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The Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel to Host Block Party to Celebrate $22 Million Transformation

June 4, 2015 Hotel Developments No Comments Email Email

Renaissance Hotels will unveil the much buzzed about transformation of theRenaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel with The Happiest Hour block party on June 11 as part of the lifestyle brand’s fourth annual GlobalDay of Discovery, where all 160 Renaissance hotels around the globe will host events to help guests and locals experience new discoveries within the city.


Headlining the Chicago event will be live, outdoor performances lining the Chicago River by Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Robin Thicke, R & B newcomer Natalie La Rose, and HXLT.

Situated on the banks of the Chicago River, the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel partnered with The Gettys Group to capture a spirit of wanderlust that inspires guests to explore the neighborhood and discover the unexpected. Indigenous touch points are infused into the design of the new Lobby, Marriott Rewards® Elite Club Lounge, The Artist Studio, Staytion Market and Bar, and The Library to capture the high energy, whimsical character and ebullience of Chicago. A high-low design approach pairs luxurious high-end finishes with raw, gritty, concrete and graffiti-inspired surfaces. Experiential works of art by homegrown artists are placed to intrigue; CTA bus-inspired windows from the early 1900s serve as a gateway into the chef’s display kitchen at Staytion Market and Bar; wallpaper and elevator lobby artwork illustrate the Chicago “L” map, immersing guests in the heart of the city’s transportation system; a specially commissioned artwork made of colored pencils melds into a local taxicab and even the lobby pillars are works of art, each featuring local images, which when viewed at a certain vantage point blends together harmoniously to form a single scene, encouraging guests to change their perspective and to look – and look again.


“At Renaissance, we’re turning traditional conventions of business travel on their head,” said Dan Vinh, Vice President of Marketing, Renaissance Hotels. “The hotel’s new design elements have been created for our guests, who want their business trips to surprise with new discoveries and cultural experiences. The Next Gen mindset sees business travel as an opportunity to get out and explore a new city, so we want to create experiences – from intriguing design to regular insider’s evenings with local entertainment, art and design exhibits and culinary events – that they can participate in after working hours. The hotel’s opening block party with performances by Robin Thicke, Natalie La Rose, and HXLT, kicks off a summer of exciting events in Chicago and reinforces our commitment to providing guests around the world with compelling music and entertainment experiences.”

Merging the business of the Loop with the pleasure of State Street and Chicago’s Theater District, the hotel invites discovery at every turn. Located in the middle of the lobby will be theRenaissance Navigator, situated at the communal Navigator Table – a cheeky twist on the traditional concierge desk, designed as an interactive place to explore new ideas, touch and feel new technologies, or simply engage with the Renaissance Navigator on new finds that only a local would know.


Sair seating creates a perfect perspective for the hotel’s signature Renaissance Events, part of the brand’s long-standing multimedia entertainment program and its commitment to supporting emerging artists. Renaissance Eventswillinclude everything from live performances by local musicians, mixology demos, wine tastings, art exhibitions, book signings, and more.

Dscoverers will have the opportunity to unwind and revitalize their minds and bodies in one of the 520 recently renovated guestrooms and 40 suites, boasting stunning views of downtown Chicago.

Guests can book a stay and check out the full line up of performances and promotions planned throughout the year at Renaissance Hotels by and Guests of the hotel who are enrolled in the award-winning guest loyalty program, Marriott Rewards®, are able to earn points during their hotel stays that can be redeemed for free holidays, flights, hotel rooms and merchandise.

The Happiest Hour block party is part of Renaissance Hotels’ 360° multi-media music program dedicated to providing guests around the world with unconventional travel memories, through direct and on-the-go access to music, live entertainment, behind-the-scenes festival coverage, exclusive event access, artist meet-and-greets, social media ticket giveaways and more. Billboard joins existing exclusive media partners AXS TV and, which are part of AEG, one of the world’s leading presenters of sports and entertainment. For more information, please visit

