Chicago’s Park Hyatt turns on heat lamps on picketing unionized employees

Ouch. Were there any worse time to stage an outdoor protest in Chicago it would be this week. The temperature has been surging past 95 degrees for the past three days, and terrified residents are darting from air conditioned homestead to transportation to office.

The union workers at Chicago’s Park Hyatt are taking a stand though, and on schedule were protesting over the course of this past Thursday. At issue? They’re concerned with Hyatt’s ability to contract non-union workers in the future — and by extension the security of their current jobs. You can read more about their grievances over at the Chicago Tribune.

Naturally the strike is all within the rights of the unionized workers and the Park Hyatt has to respect their space — except that they turned on the outdoor heat lamps during the protest. The move, blamed on one unruly manager, caught the attention of WBEZ yesterday morning, and since that time the hotel has been on the defensive, issuing the following statement.

“Hyatt regrets the events that occurred at the Park Hyatt Chicago and apologizes to everyone who was impacted by them. After looking into the incident, we have determined that the decision to turn on the heaters was made by a manager. It was clearly a decision that was not in line with our values or with our corporate policies. We have a long history of respecting our associates’ rights and caring about their well-being and this unacceptable behavior is certainly is not illustrative of that history. We can assure you that this was an isolated incident and such a thing will not happen again”

[flickr image via Michael Lehet]

Daily Pampering: Romance and a Tiffany & Co. shopping spree at Park Hyatt Washington

Want to really wow your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day? It just might take you $8,000 … but you can do it. The Park Hyatt Washington is offering a special “Suite Romance” package that includes accommodations in its Presidential Suite, dedicated butler service, valet parking, Champagne and strawberries, an en-suite couples massage for two and a set of monogrammed robes.

Wow her with a private $2,000 shopping spree at Tiffany & Co., with chauffeured, round trip transportation in Park Hyatt Washington’s BMW 7-Series sedan. After, you’ll enjoy a specially-created, decadent five-course tasting menu for two with wine pairings at the hotel’s Blue Duck Tavern, the same restaurant where President and Mrs. Obama celebrated their anniversary. The meal will be accompanied by a live pianist and followed a private moonlight tour of the famed monuments and a rose petal bath in the suite’s handcarved travertine tub. Any one of those moments would be perfect for popping the question, but if you really want to wait … there’s also en-suite breakfast the next morning.

This special offer is only valid ON Valentine’s Day, so get hopping!

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.

[Flickr via ohad*]

Park Hyatt to open in New York City 2012

The rumors are true: Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corp will open its first luxury hotel in New York in 2012 in collaboration with Extell Development Corporation. The Manhattan Park Hyatt will become the U.S. flagship of the Park Hyatt brand of hotels.

The Park Hyatt New York – designed by world-renowned, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc – will be located at 157 West 57th Street between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue, across from Carnegie Hall.

Slated for completion in 2012, the 210-room hotel will be part of a 90-story mixed-use tower that will also feature 135 Thomas Juul-Hansen-designed luxury condominiums with breathtaking views of Central Park and the New York skyline.

No hotel in New York is complete without a bar and restaurant for people watching, adn the Park Hyatt New York will be no exception. The hotel will feature a bar and restaurant, plus 5,000 square feet of retail space and include a spa, fitness center, and indoor swimming pool in a three-story aerie at the top of the hotel.

The Park Hyatt – Hyatt Corp.’s luxury brand of hotels – is currently catering to travelers in Beijing, Buenos Aires, Carlsbad, Chicago, Dubai, Goa, Hamburg, Istanbul, Jeddah, Melbourne, Mendoza, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Saigon, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Washington, D.C., and Zurich.

[Photo credit: Atelier Christian De Portzamparc]

Hyatt is heading to China; plans 11 new properties in China

Hyatt Hotels Corporation is expanding across the Pacific, announcing plans to open 11 new Hyatt-branded hotels in emerging cities and resort destinations in China. The addition of these hotels means Hyatt has 22 properties under development in China across all of its full service brands, including Andaz.

The 11 new Hyatt hotels announced are:

  • Park Hyatt Changbaishan
  • Hyatt Regency Changbaishan
  • Hyatt Regency Changchun
  • Grand Hyatt Dalian
  • Hyatt Regency Guiyang
  • Hyatt Regency Jinan
  • Hyatt Regency Qingdao Grand
  • Hyatt Sanya Haitang Bay
  • Grand Hyatt Shenyang
  • Hyatt Regency Tianjin East
  • Hyatt Regency Wenzhou

Hyatt previously announced additional properties under development in Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Ningbo, Sanya Sunny Bay, Suzhou, Wuxi, and Xuzhou.

Four properties are slated to open in 2011:Park Hyatt Ningbo, a 253-room property, will be located on Dongqian Lake, one of the most scenic destinations in eastern China. About two hours drive from Shanghai, the hotel will feature low-rise buildings, private villas with spa and recreational facilities, meeting and banquet space and specialty restaurants.

Hyatt Regency Jinan, a 350-room property, will be part of the Wanda Plaza development, located in Shizhong District, one of the two central urban districts in Jinan. The hotel will offer meeting facilities, a spa and fitness center, and food and beverage outlets.

Hyatt Regency Guiyang, a 364-room property, will form part of the planned Guiyang International Conference and Exhibition Center located within the Jin-Yang New District of Guiyang, the economic and commercial hub of the Guizhou providence in Southwest China. Designed for the business traveler, the hotel will be adjacent to government offices and prime office and commercial space. Amenities will include five food and beverage options, meeting and residential style function space, ballroom, indoor pool, fitness center and spa.

Hyatt Regency Qingdao, a 450-room property, will be part of a high-end mixed-use development located on the Western end of Old Stone Beach in the Laoshan District of Qingdao, which is in Eastern China. The hotel, tailored to both business and leisure travelers, will enjoy unique ocean views and immediate beach access and will also provide a full range of amenities, including four restaurants and bars, multi-functional meeting space, indoor swimming pool, fitness center and spa.

The additional Hyatt hotels in China will be open in 2012.

A tale of two brunches: Two of Chicago’s finest brunches

Here in Chicago we take our brunches seriously — perhaps because our winter nights are long and we need something to shake the cobwebs of sleep from our weekends, or perhaps because we just need a good hangover cure. From Lincoln Park to Bucktown to Pilsen each neighborhood has its favorite haunt, Midwest sized stacks of French toast heaped on top of hashbrowns and bacon in a mountain of carbohydrate bliss.

The downtown hotel scene has done well at tapping into and emulating the thriving city brunch scene. Two of our favorites are only a stone’s throw away from the Magnificent Mile, making them well-accessible to locals, visitors and tourists alike.

Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan Ave), part of Marriott’s Blackstone Hotel, hosts an excellent Spanish-inspired brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings featuring a dazzling array of paella, tapas and sangria. Rolled across a sprawling, high ceilinged ballroom (pictured above,) the mood at Mercat is hip, laid back and inexpensive; one can get in and out of the restaurant for between $20 and $30 per person.

Just up the street in the Park Hyatt (800 N. Michigan Ave), NoMi‘s brunch is more of a high minded affair. With a main dining room that gazes over the Watertower square, the selection, service and dress code are nothing short of opulent. Custom ordered sushi or garden rolls from the in-house Japanese chefs? No problem. Hand cut roast from the carving station? They’ve got that too.

Sunday brunch at Nomi will run up to $55 per person with Saturday brunch an a la carte affair. For a real treat try NoMi on Mother’s Day, when a multi-course, no-holds-barred brunch will set you back over $100 each.