Photos: ©2008balloggphoto.com 
With the uncertain economy in the back of most minds and expenses being cut in households, vacations seem to be the first indulgence to go. Instead of eliminating a vacation all together, Chicagoans can keep costs down and stay local for a weekend getaway at the newly renovated Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. With a whole new look to the hotel, guests can relax in the lap of luxury and are able to enjoy the benefits of staying in the heart of Chicago.
Bulley & Andrews , general contractors for the $12 million renovation to the Marriott, finished the multi-phased program earlier this year. The 46-story hotel in the middle of Chicago’s most popular avenue underwent a revitalization that transformed it into a more contemporary and lavish hotel.
Renovations and new features to the hotel include an updated lobby with self check-in kiosks and front desk pods, making it easy for guests to check in and out. Also attached to the lobby is a new full-service Starbucks Coffee shop.
The lobby bar, once small with minimal seating, has become the focal point of the lobby area. Now an oversized bar with high top community tables and soft seating, it lures in hotel guests. Not to mention, the new LED (light-emitting diode) illuminated torch sculpture that provides an uplifting glow throughout the entire space. The sculpture, complete with individual resin panels, each formed and molded to precise dimensions, provides an overall radiating effect.
Additional renovations include a new grand staircase linking the lobby to the second floor club lounge, FedEx Kinko’s and newly relocated restaurant. The hotel’s meeting rooms and ballrooms received attention too, now operating with 65,000 square feet of vertically-stacked flexible meeting rooms and a new 4,000 square foot ballroom. And finally, 25 high-end suites were transformed to include ergonomic furniture, signature bedding and LCD HDTV’s.
The renovation, spanning over seven construction phases, was completed while the hotel remained fully operational. As construction was done both day and night, special attention was made not to disrupt hotel visitors, especially during overnight hours.
“The logistics of the lobby renovation proved to be a challenge,” said Bill Kroeger, project executive at Bulley & Andrews. “There were daily schedule changes and continuous communication with hotel management in order for the hotel operations to continue without disruption. When it was complete, the end product was a success for the Marriott.”