Radisson Blu debuts in Chicago

Radisson Blu debuts in Chicago

Radisson has been a familiar name in hospitality in the United States for more than 100 years. But last month marked the first time that a Radisson Blu-branded property opened on U.S. soil. The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel opened in Chicago on November 1, 2011, promising to be a major player on the Windy City’s design hotel scene.

“The reception has been amazing,” says Fred Khoury, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Radisson Blu Aqua. “The hotel has over $3 million in business booked already. The feedback has been great regarding the hotel and people are very impressed with the design and amenities.”

Radisson Blu Aqua has quite a roster of amenities, owing to the fact that the hotel is located on the lower 18 floors of the the Aqua Tower, an 81-story “Skyscraper of the Year” that doubles as a luxury residential building. There is an 8,000-square-foot fitness center with a basketball half-court and a lap pool, a private art gallery, a roof deck landscaped with gardens and gazebos, an in-hotel movie screening room, and a game room. For dining and socializing, Radisson Blu Aqua has Filini, a contemporary Italian restaurant with a sleek, minimalist look, and a martini bar. Gadling readers will be happy to know that the Blu Aqua also includes complimentary wifi access among the many in-room amenities.

%Gallery-140960%The introduction of Radisson Blu in the United States represents a new direction for Radisson in this country. Blu is Radisson’s “upper upscale” brand, an industry term for the tier that falls right below “luxury” and is one of the best-performing segments in the hotel industry. By comparison, hotels branded simply under the Radisson name, the most common type of Radisson brand in the U.S., are in the “upscale” tier; Radisson Blu’s competition includes brands such as Marriott Hotels, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt, and Westin. Until this year, Blu was Radisson’s main imprint in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with 222 properties worldwide. Now Radisson is taking its overseas brand and launching it in the U.S. It’s as if Radisson’s offspring is returning from boarding school abroad, cultured and more glamorous.

Radisson plans to slowly introduce more Blu hotels to the U.S. market. Only one other brand-new Radisson Blu is under construction, to be connected to the Mall of America. That may seem like an odd choice for a new build, especially for a design hotel. However, Carlson, the parent company of Radisson and Radisson Blu, is headquartered in Minnesota, site of the very first Radisson hotel. In addition to the new Blu hotels, Radisson plans to convert two other U.S. hotels into Blu properties. The Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis and the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel Philadelphia will be converted into Blu hotels, but dates have yet to be determined.

In the meantime, Radisson is celebrating the opening of Chicago’s Radisson Blu Aqua with a massive promotion. The Radisson Big Night Giveaway offers 50,000 gold points in Club Carlson, Radisson’s Global Hotel Rewards Program, for anyone who registers for the promotion AND stays one night in any Radisson or Radisson Blu hotel in the U.S., Canada, or the Caribbean by December 30, 2011.