Highland Park Courtyard by Marriott completes $1M lobby renovation
The Courtyard by Marriott on Lake Cook Road near the Edens Expressway has undergone a $1 million renovation with changes suited to the business traveler who values flexibility. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 12, 2013 8:16AM
HIGHLAND PARK — Business travelers who return to their hotel after a long day of meetings don’t necessarily want to retreat immediately to their rooms.
That’s the thinking behind much of a $1 million renovation at the Courtyard by Marriott on Lake Cook Road, right off the Edens Expressway. The Courtyard chain has been rolling out its “Refreshing Business” lobby concept across the nation over the past several years as it renovates and rebrands its hotels. The new lobbies are designed to give travelers greater flexibility to work and socialize in common spaces.
“Now, the lobby is more about inviting you to come down and have a good time,” said Josh Dierker, general manager of the 149-room hotel at 1505 Lake Cook Road, on the border between Highland Park and Northbrook.
The chain has replaced its breakfast buffet with a bistro that provides service for both breakfast and dinner. Beverages include some popular Starbucks offerings as well as wine, beer and cocktails.
“We have taken the feedback from a lot of our customers,” said Dierker. “This gives us the best of both worlds. It has some healthy options, but it also has some comfort to it.”
There’s a big-screen television in one lobby area. But the bistro also includes individual television sets for guests to catch up on the news, a sporting event or a favorite television show while relaxing.
Two computer stations have been added in the lobby’s business area specifically for hurried guests to print out their airline boarding passes. “They don’t have to wait for others who are using the computers for business purposes,” said Dierker.
There is also a utility table in the lobby for guests who want to plug in their own laptops.
While the Highland Park location caters predominantly to business guests at this time of year, the warmer weather will bring visitors in town for the Ravinia Festival and the Chicago Botanic Gardens just across the Edens Expressway.
“We are actually the closest hotel to Ravinia, but we also will provide transportation down there on request,” said Dierker. “Patrons can go down there and enjoy their wine and drinks and cheese. What is better than to have somebody transport you door to door, so you don’t have to drive?”
Janis Milham, vice president and global brand manager for Courtyard by Marriott, said the firm prides itself in listening to customers. Guests indicated they wanted more control and choices in services and amenities. “We redefined the Courtyard lobby so it invites guests to get out of their rooms, whether they are traveling alone,” she said, “or with colleagues.”