day. Today’s restaurants also have to go to great lengths to fulfill all the diverse dietary preferences of their guests. The popularity of plant-based, paleo, vegan, and gluten and allergen-free diets means that traditional menus must evolve from protein-heavy, carb-loaded offerings to those featuring more vegetables and legumes. Chefs are doing creative things with vegetables, such as experimenting with global cuisines or incorporating new vegetable hybrids into their dishes. Another trend is an emphasis on bold and creative flavors. From chili oil to sriracha to spicy maple syrup, entrees, desserts and beverages are all being enhanced with spice and heat. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.