Archive of ‘The James Chicago’ category

A new chapter for The James Chicago…

As Denihan’s ownership and management of The James Chicago comes to an end and a new chapter starts with a licensing agreement, we want to thank all of our Chicago team members for their years of service with the company.

In the ten years Denihan has owned The James Chicago, it has received many accolades – from being named Best Steakhouse in Chicago to being included in Travel & Leisure’s Top Hotels in the US.  In addition, the hotel has consistently achieved the highest guest satisfaction scores in the company and most importantly been voted one of the 101 best places to work in Chicago for 10 years in a row!

All of this would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment to excellent service from the wonderful team at The James Chicago. We are very appreciative of all you have done and proud of all the accomplishments. 


Your Valentine is at The James Chicago

Chocolate covered strawberries – hand dipped and decorated by our own Executive Team – were delivered to all team members on Valentine’s Day morning as a special treat of recognition. Our famous “Buddy Grams”, that team members can send to each other, were also available again this year. Valentine’s Day in full bloom!

Heartfelt Moments!


The James Kitchen & Bar Chicago – follow us on Instagram!

Brand new, super fresh, locally inspired, globally infused…The James Kitchen & Bar is bringing a new food and drinks offering to hotel guests and locals alike. Chef Tyler Houston offers a seasonal menu that ranges from great vegetable dishes, interesting sandwiches, flatbreads, already cult favorite calamari to our always famous burger.

We are new on Instagram! Follow us!


Holiday Fun in Chicago

The James Chicago Manager Holiday Outing

We had a little fun while celebrating our two last Managers of the Quarter for 2017. Photo Scavenger Hunt, Name that Baby, White Elephant gift exchange – all brought cheer to our management team.

Best Holiday Wishes from our family to yours!

Conde Nast Traveler – Readers’ Choice Awards for The James Chicago

Congratulations! We are excited to share that The James has been voted one of Chicago’s best hotels yet again by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler. With so many hotels in the city, it is no easy feat to be amongst the top 25 properties. It is thanks to the great service and guest experience driven by everyone here that we continue to garner these accolades after 11 years.

 Feel free to explore the full article here:

Housekeeping Week Memories

After another busy week at The James Chicago, we look back at our fun housekeeping week just two weeks ago. Each day, the team enjoyed a treat as a small “Thank You” for always bringing in the highest score in cleanliness in the company! From Donuts to popcorn, catered lunch and pot luck, chair massages and the Denihan gift, there was something for everybody and it was nice to spend some time together as a team. Thank you!!

Celebrating Best and Brightest Places to work in Chicago!

The James Chicago Team celebrated being named one of the “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For” in Chicago with a party in J-Café! This was our tenth year in a row receiving this prestigious award—in order to be considered, the award committee relies on surveys completed by our entire team, so it is truly a hotel-wide accomplishment. We would like to express our gratitude to Vera and the rest of the team at Denihan for gifting us with the delicious cake and party. We are proud to be part of such an amazing team!

The James Chicago is a “Best and Brightest” Workplace!

For the 10th year in a row, The James Chicago received the award for being one of the “101 Best and Brightest Workplaces” in the greater Chicago area. This year, we were the only hotel on the winner’s list! The 101 winners share best practices in various workplace topics, including recruiting, benefits, engagement and training, as well as community involvement, wellness and environmental consciousness.

Thank you to the entire James ChicagoTeam for this amazing honor!

Awards Ceremony

2017 Award

The James Chicago Lobby Reveal Event

We were delighted to host an exceptional group of guests in our newly re-designed lobby by the prominent New York City based architecture and design firm, Dufner Heighes, last week. Our lobby now offers a more socially-accommodating and collaborative space to our guests, including the shared networking desks and our James Club serving complimentary light food and beverages throughout the day. On display is locally sourced art, including Stephen Eichhorn’s new original installation by The Patio which reflects his profound sense of cultivation and composition play adding to our longstanding commitment to support the local community and emerging artists through our James Public Art Program.

Thank you to everybody who helped making this event such a huge success!

Cinco de Mayo in Chicago

Fajitas, Conchas, Mexican candy, Garlands and Sombreros to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in J-Café @ The James Chicago! A small teaser for our big team member party “Quince de Mayo – La Fiesta!”. We are looking forward to celebrating our newly renovated lobby and to spend some fun times with the entire team! Chicago – don’t forget to RSVP!