For tickets to The Happiest Hour block party and concert, RSVP

Born in Los Angeles, Robin Thicke taught himself to play piano at the age of 12 and by 16 was writing and producing songs for top R&B artists. At the age of 21, he had written and produced songs on over 20 gold and platinum albums including Michael Jackson, Marc Anthony, Pink, Christina Aguilera and others. One year later he signed with Jimmy Iovine and Interscope records. Today, Robin has established himself as one of the most respected singer-songwriters in soul and R&B music. The musician and composer released his critically acclaimed debut album, “A Beautiful World,” in 2003 under the name “Thicke.” The collection was followed by a succession of four critically acclaimed gold and platinum selling albums releases. The summer of 2013 marked the debut of Robin’s highly anticipated new studio album, “Blurred Lines.” The release quickly took the music world by storm and debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 while, “Blurred Lines,” the single, set records around the world. It went to #1 in over 100 countries and had a record setting 12-week reign in the US at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and also broke radio records by climbing to #1 on 5 charts simultaneously (Top 40, Rhythm, Urban, Hot AC & Urban AC) – the first time this has ever been done by an artist. Robin continues to receive accolades for the album and single including three GRAMMY Award nominations, as well as four NAACP Image awards nominations.

Being bold is a big part of being an artist. You’ve got to be willing to act intrepidly at the right moments. Natalie La Rose knows just when to be bold. In 2011 while attending an ESPY Awards after party, she walked up to Flo Rida and told him they were going to work together. Struck by her charisma and confidence, the (intrigued) multi-platinum international superstar invited her to the studio the next day. Over the course of two years to follow, she performed alongside Flo across the globe at sold out shows. 2013 saw her officially ink a deal with his International Music Group (I.M.G.) label, formally solidifying their partnership.

However, that wasn’t the first time Natalie followed such an impulse. Born to Surinamese parents and raised in Amsterdam, she moved to Los Angeles alone at 20-years-old, pursuing her dream of becoming a singer and dancer. Inspired by everyone from Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson to Mariah Carey, she honed her vocal chops through years of diligent practice. That prowess led to a deal with Blackground Records/Interscope Records for her duo Amsterdam in 2010.

“The group didn’t work out, and no music was released,” she sighs. “It just wasn’t the right time. However, with Flo, everything felt right. We have such a great chemistry, and he’s given me an incredible launch pad for me and my songs.”

That music flaunts her immense voice with flourishes of both eighties and nineties R&B. It’s an instantly irresistible style. “I’m very inspired by pop and rhythm,” she goes on. “There’s a soulfulness and great groove though. Since I’m a dancer, it’s important for my music to have a nice beat.”

Her debut single for I.M.G./Republic Records “Somebody” [featuring Jeremih] will undoubtedly get the dance floor moving. Over smooth production from Future Classic, the song updates the melody from Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” for a new millennium. Natalie’s voice takes the spotlight in between a sexy hook from Jeremih.

“It’s a fun and funky song,” remarks Natalie. “It’s feel-good, and it reminds me of summertime. I love to be around people, have a great time, and dance. That’s what it stands for. While we were recording Jeremih happened to be in Miami for a Big Dreams for Kids Back to School Event and Flo invited him to the studio to sing on it. He nailed it on the first take!”

Born in Chicago to a multi-ethnic musical family, HXLT was raised listening to Led Zeppelin, Smokey Robinson, 2Pac, The Clash, and countless other artists from various genres. He developed a love for art, culture and fashion at a young age, which paved the way for his future ventures in music and design.

HXLT started out rapping with his friends. He had a quick blow up early in his rap career, but was not yet fulfilled. He had interests in other types of music but found himself without the ability to make them. “I used to have tons of songs in my head, but since I couldn’t play anything well and I didn’t know how to use programs I was never able to make them.” HXLT brought producer Le Fonz into the mix, and was finally able to compose the music he had in his head. HXLT ran into Kanye West at a venue in New York and was invited to a studio session. He shared his music with Kanye and the rest is history, HXLT signed to West’s G.O.O.D. record label in April of 2014.

HXLT is one of the few serious renaissance men in music. He’s a fighter, a formidable rapper, a director and a great entertainer. HXLT’s sound is a mix of melodic minimal chords, strings and guitars paired with hard and gritty beats. Heavily influenced by punk rock, gangster rap and everything in between, HXLT’s music is a collection of different tastes neatly blended to express his mixed background and innovative spirit.

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