Known as “The Second City” though it is actually the third largest metropolis in America, Chicago seems bigger than it is for a number of reasons — its soaring skyline, cultural diversity and expansive attitude, to name a few.
Students from all over the world are drawn to the excellent universities and graduate schools in Chicago. With more than 75 colleges and universities, the city has a huge student population and a vibrant cultural life to match.
Chicago is also home to a vast array of luxury hotels, top-notch restaurants and global event venues, ensuring that Les Roches students are in the right place to prepare for careers in hospitality management.
To learn how to perform at the highest levels of hospitality service, it helps to be exposed to the best in the business. Students learning at universities and graduate schools in Chicago truly have a living classroom at their doorstep. Those who decide to pursue a hospitality degree in Chicago are in a particularly privileged position. Les Roches’ Chicago campus is at the epicenter of one of America’s most dynamic, innovative hospitality cities, surrounded by more than 7,300 restaurants and a booming hotel industry.
Recent additions to the landscape include the first American outpost of Virgin Hotels, the Godfrey Hotel, SOHO House, Loews Hotels & Resorts, the Langham, LondonHouse and Trump Tower, while plans are in progress for newcomers like Viceroy Hotel Group, Nobu Hotel and a 40-story Marriott Marquis. All of this makes Chicago the perfect case study for hospitality management school students.
Interested in sports marketing? Chicago is an all-season sports city with four major stadiums. Luxury retail? The Magnificent Mile is one of the great shopping avenues and among the top ten hospitality, dining and retail destinations in the world. Whatever hospitality sector interests you, it’s likely to be thriving in Chicago, which has 29 Fortune 500 companies and ranks second (after New York City) among American cities with the fastest growing small businesses.
Jan Willem Verweij, Les Roches Class of 2007
When Jan Willem Verweij met a Peninsula hotel recruiter during a Career Days event at Les Roches, he did not suspect that this encounter would change the course of his life. He liked the recruiter and he was interested in the Peninsula, but as a college senior from the Netherlands he had never even visited America, much less imagined moving there to start his career as a management trainee at a 5-star hotel in Chicago.
Nine years later, Jan is the director of front office at the Peninsula Chicago, where he has risen through the ranks as the front desk manager, interim spa manager and assistant director of housekeeping, among other roles. “I would never have dreamed in a million years this could happen,” Jan says today. “I didn’t plan to stay in one place for 9 years but the opportunities kept coming, I was able to grow, and it never became dull.”
An insider’s guide to Chicago by Jan Willem Verweij, Les Roches Class of 2007
Front Office Director, The Peninsula Chicago
Take a boat tour: It is quite something to see Chicago from the water, where you can learn about its unique buildings and famous architecture.
Bike or rollerblade along Lake Michigan
Clark Street: for shopping, dining and people watching
Broadway shows in Chicago are 1/3 the price!
Chicago is known for its comedy scene, especially The Second City on Wells Street
The Blues: Check out famous blues clubs like Buddy Guy’s Legends or B.L.U.E.S.
Microbreweries: There are some really cool ones, including Revolution, Lagunitas and Goose Island, to name a few.
Bottlefork Restaurant: One of my favorite Clark Street restaurants. They serve New American cuisine – lots of sharing-style small plates and a really unique, interesting atmosphere.
Bub City: This is for for when you want a quintessential, over the top American country bar, which I love. They have karaoke and it’s a fun place to meet people.
Studio Paris: For a DJ scene, this is a great place to go dancing. After finishing your studies, of course!