The next generation at The James Chicago

For the 2017 “Bring your sons and daughters to work day” campaign, The James Chicago hosted 15 children of our team members for a shift last week. Their schedule included a mindful meditation and reflection session with yoga and coloring, minibar inventory and restocking, iPiggy Bank training, ice cream making lessons, and of course shadowing their parents during their work day! You all did a great job!

Happy 10th Anniversary!

Another 21 team members are celebrating their 10th anniversary with The James Chicago this year! On Monday we were able to have a fun luncheon in their honor, enjoying each other’s company and reflecting on their memories over the last 10 years. Congratulations to all and thank you for your commitment and guest centricity!


Buddy Gram deliveries

Our own JAT team sold, boxed, bundled, created and delivered Buddy Grams from team members to team members at The James Chicago for Valentine’s Day. Your choice of an amazing donut or a poppin’ good time for a treat, with a personalized note of thanks or recognition. Rosie, our J-Café Cook took the most love home!

Santa visits The James Chicago

Santa and Mrs Claus visited together with Elf Aaron and Mickey Mouse the team members and their families of The James. On the first day of snowfall of the year in Chicago, Santa’s sled was able to stop at the hotel and the party spent a relaxing breakfast time with the kids during their Pajama Party. Santa got many hugs from young and old. Enjoy some sample photos below. Thank you to the JAT team and their helpers for this great event.

The James Chicago wishes the entire Denihan team a very happy and joyous holiday season!

Breakfast with Santa at The James Chicago

Breakfast with Santa at The James Chicago

The James Running Club finished the last fun runs of the year

What started a few years ago as a wellness initiative became a part of The James Team way of life. Chicago has so many fun runs on offer from Spring to Fall, and we have participated in many of them; just for fun – or for a charity – or for team building. Our last ones of the year 2016 included “The Pumpkin 5k”, “Carrera De Los Muertos”, and the “Chicago Hot Chocolate Run”.

Thank you to all The James Runners and Walkers for an active 2016. Have a nice winter and we will be back in action in Spring 2017!

The James Chicago Running Team

The James Chicago Running Team

Congratulations to The James Chicago Stars!

Congratulations to this year’s “Stars of the Industry” nominees Melissa, Julie, Claudia, Bernie, Victor and Curtis! The Illinois Hotel And Lodging Association invited all nominees and their managers to a festive luncheon and award presentation this past Tuesday. Chicago’s own Mayor Rahm Emanuel took the time to honor the nominees and to discuss the tourism industry at the event.

A special shout out to Bernie Butler, our Lobby Assistant, who made it to the finalist round for the “Bellperson of the Year”!


Mayor Rahm Emanuel takes the podium


Our Finalist!

The James nominees with GM and Managers

The James nominees with GM and Managers


Housekeeping Week at The James Chicago

Winding down a week of celebration, fun and lots of food! After receiving the bags on Monday, every other day had a special food theme from Breakfast catered by the Sales Department, Pizza from the Engineering team, Cookies delivered to the floors by F&B and the traditional annual pasta lunch. Lots or cheers, photo ops and fun during a busy week.

Thank you to the best housekeeping team in Chicago!


SommTalks with Matt from The James Chicago!

David Burke’s Primehouse sommelier Matthew Bills was interviewed for writer Laura Levy Shatkin’s popular podcast, SommTalks.  In the interview, Matt educates listeners on the wine program at Primehouse and chats about his recent travels locally and abroad to discover new wines.  During the interview, Laura and Matt tested two different wines and Matt spoke to how they pair with dry-aged meat.  SommTalks features elite sommeliers from across the US who discuss their role in the wine community and how they differentiate their lists from competitors.  Check out the links below and great job, Matt!

Listen to the interview:

View the story:

Matt Bills

Art unveiled at The James Chicago

As part of James Public Art program, The James Chicago unveiled a new public art installation in partnership with curator Anna Cerniglia of Johalla Projects.  This is the second addition to the program following the debut of Paul Wacker’s street side mural on 6th avenue at The James New York.

