By Jenny Berg Posted January 31, 2012, 4:58 PM EST
CHICAGO Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel opened its first North American property in Chicago in November. And when it came time for the grand opening party, the hosts didn't skimp on grand promises. In December, a save-the-date went out to around 700 members of the media, hotel clients, and local notables, advertising the bash on January 26 as, “the party of the year at the hotel of the decade” and “the grandest of grand opening parties.” Cue the eight-foot ice sculpture.
Bathed in blue lights, a frozen replica of the hotel flanked the entrance to Thursday night's soiree, which was hosted by general manager Pierre-Louis Giacotto. The event was staged across several spaces to encourage guests to check out different areas of the property. At Italian restaurant Filini, a DJ spun while servers poured wine and brought out plates of signature menu items, including handmade butternut squash ravioli and bruschetta with eggplant and burrata cheese.
With decor and lounge areas from HMR Design Group, the ballroom housed buffet areas stocked with everything from sushi to New Zealand lamb and French macaroons, and servers circulated with specialty drinks from Hangar One vodka. Cirque du Soliel acts performed on circular stages scattered throughout the space, and later in the evening the Gold Coast All Stars took to the stage.
Before the main festivities at 6:30 p.m., the Radisson hosted a V.I.P. reception on the hotel's second floor, which allowed the attendees a sneak peek at the meeting rooms. During the early gathering, guests could sip drinks, such as a vodka-based blueberry punch, and a breakout space became a temporary champagne bar with candles and a towering arrangement of roses.