The family-focused, Wisconsin-based Great Wolf Lodge opened its first resort in Wisconsin Dells in 1997. Over the next two decades, it slowly expanded with more properties around the Midwest, moving into the Northeast, South, West and Canada. And this summer, the greater Chicago area will get its first resort from the brand.

Great Wolf Lodge Illinois, slated to open July 1 in Gurnee, will include the hallmark giant waterpark, family-friendly dining options and woodsy décor. The property will also have 7,800 square feet of meeting space, 414 guest rooms (including 14 suite styles) and a separate entrance for meeting guests to avoid the waterpark. It’s the result of a $40 million makeover to the former Key Lime Cove property.

Though the waterpark plays second fiddle to meeting groups looking to get business done at the resort, it has a nice perk: Guests have access to the waterpark at 1 p.m. on the day of check-in, so they can arrive early or with families in tow to take advantage of the fun facilities.

Meeting planners can also get creative with events at Great Wolf Lodge. They can use the 38,000-square-foot adventure park for teambuilding, or rent it out for “waterpark after dark” cocktail hour.

“How often can you have a cocktail party with these elements available to you?” says General Manager Emilio Fabico, noting the Illinois property will also have a lazy river, the funnel-like Whitewater Whirl waterslides and the Wolf Rider, for daring guests only.

Another attraction of Great Wolf Lodge Illinois is the brand’s newly revamped F&B program, which includes the farm-to-fork restaurant Barnwood. Guests will find fresh dishes made with locally sourced ingredients alongside a craft cocktail menu, also available to meeting groups.

The property is holding a job fair for nearly 600 positions at College of Lake County in Grayslake this week through May 18 (details), and is accepting reservations starting July 1, 2018.

Have you let your favorite vendor, event planner or venue know how much you appreciate them by voting for them in Northwest Meetings + Events Best of 2018 readers’ choice awards? No? Well, what are you waiting for? Show them some well-deserved love!

 

One of my first official duties as editor of Northwest Meetings + Events waaaaaaaaay back when was serving as a judge for the Emerald City Applause Awards. I remember being incredibly impressed by all of the talent in our region. I still am. Come celebrate that ingenuity at the (nearly sold out) 2018 Emerald City Applause Awards (ECAAs). Guests are encouraged to dress in accordance with the event’s theme: Seas the Night.

 

You’ll soon have another venue option when you’re looking to get away for a business retreat in Washington. Choice Hotels International, Inc. has signed an agreement with Sound West Group to develop a Cambria hotel in Bremerton, Washington. The five-story, 121-room hotel will be part of a mixed-use waterfront development on Marina Square, adjacent to the Bremerton Marina and the Kitsap Conference Center.