 Installation Pace  Space1 Installation Pace  Space2 (2) Installation Pace  Space3 (2)

As a thriving art city, Chicago features a burgeoning and dynamic public art scene.  Johalla Projects saw the partnership with The James as an opportunity to push the status quo, presenting a progressive and conceptual  public art installation that would bring the environment to the next level by offering a more inspiring and in-depth experience to those passing by.

 Johalla Projects tapped artist Alexander Valentine to create two large collages inspired by the warmly modern interior spaces of the hotel hung in oversized frames on the east side of the building on Rush Street. The two large collages uniquely combine the interior sensibility of The James with the bright color, texture and architecture detailing of Valentine’s present work.  Additionally, a limited edition 11×16 print of the collage will be available for purchase at the concierge desk at The James Chicago.

 Over time, and part of its ongoing Public Art series, The James will rotate the art in the frames later in the year with a different installation from a local artist.


Chicago Concierge Tradeshow makes connections!

The James Chicago Concierge Team

The James Chicago Concierge Team

The James Chicago Concierge team attended the annual Concierge Preferred Magazine tradeshow at Navy Pier. What a great experience meeting, connecting, and reconnecting with some of Chicago’s most valuable contacts! Kudos to Tim, Karol, Alexandra and Justin (from right).



Safety can be fun!

Safety Program Launch

Safety Program Launch

The James Chicago Safety Team launched their 2016 Safety Program today. Focusing on the involvement of all team members, the Safety Team will collect safety suggestions. The team member with suggestion picked to be implemented each month will win a gift card!

To communicate the program, we brought out “the wheel”. Spin the wheel and answer a Safety Question correctly, like: Where is the closest fire exit? How many fire extinguishers are in the basement? What are the three key actions to take with an Active Shooter? We had a choice of prizes: flashlights, screwdrivers, shirts, hats, coffee cups and more.

Thank you to the Engineering and Safety Team to organize this fun event!

Dinner is served!

The Management Team of The James Chicago paid another visit to the Ronald McDonald House to serve up a home cooked meal for the resident families of the Children’s Hospital.

We served about 80 people a tasty menu of carved Prime Rib, Mac & Cheese, Roasted Vegetables, Salad and Mini Pies. We always enjoy our visit at The Ronald McDonald House and are grateful that we are able to help those families in need! Thank you to our kitchen team and our group of volunteers!

Ronald McDonald House1

Halloween Fun at The James Chicago

Best Costume went to the entire Accounting Department who came as a set of Domino pieces! Other creations were pretty spooktacular and unique as well. Best Pumpkin, as voted by our guests, went to the Front Desk. And the grand finale was the presentation of the Team Member of the Month Award to Serafina from Minibar! Thank you to our JAT team for the spooky decorations and wonderful planning of this annual event!

Halloween 20151

Team Member of the Month Winner

Team Member of the Month Winner

Accounting Team - Costume Winner

Accounting Team – Costume Winner

Winning Pumpkin

Winning Pumpkin

Best Pumpkin Voting under way

Every year we have more creative and crazy Pumpkins on display at The James Chicago and our guests are invited to vote for their favorite! This year’s theme was “Movies”. Can you guess them all?

The winner will be revealed tomorrow at our Halloween Bash!

The James Chicago Team Pumpkins

The James Chicago Team Pumpkins

Housekeeping Week @ The James Chicago

It was a busy week at The James Chicago. But nothing could stop the team from celebrating Housekeeping week. Every day a different surprise, including Donuts from the Sales Team, Cookies Delivery from PC, Denihan Gifts at pre-shift, Ice Cream Sundaes in the laundry room and pasta bar lunch served by our managers. The entire James Chicago team says Thank you to a very special housekeeping team!

Cookies delivered to the rooms

Cookies delivered to the rooms

Denihan Gifts for the team

Denihan Gifts for the team


Pasta Bar Lunch

Pasta Bar Lunch

Ice Cream Sundae Surprise

Ice Cream Sundae Surprise

Sabre FAM Trip to The James Chicago!!


