01
Feb
12

guest star: Chicago Mart Plaza – not your typical Holiday Inn

Stitely Entertainment is proud to host our 5th Annual Valentine’s Dance on February 11 at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza.  This year’s party is sure to be a great success with live music provided by the Stitely Orchestra from 8-11 p.m. in the Wolf Point Ballroom. A special prix fixe dinner menu is available for only $35 per person from 5-8 p.m. at Chicago Mart Plaza’s in-house restaurant, ItaliAsia.  Or make it an extra special evening by booking an overnight stay at a low $99 rate. Bring your sweetie or your friends and celebrate Valentine’s Day with us at this free event. Click here for more information about the dance and read on to hear more from Barbara Martin, Director of Catering Sales for the fabulous Chicago Mart Plaza.

Stitely Entertainment (SE): What makes the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza different from other hotels? 
Barbara Martin (BM): The Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza is located in the historic River North area of downtown Chicago known as “Wolf Point” with spectacular views of the city. Regardless of the direction you look at from our hotel, we feature the best of Chicago’s architecture. Over the last 4 years, the hotel has undergone a $26 million renovation and has been updated with contemporary furnishings and décor. The Mart Plaza also became the first LEED certified hotel in North America due to the energy saving features that were added during the renovations. We provide the best value for a downtown hotel and especially for weddings, social events, charity events, proms, celebrations of any type. Our hotel is special not only for its ambiance and warmth, but for its staff who each add a special touch to make every guest feel welcome from the moment they step into our atrium lobby. We are not your typical “Holiday Inn” and I personally get so much satisfaction from changing our clients’ preconceived notions.

SE: Why should people choose Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza for their events?
BM: Our staff takes great pride in all of the services we offer. Catering is top notch; the cuisine is outstanding and our award-winning chef and his staff continually exceed our clients’ expectations, especially when it comes to the the food’s quality and abundance. Every event held here is handled with white glove service and attention to detail. We really do care for our clients. I work with the couples from the moment they request information through the planning process, and I get so much joy to see it all come together the day of their wedding. My favorite comment that I hear from couples all the time is “this is more than I ever imagined it would be!” I couldn’t ask for a better compliment and our staff works very hard to make it a reality for every client. It’s a great privilege for us to be a part of a couple’s once in a lifetime day and we take our responsibility very seriously; we provide them with all they expect and so much more.

SE: Can you please describe the different rooms and/or services?
BM: We have four different event rooms, as well as an in-house restaurant and bar.

Wolf Point Banquet Hall

Our Wolf Point Ballroom is on the 15th floor of the hotel and is our most requested event space. It has spectacular views and is ideal for 300 or so guests for a sit down dinner. This event room is where a majority of our wedding receptions take place.

Our largest space is the Sauganash Grand Ballroom on the 14th floor. It can easily hold over 600 guests for a seated dinner, 800 for a cocktail reception, and over 900 for a meeting.

Our LaSalle room on the 15th floor has beautiful city views facing west and north, and is perfect for smaller, intimate weddings or social events for 100 to 110 guests.

Sauganash Ballroom

While the Wolf Point Ballroom is our most requested event space, this past year we hosted about 20 of our 79 weddings in the LaSalle room or the Grand Ballroom since we offer additional discounts on these rooms.

Our Edgewater room on the 15th floor is a small room ideal for 40 – 50 for a sit down dinner and up to 80 for a cocktail party with a breathtaking view of the Merchandise Mart and views facing the John Hancock Tower.

Our Cityscape Bar on the 15th floor is ideal spot if you want to sit and appreciate our beautiful city while enjoying one of our many signature cocktails and appetizers. It’s open until 1:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays for the “after wedding reception” crowd.

Cityscape Bar

Also on the 15th floor is our in-house restaurant, ItaliAsia. It offers a kaleidoscope of Italian and Asian cuisine as well as a morning breakfast buffet. It’s the perfect gathering place for guests the day after a wedding before everyone goes their separate ways.

SE: Any interesting events that happened or cool organizations that have stayed at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza this year?
BM: One of our October weddings was recorded for the “Four Weddings” cable TV show and the episode will be airing in February. We are excited to see if the couple that had their wedding here actually wins, and we’re looking forward to viewing the end result of all of our event preparation. One of my favorite events this past year was the Marine Corps Birthday Ball in November. There is no other event that compares to this celebration of 300 uniformed marines. Watching them process into the room with their swords and flags then standing at attention is so moving; it makes you feel very proud of this country and the young men and women who have put their lives on the line for us.

SE: What do the wedding packages include?
BM: We have three wedding packages that can be customized by deleting and interchanging items. This allows couples to save money while retaining variety. This flexibility is pretty unique since other venues often do not allow couples to change their packages. Our packages include an open bar for four hours, a champagne toast for all guests, wine service with dinner, appetizers during cocktails and options of after dinner stations of coffee & pastries or late night food, which has become very popular. Choices such as a Chicago “dawg” station, mini cheeseburgers, mini Italian beef sandwiches, or mini milkshakes and sundaes are always a big hit! We also include a complimentary hotel stay on the wedding night for the bride and groom as well as their parents, along with breakfast the following morning.

SE: How does the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza staff work with other vendors, such as Stitely Entertainment?
BM: We make it a priority to work well with all vendors. They’re here to provide the couple with the best possible service, just as we are, so we work together to make sure the event runs seamlessly. I’ve heard from countless vendors that our hotel is exceptional in the way we treat them, and it is very important to us to have good relationships with everyone who comes to our hotel.

SE: What are some of your favorite ideas from recent weddings?
BM: After 20 years of weddings, it is always interesting to see the different ideas for decorations, flowers, etc. and I have had some couples who were very creative.

Wedding in LaSalle Room

Many of our couples choose to have a “Chicago theme,” meaning they take pictures around the city and use them as table “names” instead of numbers. Since I am an animal lover as well, I really enjoyed one couple’s way of including their dog into the wedding. They took pictures of their dog in different parts of the city and placed a posterboard next to the dog with the table number. This was such a cute idea and all the guests talked about the pictures at their tables when they sat down.

Couples who have their weddings here don’t need a large decoration budget because the city provides them with all the decoration they need. Another great addition to any event space is up lighting, which can be done in any color and adds ambiance very inexpensively.

SE: Anything else you would like to include?
BM: Our wedding business has grown significantly over the last few years since I came to this hotel. Seven years ago, we had 43 weddings and 2011 finished the year with 79. We are on track for 2012 and already booking events for 2013. Couples love to have a downtown Chicago wedding so their guests coming from all over the country can have an opportunity to go out and enjoy this beautiful city of ours! A city wedding is actually a destination wedding and our hotel pricing is impossible to beat. These photos are just a very small piece of what we have to offer at the Chicago Mart Plaza. If you want to host an event that has excellent food, outstanding service and that special, personal touch, then you need to have your event here. We deliver superior results!

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