THE ST. CLAIR Hotel celebrated its hard opening on Oct. 1 in downtown Chicago. The 208-room hotel is a former Red Roof Inn which underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation to become Red Roof’s first hotel in its Red Collection, a soft brand.
The project was a complete gut of the 16-story structure, built in the mid-1920s as the Hotel Eastgate. The renovation added 13 rooms.
Red Roof developed the St. Clair as part of joint venture with Westmont Hospitality Group. Red Roof manages the property. A restaurant will soon open, elevating the property to a full-service status.
Andrew Alexander, president of Red Roof, said the hotel will command an upper midscale rate, providing visitors to Chicago a unique and affordable stay. ADR averages around $150 and will fluctuate depending on the season and the city’s convention schedule.
The hotel has many room types, which gave the developer numerous design options. A special feature is a “king-king” room designed with families in mind. Many rooms are long and narrow and gave designers an opportunity to come up with something unique.
“It’s always a challenge to make the most out of your space,” said Alexander during a tour of the hotel. “This is not a cookie-cutter building. It has numerous room types, and each room has its own feel.”
Every room has a black-and-white photo mural of downtown Chicago. The one-wall images “incorporate the city right into the room,” Alexander said. “It gives people a connection to where they are. They are here to be in Chicago, not be in a hotel room.”
The rooms also have plenty of windows providing one-of-a-kind views to Streeterville, the neighborhood where the St. Clair is located. The property also is one block east from Magnificent Mile, a business, retail and entertainment district that leads south to the Chicago River and north to Oak Street Beach.
While the property was a Red Roof Inn it consistently received positive guest reviews on location and service, Alexander said. But the dated design diluted overall guest satisfaction. “The renovation will allow the hotel to reach excellence in all three categories.”
Although it’s a soft brand, the St. Clair Hotel connects the property to Red Roof via its “Red Thread,” which includes fast, verified Wi-Fi, an amenity that trumps free breakfast in most travelers’ minds, said Marina MacDonald, chief marketing officer at Red Roof.
Guest rooms have multiple electrical outlets and USB ports.
An extra feature of the hotel that allows management to drive more revenue is the “Elite Windy City” guest room, which has special amenities that enhance sleep such as a white noise machine and a kit with an eye mask and ear plugs. Elite guests also will receive a snack box filled with locally sourced goods and a photo frame.