Chicago, Chicago, That Toddlin’ Town. Sweet Home Chicago. The Band from Chicago. Drunk on the Train to Chicago… Whoops, ignore that last song title so we can focus on the task at hand.

There are more songs about the city I call home than I could ever possibly remember. Strangely enough, despite our love of the Windy City and the fact that our company is based here, we only do about 25% of our conference planning business in Chicago. We should probably rethink that because as far as cities go, Chicago is one of the best on the planet. Really. I am not lying. People said it on the internet. People said it here, and here, and here, and these folks even said Chicago is one of the best beach cities in the universe or some such nonsense.

Why so many accolades? Because Chicago has oodles of amazing restaurants, hundreds of awesome hotels, top-tier convention space out the wazoo, and two airports where you can get direct flights from just about anywhere, a non-smelly public transportation system that is clean, efficient, and safe, and so much stimulating cultural stuff that your brain might explode because it is absorbing all kinds of smart things.

Because we are so familiar with the city, we don’t need to do many site inspections to find good conference venues. Venue Six10? Did an event there last year and have another one coming up this fall. Chicago Hilton and Towers? Finished an event there in February and have another in September. The 95th at the Hancock Building? Attended an event about a month ago. Chicago Cultural Center. Headed there next week. You know how it goes… You become so familiar with a place that you overlook what is right in front of you.

Spending a good chunk of your life in one spot means that you don’t see the gradual changes that happen all around us and if you don’t stop and look around, great venues might literally be invisible to you. This was the case with the Raddison Blu Chicago. I kept hearing about it, walking past it, going under it, over it, and all around it without ever walking into it. Until now. Now, I have a client event coming up in September, I had some learning to do.

The Radisson Blu for Meetings and Events

Radisson Blu – Quick Facts for Meeting Planners:

  • 28,000 Square feet of meeting space (we have three concurrent sessions and a few breakouts, about 500 attendees)
  • 334 Guest rooms (a good mix of kings, queen/queens, and suites)
  • Silver LEED certified (green is good)
  • Free internet for attendees (can you hear the angels singing)
  • Amenities including Chicago’s largest outdoor deck, a running track, and indoor / outdoor pools (see the slideshow, our outdoor reception is gonna rock)
  • Check out more at the Radisson Blu website

Here are some of the pics I took with my phone, not bad right, my phone rocks.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What I love most about the Radisson Blu is the location. Just to the east of Michigan Ave in Chicago’s Loop, you can’t get better real estate. Attendees will love that it is walkable to most of downtown, is a short cab ride from River North, and is easily trainable to both airports.

Heck, attendees that want a quick break are just steps away from Chicago’s Bean. That sculpture thing you see in everyone’s Chicago pictures… It has a name, Chicagoans don’t know what that name is, we just call it the bean.

Chicago Meetings and Events

I am not going to give you phony feedback on the awesome service, the amazing food, or how the feng shui compliments the color of my hair because any good meeting planner knows that these things can change day to day, hour to hour. And really… Does any big conference hotel have service or food that is really that bad? Sure, there is the occasional bad actor, nasty chicken, or the occasional lapse in service but these issues get weeded out fast because no corporate office, no VP, and no General Manager is going to put up with that crap for very long. The service at the Radisson Blu is excellent and I am sure it will be excellent when our attendees check-in this September.

What I will comment on, and where many hotels fall down, is in their decor, their menu choices, and their vibe. As meeting planners, we have all been in hotels that feel like museums, hotels that feel like morgues, and hotels that are just plain boring or so overly pretentious that they make you want to puke. This is not one of those hotels. Anyone looking to plan a meeting or a conference will find that the Radisson Blu is hip and cool in a way that the average person without the beard, MacBook Pro, and American Apparel hoodie will appreciate.

Rates at the Radisson are good. In line with other Chicago properties. Chicago is a Global City so it is not cheap. If you are from New York or San Francisco, you will be pleasantly surprised, if you are from Dubuque, you will probably fall over the back of your chair. The same holds true for F&B, good variety, good pricing, and no surprises which is what conference organizers want. Nothing that springs up halfway through the process

So. Coming to Chicago to plan a meeting or a conference? Add the Radisson Blu to your short list. Good location, good vibe in one of America’s best cities. How can you beat that… This is a good conference hotel that knows what it is and what it wants to be.