The Sabre Contact Center team headed to the James Chicago from August 19-21 for a Familiarization Trip of the hotel.  The Agents were treated to upgraded Suites and 1st class renowned James Brand hotel services.  From the meals in David Burke’s Primehouse, Meet and Greet reception on JIMMY Patio with the Front Office staff, to the personalized and extensive tours Meg & Dan provided, the James Chicago team blew us all away!   Suzanne also scheduled us a tour with comp set Thompson Hotel for a well rounded Chicago experience.  Thank you James Chicago Team!  See ya next year 🙂

Featured From Left to Right:  Bill, Ryan, Meg, Jessica, and Joe

Safari on the Chicago Lake Shore

The James Chicago Team held their annual family picnic at the beautiful South Shore of Michigan Lake. The theme was “Safari”, the kids loving the “wild animals”, tropics hats and face painting. The weather was a dream and the water slide was always packed. Our Chefs grilled up a great picnic with burgers, hot-dogs, and kebabs. Thank you to the JAT team for another successful event and thank you to everybody who helped and who stayed behind and worked! Enjoy the pictures!

Picnic 2015 Picnic 20151 Picnic 20152

Still #1 in Chicago!

David Burke’s Primehouse was selected as the #1 pick for’s “9 Essential Steakhouses” story.   Our mention names our steaks as “arguably the best in town”, highlighting the 28 and 75 day dry-aged ribeyes, as well as the cake in the can dessert, and our dry-aging room.  We’re in good company with Bavette’s, Chicago Cut and Gibson’s also being named to the list.  See clipping and link to story below.

#1 Reader

Best and Brightest Place to work at – The James Chicago

Chicago101BBWin15_4c_horzCongratulations to The James Chicago Team for being on this prestigious list for 8 years in a row!

The National Association of Business Relations is the sponsor of this award in the greater Chicago area. Organizations are assessed based on categories such as communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, recognition, retention and more through surveys to the company and to team members. Thank you to everybody who participated and a big cheer to the team!

A Mural for J-Café Chicago

At our recent Manager outing, we went to “Bottle and Bottega” and created together a Mural for our J-Café. With the assistance of some “real” artists, we completed 6 canvases of bicycles (one of our James amenities for guests! Having a lot of fun painting and enjoying some libations, we also celebrated our Manager of the 1st Quarter, Erin Hertzel, Restaurant Manager! And the art is now displayed in our J-Café, adding a nice pop of color and some new memories.

Management Team being very creative

Management Team being very creative

Completed pieces of art

Completed pieces of art

The finished project: a mural for J-Cafe

The finished project: a mural for J-Cafe

Welcome to the Hall of Fame!

Congratulations to The James Chicago!


The James Chicago has been welcomed into the Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame.

This unique accolade is granted only to those businesses that have won the Certificate of Excellence for five years in a row.

As you know, the Certificate of Excellence can be earned only by receiving consistently great reviews on the world’s largest travel site.

Congratulations to all on a job well done!

2015 Certificate of Excellence

2015 Certificate of Excellence

Racing for a Cure on Mother’s Day

On the way

On the way

A little rain and cold did not stop The James Chicago team this past Sunday. Long before any Mother’s Day Brunches started, we met at the Chicago “Bean” at Millennium Park and joined the annual Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure”! Team Members brought their kids, mothers and other family members to run 10k or 5k, or to participate in a 1mile or 5k walk. Thank you to everybody who braced the Chicago Spring weather and laced up their shoes!

Pre Race Meeting
Pre Race Meeting


The runners made it back!

The runners made it back!

To add fun to the fundraising, the team held a “Bake for the Cure” Bake Sale the previous Friday. Several team members did show off their baking skills and many purchased tasty cup cakes, muffins and cookies for an early Mother’s Day treat.

Bake Sale 4Bake Sale 3


New Lockers for team members!

The team of The James Chicago received new changing lockers! Thank you to our awesome engineering department, who dismantled and discarded the old lockers, and then installed the new ones in just a few days! The new lockers are much heavier and sturdier and in a cheerful blue color! HR assigned personal lockers and locks at a “Grand Opening” party with coffee and treats. Everything looks much neater and sparkling new now, just ready for Spring!





