The Westin Chicago North Shore – A Conference Gem

Some days I imagine that it must be tough to be a suburban hotel.

You have to compete with Downtown properties, resorts and all manner of bad ju-ju to gain business. Add to this the fact that many suburban properties are in odd locations, getting a little run down and treated like red headed step children by their parent brands, it might get a little disheartening.

Yesterday I had the privilege of doing a site at the Westin Chicago North Shore in suburban Chicago. I am looking to place a program for a client that has, well, unique needs. Rather than looking at those needs as a drawback, Jim (our sales rep) and Ethan (the director of sales) spent their time telling us why those unique needs made them the perfect fit for the hotel. Not one word about the extra burden these needs will make on the staff, the rooms or meeting space. They looked at these needs as a selling point and focused on how they could help me by making my life easier and my clients event stellar.

Let me tell you, this positive approach and attitude did not go unnoticed. My meeting with an O’Hare property earlier in the week was filled with how my unique needs were going to be a problem, an issue and a hassle……but the O’Hare property said that they would “work through them”….ugg. Made me feel wanted.

The Westin is located off of i-294 about 14 Miles from O’Hare Airport. Not a perfect location, but close enough. Easy access from Downtown Chicago, O’Hare airport and Milwaukee (In addition to about 3 million other Chicagoland residents).

This is an amazing property and I do not say that lightly. I think that most of the suburban Chicago Properties are not so great, this includes most of the O’Hare properties. Now there are exceptions to the rule, of course.

What makes this Westin remarkable is the fact that after 3 years, it looks, smells and feels brand new, the layout is spectacular and they have more meeting space than most conferences or meetings would ever need. Add to this the fact that they have a friendly, helpful staff that genuinely like where they work and you have a winner (It also helps that they have an exact copy of the hotel built out of Lego in the lobby, that is just cool).

The hotel is also centrally located to some of the largest corporations in the Chicago area and hosts a million pharma and insurance events every year. Why is this important? They are familiar with meeting and event planners and how we operate so we can save our eye rolls for another time.

Here are some of the highlights of what I learned:

  • Located in Wheeling, Illinois on Chicago’s Northshore
  • Pretty easy access to I-94 and I-294
  • 412 guest rooms and suites
  • Backs to a Forest Preserve and the Des Plaines River so that removes some of the suburban feel
  • Fully-equipped business center
  • A total of 35,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space (14,825-square foot Ravinia Grand Ballroom, the largest
    on the North Shore, and three junior ballrooms, each
    measuring approximately 5,000 square feet)
  • Complimentary self-parking is close and easy. Not the hike at other hotels.
  • Six restaurants, either on property or within a two minute walk

If you are looking to place a meeting in the Midwest and are looking for a suburban location, this property would be a great fit and a great value, give it a look:

The Westin Chicago North Shore

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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