The 455-all suite Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile recently repurposed its atrium as the largest greenhouse in the city in launching its new “Sky Garden” concept and herb collection allowing the hotel to connect with its guests with a “direct-to-fork” approach.
Given the climate in Chicago, most rooftop gardens are seasonal, active for only six months and not accessible to guests. The new 750-square foot Sky Garden is open and accessible 365 days a year with accessibility to guests whether staying at the hotel for business or leisure. The hotel’s culinary team created the Sky Garden’s herb collection that allows the hotel to connect with guests in a “direct-to-fork” manner, eliminating the middleman in an instantly identifiable and approachable way.
The herb collection at the Sky Garden features an extensive variety with over 1,000 pots of plants decorating the atrium and rotating on a seasonal basis. Currently, the herbs featured in the Sky Garden include mint, oregano, basil, sage and rosemary, providing a fragrant bouquet of different herbal scents sure to “cultivate the senses” of guests visiting the space. The downtown Chicago office of Calgary-based DIRTT Environmental Solutions installed the new Sky Garden.
The fresh herbs grown in the Sky Garden will be incorporated into the hotel's complimentary evening reception and cooked-to-order breakfast, two of the three brand pillars of Embassy Suites (the third being all-suite accommodations). For breakfast, fresh herbs will be used in the preparation of omelets, herb potatoes, and herb-accented fruit on the buffet. At the evening reception, the culinary team will be serving a rotating aqua fresca every night. Whether it is watermelon and rosemary, lemonade and thyme, or berry cooler and sage, the selections will be offered as non-alcoholic with the option to add a splash of alcohol at the evening reception for a unique and fresh cocktail.
A selection of herb-centric dishes inspired by the atrium’s Sky Garden will also be available on the menu at the hotel’s 511 Lounge. The drink menu at the 511 Lounge will feature herb-inspired cocktails while herb-centric selection of meals will be added to the hotel’s banquets menu with options ranging from semiprivate events in the Sky Garden to private mixology parties with an “herb” focus.