Kids experience a day in the life of their parent at The James Chicago

In collaboration with the national “Bring your Sons and Daughters to work” program, The James Chicago opened its doors to 17 children of our team members. A full agenda included a hotel tour and scavenger hunt and a creative hour, where the kids drew pictures for The James. They also made pizzas which were later enjoyed by everybody in the J-Café. The highlight was the presentation of our monthly “Team Member of the Month Award” from one of the kids to their uncle! Congratulations to Lucas De la Cruz!  Pretty tired at the end of the day, one boy commented: “Wow, my mum works really hard!” Thank you to the JAT team who made this event a huge success and to everybody else who helped to keep 17 kids entertained and occupied.

Group Picture with themed T-Shirts

Group Picture with themed T-Shirts


Proud Uncle! TMOM Lucas

Proud Uncle! TMOM Lucas

Making Pizza

Making Pizza

Art for The James Chicago

Art for The James Chicago


Art Hour with Aaron


Primehouse wins at Baconfest Chicago

For the seventh year, Primehouse participated in Baconfest Chicago this past weekend with over 4,500 guests in attendance.  Every year a portion of the proceeds from the event are donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and this year Baconfest donated over $75,000! Bacon fest Winners

Chefs Jove Hubbard and Amanda Warren, assisted by Michael York and Jamie Moss (from the left), cooked up the warmly-received and critical darling bacon tarte flambe for the event which featured applewood bacon, black pepper hollandaise, crispy leeks and ramp soubise.  Primehouse also walked away a winner, being honored with “The Bob Nueske Commitment to Bacon Award” for seven years of creative bacon dishes at Baconfest.  View photos attached and press clips from Baconfest below.  Congrats to teams!


The James Chicago Celebrates 9 Years with Games of Golf

Team members had a ball playing 9 holes of putt-putt golf with each hole paying homage to the anniversary with different “9” themes. With their eye on the prize, team members putted around such obstacles as K-9’s, 9 Chicago sports icons, and cats with 9 lives, to take home not a green jacket, but a Nike gift card! The party also included a Team Member of the Month celebration where Ryan R. from the IRD team won due to his effortless Caring and Concerned James traits. (Ryan has also been with The James for 7 years!). General Manager Stephen Blackford thanked everyone for their hard work during the first quarter and briefly spoke about all the exciting things in the works coming up this summer in Chicago.

 Thanks to the JAT and Banquets teams “fore” a fun-filled afternoon.


JIMMY Chicago featured in the Chicago Tribune!

JIMMY at The James Chicago and JIMMY Chicago were featured in the November 23, 2014 Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune.  Johnny was interviewed for a story about cranberries cocktails and his cocktail, the Plymouth Rock is featured.  The article features the recipe for the Plymouth Rock and Johnny’s thoughts on how cranberries can add a holiday touch to seasonal cocktails.  See scan below and attached. Happy Holidays from our team to you!

Cranberries - The featured recipe

Chicago Tribune_JIMMY Chicago_11 23 14

Santa visited The James Chicago

This is the favorite day for the families of the team members of The James. A fun filled Breakfast at the hotel with crafts, photos and special VIP guests. This year, Santa brought along with him Mickey Mouse and Elsa. Elsa clearly won the show, but Santa remained busy listening to so many wishes and requests from the children. A special “Thank You” to our banquet cooks for the constant flow of tasty treats and to our fantastic J.A.T. team for organizing the entire event! It will create lasting memories 🙂


Every child took a turn on Santa’s lap.


Even Mickey was smitten by Elsa!


The camera was too small for all the kids! Great crowd.


Busy craft table with Olaf Cut-outs, bracelet making and coloring pages


2014 JAT team: another successful event!

Congratulations to Chicago’s Stars of the Industry!

Congratulations to our 11 nominees from The James to the Chicagoland Stars of the Industry Awards.

All 11 were honored today in style at a gala luncheon.

We are proud to announce that Krista Krauss, Concierge, made it to the finalists!

And David Rodriguez won a great overnight hotel stay through the raffle.

We had a great time with our team to celebrate!

And for us, all nominated team members are Stars and Winners!


