Midwest Destination Guide

Windy City
Windy City
Loews Hotels & Resorts has broken ground on a new 400-room Chicago property that will offer more than 25,000 square feet of meeting space and a rooftop swimming pool upon completion in 2015. 

The 792-room InterContinental Chicago Magni­ficent Mile has completed a renovation of all 477 Grand Tower guest rooms. The hotel has more than 45,000 square feet of meeting space.

In April, the Hyatt Regency Chicago completed a three-year, $168 million renovation that upgraded guest rooms in the East and West Towers. The 2,019-room property features 228,000 square feet of meeting space.

Cleveland

 The $20 million, 150-room Aloft Cleveland Downtown opened last month with 3,000 square feet of meeting space and the brand's signature bar and lounge.

The new 750,000-square-foot Cleveland Con­vention Center opened in June as part of a $465 million development project, the largest in downtown Cleveland's history. The facility is designed for LEED Silver certification and offers a 225,928-square-foot exhibit hall, 16 meeting rooms and a 32,198-square-foot ballroom with dramatic views of Lake Erie.

According to reports, some $93 million left over from the convention center project will be used to help fund a $350 million downtown development program that will include a convention center hotel with up to 700 guest rooms and additional public improvements. Should the plans be realized, the hotel could open by 2016.

The Westin Cleveland Downtown will reopen next April following a four-month, $64 million renovation. The 484-room property is in the city's financial district, just steps from the new convention center, and will offer 20,000 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center, a spa, a steak house and a Starbucks.

The $500 million Flats East Bank development project, currently under way, aims to revitalize Cleveland's Cuyahoga riverfront area with retail, entertainment, residences, a 1,200-foot-long boardwalk, a riverfront beach, public parks and 10 restaurants. Phase one of the project, which includes a 23-story, 500,000-square-foot office tower, was completed this spring.

Convention Centers
International Exposition Center; exhibit space, 280,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 26; (216) 676-6000; ixcenter.com
Cleveland Convention Center; meeting and exhibit space, 225,928 square feet; meeting rooms, 16; (216) 920-1430; clevelandmedicalmart.com

Airport Transit
Cleveland Hopkins International Air­port, a 15-20 minute drive from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, up to $50; by shuttle, about $20

Taxes
Sales tax, 7.75%; county bed tax, 5.5%; city bed tax, 3%; total tax on hotel rooms, 16.25%  Group Venue
The Pickwick & Frolic Restaurant and Club is a unique event complex with a host of entertainment options for groups, from burlesque shows to comedy to murder-mystery dinners. Kevin's Martini Bar & Taproom features craft brews and classic martinis, while the intimate Champagne Bar offers more than 65 varieties of sparkling wine. The entire facility, including a bar area, two theaters and a restaurant, can hold up to to 900. (216) 241-7425; pickwickandfrolic.com

Contact
Positively Cleveland, (216) 875-6600; positivelycleveland.com

Other Cities, Other Sites
Other Cities, Other Sites
Indianapolis. The 157-room Alexan­der Hotel, a Dolce property, opened this past March in Indianapolis. The IACC-certified hotel includes more than 16,500 square feet of function space. (317) 624-8200; thealexander.com

The 1,005-room JW Marriott India­na­polis opened two years ago with about 103,000 square feet of meeting space.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The DoubleTree by Hilton Cedar Rapids Convention Complex opened in June following a two-year, $144 million investment. The 267-room property is adjacent to the 80,000-square-foot U.S. Cellular Convention Center. (319) 731-4444

Detroit. Construction at Detroit's Cobo Center continues as part of an ongoing $299 million revitalization that will be completed in January 2015. The project includes a 16,000-square-foot atrium, which features views of the Detroit River through a three-story glass wall. (313) 877-8777; cobocenter.com

Oklahoma City. The 134-room Aloft Oklahoma City is expected to open this November with approximately 5,000 square feet of function space. alofthotels.com

Construction on a new $252 million convention center in Oklahoma City is expected to begin in 2016 as part of the MAPS 3 project. Final concepts currently are being discussed by city officials.

WICHITA, KANSAS

The 117-room Ambassador Hotel Wichita opened last December with a 24-hour fitness center and 3,529 square feet of function space.

Also open as of last December, the Kansas Star Casino features 1,825 slot machines, 55 table games and a 6,000-seat arena for events.

Meeting Hotels
Among thea area's largest properties with meeting space are the 303-room Hyatt Regency Wichita, 302-room DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport, 294-room Wichita Marriott and 200-room Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel.

Convention Center
Century II Performing Arts & Con­vention Center; exhibit space, 195,500 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 19; (316) 264-9121; century2.org

Airport Transit
Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, a 12-minute drive from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $17

Taxes
Guest tax, 6%; sales tax, 7.15%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13.15%

Group Venue
Visitors can enjoy fresh air and sample wines at the Grace Hill Winery, 25 minutes north of downtown. The venue offers a 2,000-square-foot indoor event center and an adjacent courtyard overlooking the eight-acre vineyard. (316) 799-2511; gracehillwinery.com

Contact
Go Wichita, (800) 288-9424; gowichita.com


MILWAUKEE

The 205-room Milwaukee Marriott Downtown opened last month. The 
$54 million hotel has 9,000 square feet of function space.

Kimpton Hotels plans to open a 158-room property in the city's historic Third Ward by 2015. 

Meeting Hotels
To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, go to mcvenues.com.

Convention Center
Delta Center; exhibit space, 189,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 28; (414) 908-6072; deltacenter.com

Airport Transit
General Mitchell Inter­national Airport, about eight miles from downtown. Transfer cost by taxi, $28-$30. The city also is easily accessible by Amtrak, Greyhound and the Lake Express Ferry (from Michigan).

Taxes
Room tax, 9.5 percent; sales tax, 5 percent; special taxes, 0.6 percent. Total tax on hotel rooms, 15.1 percent

Contact
Visit Milwaukee, (414) 273-3950; visit milwaukee.org