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Mandarin Oriental Sets its Sights on Millennium Park

By Andrew Peerless in Miscellaneous on Jun 8, 2005 2:26PM

Image courtesy of
When New York got went and got itself a Mandarin Oriental hotel last year, even the city renowned for indulgence and frivolous luxury took a step back and gasped: this hotel was da bomb. Featuring a killer location just steps from Central Park, as well as Asian-influenced design, prerequisite marble bathrooms and luxury sheets and the city's best spa, the Man-Or (as we just nicknamed it) redefined the superior hotel experience for the New York market.

Hey, Peninsula, Park Hyatt, Drake... roll up your sleeves, because a Mandarin Oriental is heading our way. The $550 million, 887-foot tall, brand spankin' new property will rise on the corner of Lake and Stetson streets, about a block from Millennium Park, and will feature 250 guest rooms and 300 now-ubiquitous hotel/condo residences. If successful, our own little Man-Or will surely become a worthy competitor for tourist dollars in our city's super-competitive luxury hotel scene.

Chicagoist thinks this all sounds pretty cool, but works right next to this site and has to question the logic of putting a higher-than-high-end hotel here. Sure, we've got some good lunch options in the Aon Center and Illinois Center buildings (including a weirdo buffet that seemingly offers 300 meal options daily, from turkey in gravy to shrimp fried rice), but aside from a CVS and those random luggage stores that dot south Michigan Avenue's retail landscape, only the site's proximity to Millennium Park seems to give it any real caché.

Investors do tend to think these things through, though, before they plop down the cash for such an endeavor, so maybe they know a bit more about commercial real estate development than Chicagoist does (who knew?!).

Mandarin Oriental interior image courtesy of