The nominees: Lukas, Elvira, Meg, Oscar, Matt, Krista, Willy, Christina, Jeanette & Anthony

The nominees: Lukas, Elvira, Meg, Oscar, Matt, Krista, Willy, Christina, Jeanette & Antonio




“Bleasure Trips” to Chicago


“Bleasure. It’s perhaps the biggest travel trend – and travel-blend word – since the “Staycation”…..a bleasure trip is what happens when those who travel for work decide to tack on a bit of place-specific leisure time before, during or after a business trip…”

So quoted in the recent “UP Magazine”, our own General Manager Stephen Blackford was asked about his input on the best Bleasure tips for Chicago. Next time you are here, maybe you can enjoy some of these idea?Bleasure Tips_Page_1


Housekeeping Week in Chicago

The James Chicago started and ended “Housekeeping Week” with a treat for everybody but paying very special attention to our Housekeeping Team throughout the week.

Kicking off the festivities with attention to Health and Wellbeing, our own Wellness Team under the leadership of Laura Slater, Director of HR, had arranged for an exciting and invigorating “Wellness Fair” on Monday. Education, Classes, Zumba, Meditation, Snacks and much much more were on the Agenda for all to enjoy. We might see more Zumba Classes coming to The James soon, as especially the Housekeeping Team danced their heart out!

The following day, the focus was solely on the Housekeeping Team: every team member received a gift card to be spend as they wished. Then we had a special pasta lunch in a private meeting room, being served by General Manager, Steve Blackford! The following day, our JAT team delivered special cookies to the ladies on the floors for an afternoon treat. Sales treated the team to Breakfast on one day, and the Accounting team on another. Who can say no to Donuts??

Courtesy of the Housekeeping Week, Friday brought a full Ice Cream Sundae Bar for all team members in J-Café. Both lunch and dinner service was covered with our PC member, scooping and sprinkling your favorite ice cream cone or cup. We thought that this was the grand finale, but long behold the housekeeping team decided to extend the fun and had an impromptu potluck lunch on Sunday, enjoying many homemade dishes and spending some fun quality time together.

Thank you, dear Housekeeping Team @ The James Chicago for all the hard work you do and the great scores we all enjoy!! We very much appreciate you!

The James Chicago Housekeeping Week

The James Chicago Housekeeping Week

Family Picnic at The James Chicago

Even Chicago has a beach! And we finally had beach worthy weather, which made our picnic a huge success. For the 6th year, we camped out on the grounds of the old Chicago Culture Center at the very south tip of the Lake Shore. The JAT team planned a Super Heroes Picnic, with the Planning Committee decked out in Super Hero T-Shirts and many team members following suit. The kids were amused with a bouncy castle with water slides, big tricycles, a crafts table and a huge Piñata. The adults had fun with impromptu soccer and volleyball games. A huge thank you to Chef Dino, Chris and Jeff for grilling up a storm with delicious Kebobs, Brats and Hot Dogs.

It is always a pleasure to see the families having fun away from work and to see the kids grow up! It was a lot of fun for everyone!

Piñata time!

Piñata time!

More super heroes

More super heroes

Super Hero bounces

Super Hero bounces

Waterslide Castle and Bikes

Waterslide Castle and Bikes


“Best & Brightest” Award for the 7th Year!

ChitChat pictures

Congratulations to the team at The James Chicago! Since 2007, the hotel has been named one of the 101 Best and Brightest Companies to work for by NABR for the greater Chicago Area. The award was presented to our Hotel Manager during a festive luncheon earlier this week.

The award winners are being selected by a committee through questionnaires to all team members and a business evaluation. We are very proud to display another great trophy in our collection!


The James races for the Cure

The Race for the Cure (Susan G. Komen) is part of the traditional Mother’s Day in Chicago. This year we had a strong team of 16, who walked and raced towards the Cure for Breast Cancer.

Congratulations and Thank you for starting this nice day off early and for participating!

Race for the Cure 2014

Building our next generation

Last week, Chicago honored “Take your Daughters and Sons to Work” day and this was the first year that The James Chicago participated. We hosted 10 brave kids from 6 to 12 years old, who were curious to see what their parents were doing at work. The group went on a hotel tour, assisted Engineering with replacing filters, made turn-down cookies, completed a scavenger hunt and had some great self made sandwiches together.

At the end of the day, everybody was tired and they all agreed that their parents work “too hard”! But they all liked The James and their lovely hosts from our JAT team.


New Engineers??


Changing filters

Making cookies with Pastry Chef Amanda

Waiting for their parents

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