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TRAVEL - INTERVIEW

Interview with Mark Shouger, General Manager at Hotel EMC2 from Chicago

Carrying a name that has a historical significance and heritage brings responsibility. In this case, Hotel EMC2 and the Albert have accepted responsibility for making what has not been done before and for providing unforeseen experiences. I talked to Mark Shouger about Hotel EMC2 and its concept.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Hotel EMC2

Hotel EMC2

TRAVEL - INTERVIEW

by Melisa Kaya

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Hotel EMC2 is located in the middle of the Chicago as a part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. When they see the entrance of Hotel EMC2 and the Albert from the outside, guests can easily understand what a different experience awaits them. We're talking about a hotel with walls covered with books. With its carefully decorated 195 rooms, meeting rooms bearing the names of famous scientists, the robots that serve, and the social responsibility projects it supports, Hotel EMC2 promises a different experience for both leisure and business travelers. Hotel EMC2 is not only a hotel you stay in, but it is also a hotel that opens the door to a journey in the world of flavor with the Albert. I talked with Mark Shouger, General Manager at Hotel EMC2, about Hotel EMC2, the Albert, and their concepts.

Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Mark, before talking about Hotel EMC2, could you tell us about yourself? Who is Mark Shouger?

With over three decades of experience working in the hospitality industry, most recently as Managing Director of Ronald McDonald House, I will lead the operation of the 195-room property located in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. As the first property of its kind to celebrate the convergence of art and science, Hotel EMC2 strives to provide an experience for its guests that is exactly like nothing else and my addition to the executive team plays an integral role in this.

As the Managing Director of Ronald McDonald House Near Lurie Children’s Hospital, I led all operational accountabilities for what opened as the world’s largest Ronald McDonald House. During my time in this position, I refined practices and employed various changes to support over 10,000 families. Prior to my work at Ronald McDonald House, I oversaw theWit Hotel, an award-winning SMASHotel’s property located in Chicago’s Loop neighborhood, as the opening General Manager. Under my direction, theWit was established as a REVPAR leader and achieved the hotel brand’s award status within its first years of development.

Additionally, I served as Director of Rooms and Operations for The Madison, a Loews Hotel in Washington DC, General Manager of Hotel Indigo, Rooms Division Director and interim General Manager of the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando, and Director of Services for the Marriott Vacation Club International.

I have always loved lifestyle hospitality and am honored to be making my return to this industry at such a trendsetting property. With my intense focus on high touch service, I will work hard to ensure that all guests receive the best experience at Hotel EMC2.

Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

How does it feel to carry the responsibility of the hotel and the restaurant that having a name of Albert Einstein and his epochal theory?

It is an awesome responsibility. The concept, design, heart, and spirit of Hotel EMC2 come together to provide an extraordinary experience for every guest of the Hotel and Restaurant. Our team brings this to life through authentic, spirited and positive service. The concept of Hotel EMC2 (and to the same extent Marriott’s Autograph Collection of Hotels) is NOT A THEME. It is real, genuine and purposeful. We take this seriously and have fun with it all at the same time!

Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Could you tell us about Hotel EMC2 and the overall concept?

Hotel EMC2 boasts 195 beautifully designed rooms and almost 2,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. A hotel that embodies imagination, inspiration, and innovation, it captures the creative spirit: the essential, energetic ingredient that has led to the scientific understanding of the universe and that acts as the bedrock to artistic expression. Hotel EMC2 strives to activate the mind through modern, upscale amenities, a restorative yet stimulating atmosphere and sumptuous, seasonal cuisine to enrich the soul, allowing guests to feel right at home. This one-of-a-kind, boutique hotel is situated in the heart of the famed Magnificent Mile Shopping District within the vibrant Streeterville neighborhood and is pedestrian-friendly to Chicago’s greatest attractions, shopping and dining. A luxurious urban refuge, Hotel EMC2 is dedicated to providing an artistic and creative experience, where we lodge those that carry a pencil, a paintbrush or a dream.

Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Hotel EMC2 host to the Albert. Could you tell us about the Albert, its awards, and the Executive Chef Larry Feldmeier?

the Albert (a nod to the extraordinary scientist), located in Hotel EMC2 at 228 E Ontario, is a contemporary restaurant with seasonal, globally inspired dishes. The dynamic opening menu has been meticulously created to celebrate the fresh flavors and aromas of summer. Unlike any culinary experience in the city, the restaurant offers the warmth of a 1930s institute of higher learning, where professors swirled a scotch and talked about the mysteries of the universe. The Albert also offers an intimate 20-seat open kitchen where diners are invited behind-the-scenes to witness a culinary canvas, firsthand, while marveling in the commissioned artwork from West Coast surrealist painter, Paul Bond, and local artist, Jonathan Plotkin. At the center of the restaurant, a glass chandelier evokes a scientific experiment and pours house-made infused liquors.

