The long-anticipated Nobu Hotel, co-owned by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and film producer Meir Teper is set to open its West Loop location Wednesday.
General manager Michael Chin says, “I’ve been on this project for a little over a year now … and the anticipation from the city and the overall vibe from the community is exciting. It’s something we’ve been waiting to bring to Chicago’s West Loop.”
Nobu Hospitality group is known for its signature aesthetic marrying modern design and Japanese influences. With Chicago’s Modif Architecture, local design company Studio K has created rooms that use natural materials such as sisal and wool rugs, mango wood millwork and indigo.
Opening a hotel in the midst of a pandemic comes with a few challenges.
“We ran into delays with products because manufacturing plants throughout the country and world were closed due to COVID-19,” says Chin. “We were really monitoring getting the right materials and decor packages day by day to make sure we open on time.”
Chin says the hotel is also going through and reviewing all of the standard operating procedures and adding in new elements of personal protective equipment, safety and additional cleanliness.
Before entering the hotel for work, all staff members will get temperature checks, as well as personal protective equipment including masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.
“We are implementing electrostatic sprayers for guest rooms, public areas and high touch points,” Chin says.
To keep in line with local and state policies, all guests will be required to wear masks in public areas. Chin says all guests will receive amenity kits containing hand sanitizer, masks and a door touch key, to open doors and press elevator keys without actually touching those surfaces. Air purifiers will also be available upon request.
“We’re keeping a capacity of four people in the elevator, except for larger groups of families who are traveling together,” says Chin.
The hotel has 115 guest rooms and suites plus a rooftop, fitness center, indoor pool and Nobu restaurant and bar. The fitness center and rooftop will be available for use on opening day, following social distancing protocols. Chin says the equipment in the fitness center will be sanitized every two hours, with additional sprays and wipes readily available for guests to use. Not all 115 rooms and suites will be available for booking, to allow for social distancing and for the staff to get accustomed to the more vigorous cleaning and sanitation process.
The signature Nobu restaurant and bar will not be open Wednesday. The restaurant leadership team is on-site and reviewing the best safety protocols to open in the next few weeks, Chin says.
“We’re really excited to have this opening and restart the hospitality industry as a whole, as we were hit pretty hard during this pandemic,” Chin says.
Average room rates start at $299, and average suite rates range from $599 to $1,099. Nobu Hotel, 155 N. Peoria St. For booking and more information, visit www.nobuhotels.com