Loews Hotels & Resorts Debuts New Downtown-Chicago Property

Loews Hotels & Resorts has opened the second hotel in the city’s downtown so far this year, but it won’t be the last.

Loews Hotels & Resorts has opened the 400-room Loews Chicago Hotel, the second hotel to open in the city’s downtown so far this year, but it won’t be the last with about 2,200 new rooms scheduled to come online in 2015.

Located in Streeterville, the luxury hotel is one block north of the Chicago River and two blocks east of North Michigan Avenue. While Loews, a wholly owned subsidiary of Loews Corp., also owns the Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare Hotel in the region, this is the first Loews-owned hotel in downtown Chicago in many years.

“Returning to Chicago with a branded hotel has been a goal of ours for some time now,” Jonathan Tisch, chairman, Loews Hotels & Resorts, said in a news release. “It is especially exciting for us to be able to expand our footprint by adding such a spectacular property at a time when Chicago is thriving.”

The wholly-owned hotel has 400 guestrooms, including 25 suites, and more than 29,000 square feet of meeting space. It’s got a lobby bar named ETA; the largest outdoor rooftop terrace in the city called Streeterville Social and an Argentine restaurant headed by celebrity Iron Chef Jose Garces. The property also features a luxury spa, state-of-the-art fitness center and 75-foot lap pool. It was designed by Simeone Deary Design Group and Solomon Cordwell Buenz architects, all of Chicago.

The Loews Chicago Hotel expands the group’s footprint in the Midwest. In addition to the Chicago O’Hare hotel, Loews also opened a hotel in Minneapolis in 2014. The company said it is also growing its brand in gateway cities and resort destinations. Last month, it announced it was buying the 158-room Mandarin Oriental San Francisco Hotel. In June, along with its partner, Universal Parks & Resorts, Loews opened the 1,800-room Cabana Bay Beach Resort at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. A few months later, the joint venture partners announced plans for Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando, which is due in summer of 2016 and will have 1,000 rooms.

Crain’s Chicago Business reported there will be 2,200 new hotel rooms added in downtown Chicago this year, the most in at least a decade. The 250-room Virgin Hotel opened in January in the Loop. But Chicago is not the only city in the United States seeing an uptick in hospitality construction. There were 3,644 hotel projects totaling 438,957 rooms under contract in the U.S., a nearly 19 percent increase compared with January 2014, according to the January STR Pipeline Report. STR said under contract data includes projects in construction, final planning and planning stages but does not included projects that are unconfirmed. The report noted the January increase in rooms under construction throughout the U.S. was 31.8 percent.

“The U.S. development pipeline continues to increase steadily. January rooms under construction hit 127,653, an increase of more than 6 percent from December 2014 and about one-third higher than January 2014,” Bobby Bowers, senior vice president of STR, Inc., said in a news release. “Upscale and Upper midscale brands continue to dominate construction activity, accounting for two-thirds the total.”