Chef Larry Feldmeier - the Albert - Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Chef Larry Feldmeier - the Albert - Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Larry Feldmeier is the Executive Chef of the Albert at Hotel EMC2, where he brings over 12 years of experience to the table. Trained in classic technique, but with a keen sight for creativity and innovation, he offers a complex, yet refined culinary program for guests to enjoy. Chef Larry’s culinary vision at the Albert will provide guests a feast for the senses, one that far exceeds expectations.

Symmetry at Hotel EMC2 - Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Symmetry at Hotel EMC2 - Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Could you tell us about your meeting rooms, their inspirations, and their features?

Two meeting rooms... Emmy Noether and Symmetry...Emmy Noether was one of the great mathematicians of the 20th century. She did pioneering work in abstract algebra, and she also proved groundbreaking theorems linking mathematics to physics. These panels pay tribute to the latter work and commemorate the struggles she endured as a woman and a Jew. Symmetry is the guiding principle behind Noether's Theorem, telling us where to look for conservation theorems in physics. But it is also a guiding principle in much of mathematics, possibly even all of mathematics, as well as in music, art, nature and the whole of life.

Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

How could your guests spend time at Hotel EMC2?

Enjoy the Albert for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Happy Hour daily. Relax and read in our Archive Lounge. Utilize the Business Center. Plan meetings and Events. Walk, within minutes, to most of Chicago’s main attractions. Don’t forget to have a delivery made by one of our Robots too!

Project SYNCERE - Hotel EMC2 - Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Project SYNCERE - Hotel EMC2 - Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Could you tell us about your collaboration with Project SYNCERE? How can your guests support this project?

Project SYNCERE (Supporting Youth’s Needs with Core Engineering Research Experiments), an educational, Chicago-based non-profit that combines art and science to create transformational experiences for youth within underserved Chicago communities. The boutique Streeterville property, which is said to be at the “intersection of art and science,” has committed to contributing a minimum of $90,000 annually to this program. As a result of this donation, Project SYNCERE will launch the career exploration of twenty high school students through hands-on, real-life engineering experiences at its E-CADEMY program.

“One of the core principles of the Autograph brand, and this hotel, is embracing the local community,” said Scott Greenberg, President and CEO of SMASHotels. “Our partnership with Project SYNCERE has allowed us to integrate our passion of art and science with a program that is truly making an impact on the future of these areas of study, both here in Chicago and beyond.”

Founded in 2008, Project SYNCERE focuses on the implementation of programs to engage young people in STEM and set them on a path to go to college in order to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The organization leverages the nationally recognized Project Lead The Way curriculum to provide a variety of in-school, out-of-school, weekend and summertime programs for students to take part in. E-CADEMY, the Project SYNCERE program directly supported by Hotel EMC2, is an out-of-school engineering pathway program designed to prepare students in grades six through eight and nine through eleven for enrollment in post-secondary STEM programs.

Guests may contribute directly on site to these initiatives, while here, or online.

the Albert - Hotel EMC2 - Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

the Albert - Hotel EMC2 - Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

What kind of additional services and amenities do you have for business travelers?

We have an award winning Restaurant and Lounge in the Albert and also have unique meeting space befitting our personality, in the Symmetry and Emmy Noether Rooms. We also have outside Terrace for Meetings and Events. Leo and Cleo, our functioning Robots, are a huge hit for guest room deliveries- including in-room dining. We are also blessed with both a resident artist and scientist who frequent our property. Over 12,000 books adorned our hotel, restaurant, and function space walls as living-decor.

Do you have any advantage packs or loyalty program that you offer to your regular and long-term guests?

We have spectacular local guest packages (listed on our web site) and all Marriot Rewards guests earn loyalty points and receive tiered benefits on each visit.

How can travelers make their individual or business/group reservations?

Directly on our Hotel EMC2 web site https://hotelemc2.com/ or at https://marriott.com

Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

Courtesy of Hotel EMC2

What are the most famous attractions near you?

Lake Michigan, Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, Soldier Field (home of the Chicago Bears Football Team), Hancock Tower & Willis Tower skyscrapers.

If you have only one weekend in Chicago as a first-time visitor, in this limited time, what are the best things to do?

Dine, Shop, Take an Architectural Tour of the City by Boat, Make it to the top of one (or more) of our Tallest Buildings.

How do you describe Chicago in one sentence?

Possibly the best-kept secret for travel in America, so much to do, see and enjoy all in comfortable walking distance.

Thank you Mark for your time.

For more information, please click here to visit the website of Hotel EMC2





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