Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group held a full service brands conference at the Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago the last three days of February 2013.
This is my second stay at the hotel courtesy of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. I was there for three free nights last month during the Carlson Rezidor Full Service Brands (Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza brands) hotel conference. In November 2011 I was invited for the media familiarization trip for the hotel opening.
Links to hotel articles from the 2011 trip are at the end of this post.
This post focuses on the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel public spaces and The Lounge on the 17th floor. The room will be covered in a separate post to show the difference in detail between the two room styles and their décor.
Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago.
The wavy design of the Aqua Tower has won architectural awards and even an environmental design award from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – PETA – for the hotel’s visibility to birds in flight. A large number of birds in the U.S. die every year from flying into the windows of skyscrapers reflecting sky imagery.
Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago.
The hotel is located on the lowest 18 floors of the 859-ft Aqua Tower. Residential units are located on floors 19-81.
Cityscape illustrated walls at Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago.
One of my favorite aspects of the hotel is walking down the hallway corridor to the elevators and checking out the drawings of buildings on the walls.
The Lounge on the 17th floor of the hotel was open for this stay. The Lounge was being furnished in November 2011 and I had to get special permission to even see the space. The hotel manager did not want me to post photos of the unfinished lounge in 2011.
The Lounge, Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago, February 2013.
Well, here is the look now.
The hotel was filled with Carlson Rezidor management, executives, hotel owners and managers, and media. The hotel lounge was the press room for the conference so it was not set up for normal lounge breakfast service since all hotel guests were attending the conference.
The Lounge on 17th floor Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago.
The Carlson Rezidor Full Service conference meant the hotel was fully booked and some attendees needed to stay at other hotels. There is an underground passage connecting the Radisson Blu Aqua to the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park across the street.
There is plenty of seating space for 50 or so in the lobby area and another 150 or so in Filini restaurant and bar.
Lobby seating in Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago.
Filini Restaurant and Bar on two levels of Radisson Blu Aqua.
Metal floor tiling walkway from lobby to art gallery area.
Art Gallery corridor between lobby and conference center/ballroom. Items in foreground were temporary placements with charity buttons on a board signifying donations made by attendees during the Carlson Rezidor conference.
The display of items at the hotel entrance prevents people from congregating by the restaurant stairs and spilling over into the entrance walkway no matter how crowded the hotel. Traffic flows from the entrance to the hotel elevators, the lobby, the conference center walkway or hotel dining area. Reception is isolated on the left side of entrance and located away from lobby/dining environment.
This trip to the Radisson Blu Aqua was a conference/business meeting trip and an entirely different kind of experience than the small intimate media trip in 2011. Elevators were slow and crowded just before meeting time.
The conference room set-up worked well at the hotel with a dedicated area and enough corridor space for ballroom pre-dinner gatherings of 200 or so people. The formal dinners were about 500 guests with good quality food and in fact, noticeably better food than nearly any of quite a few conference meals I ate in 2012.
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group conferences always has sufficient Indian food diet attendees that many of the meals have the option of Indian food choices.
Ballroom space at Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago.
The snow and wind and busy schedule kept me inside the hotel most of the time.
I checked out some of the second floor fitness facilities again, but did not get to the 3rd floor pool on this trip.
There are some cool rooms after you exit the elevator and before you reach the fitness center on the second floor.
This is a common space in the mixed-use residential hotel complex.
A media room, a game room and the fitness center are around this space.
Game Room, 3rd floor, Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago.
Media Room at Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago.
One of several rooms in fitness center.
Yoga room. Fitness center also has basketball court room and weights room.
One portion of weight room at Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago.
The Mansion House room design for my stay is a blue style and different from the ‘naturally cool’ light wood style of my previous stay in Radisson Blu Aqua Room 604.
The Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago ‘Mansion House’ style room photos are in this Loyalty Traveler post (to come).
There was also good information at the Carlson Rezidor conference about third-party online travel agency agreements and Club Carlson benefits delivery that I will share with readers in another post.
Tour of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago (Nov 20, 2011) – this has more photos of the fitness center, pool area and hotel gardens area. The rooftop garden was buried under snow this 2013 trip.
Guest Room 604 at Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago (Nov 19, 2011).
My Stay at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel (Nov 18, 2011).
Bird-friendly Aqua Tower and Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago (Nov 15, 2011)
Chicago River Architecture Tour (Mar 31, 2012)