Choice Hotels Believes Location Is Best Asset For Cambria Chicago Loop Hotel
Choice Hotels is debuting its upscale Cambria Hotels & Suites brand to downtown Chicago at an interesting time for the hotel sector. Although Chicago tourism numbers last year inched closer to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's stated goal of 55 million visitors by 2020, RevPAR for downtown hotels fell to $154.14 in 2016, the first decrease since 2009. This year, seven new hotels will open in the downtown market, adding a total of 2,060 rooms to available inventory. But the hotel's ownership is not fazed.
Choice Hotels and Murphy Development Group are expected to open the 199-room Cambria Chicago Loop hotel in the offices above the Oriental Theatre at 32 West Randolph in a couple of weeks. Cambria Hotels director of sales Laura O'Hara said Choice and Murphy are not fazed by the flood of deliveries coming to the market and feel the Cambria brand is well-positioned to grab some immediate market share and attract customers.
O'Hara said the Cambria's location in the middle of the downtown theater district positions it equally well to attract tourists, theater buffs seeking bundled show packages that include overnight lodging, trade show stragglers and corporate accounts. By diversifying the customer base, O'Hara believes the Cambria Chicago Loop can reach its target RevPAR of $190/room by the end of 2017. O'Hara and her sales team have been promoting the Choice Privileges rewards program, which was ranked the second-best hotel points program by U.S. News World Report, to corporate accounts.
Guests at the Cambria Chicago Loop will find some top-of-the-line amenities. O'Hara said the Oriental's shell lent itself nicely for adaptive reuse as a hotel, since the Cambria's suite floor plans are already at set footprints. All of the suites will include built-in headboards and bedside tables with energy-efficient lighting. Bathrooms have sliding barn doors that were chosen as space savers, and Bluetooth speakers behind the bathroom mirrors allow guests to have speakerphone conversations or listen to music.
Inside the suites, smart TVs will allow guests to stream their Netflix, Hulu and other accounts directly. O'Hara said the rooms were designed to maximize footprint for working. Most of the rooms face south, which will allow the Oriental's marquee to reflect into the rooms at night.
In a nod to the Oriental's landmark status, each room will have accent wall art with pre-Great Chicago Fire maps of the city. This one, in one of the Cambria Chicago Loop's double queen suites, shows streets that no longer exist, in the grid pattern that allowed the city to expand at a rapid rate during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Bathrooms are a mix of full tubs or standing rain showers.
The hotel lobby will be on the ninth floor, as will the Cambria's restaurant and lounge, and conference/meeting rooms. The Cambria Chicago Loop is one of three Cambrias Choice is opening in Chicago. Choice is repurposing the MileNorth Hotel on Michigan Avenue into the Cambria Hotels & Suites Magnificent Mile, and is also planning a Cambria near Midway International Airport.