BlogHer '07: Look Out, Chicago! Location, Hotels and Buttons
(aka "A very long post about all things BlogHer Conference '07, and then some!")
I am so excited to be making this here announcement that I almost don't know where to begin. What do you want to know first? Where we're going? What we're doing? Where we're staying? I know, me too!
But please, let me start by putting this in a little bit of context. Because we are taking our theme -- "A World of Difference" -- very seriously.
You all? You are amazing and wonderful and thoughtful and interesting and opinionated and represent tremendous diversity. Which is what makes our community so incredible...but, to borrow a quote from Fast Company's Lynne D. Johnson's blog:
"Getting a room full of bloggers together is kind of like gathering together everyone who uses pencils."
Meaning that while we have blogging in common, we have different ideas about what, exactly, will make for a great BlogHer Conference '07.
But! Rest assured that we have listened to your feedback...
We loved the yoga!
We hated the yoga!
There was yoga?
* * *
The hotel had a great set-up!
The hotel had a horrible set-up!
* * *
Thanks to the sponsors for defraying the cost of the event!
I wish we didn't need sponsors.
Hey, are these pasties in my bag?
...and are working hard to ensure that this July, our World of Difference will offer something for everyone.
So! Now for the information you've all been waiting for:
BlogHer '07 is in Chicago!
Okay, we know you know that already, but it seemed to make sense to reiterate exactly why we've selected Chicago.
- Chicago is centrally located and easy to get to. It's certainly easier to fly to (for reasonable rates) from the rest of the country than the San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley ever is. In fact, SouthWest has some great deals going on right now for those of you ready to make your reservations:
Check here and here for example.
- Plus, we know it's not fair that California and New York always seem to get the cool Internet-related events.
- Ultimately, Chicago is a logical locale for BlogHer's first move east. It's a happening hub, and one of the few places that can offer truly urban delights and still accommodate nearly a thousand of us. There are plenty of amazing dining, sight-seeing, live entertainment, and shopping options within a few blocks of our event. For those of you who are considering making a full-fledged vacation out of this, you really can't go wrong.
Now, it's true -- we're not the only ones who think that being in Chicago in July will be fantastic. It's quite a popular destination, and accordingly, it tends toward pricey. So here is where I tell you that we have searched high and low, exhaustively, to find the absolute best rates possible. (Trust me, we are all about getting the biggest bang for the buck.) And while we haven't been able to replicate the bargain-bottom rates of last year's hotel, we have scored some pretty awesome deals.
BlogHer '07 is at The Navy Pier!
Chicago's Navy Pier is kind of amazing.
From a distance, you might think the Pier is just a giant fun-park for kids and adults (with its rides, attractions, theatres, shops, museum, fireworks, and restaurants and bars on site). But beyond the oh-so-fun-for-all surface is a gorgeous meeting facility and Grand Ballroom.
Our conference will take place in and around the Grand Ballroom and Lakeview Terrace, with plenty of space for meetings, mingling and meals. This means that the conference -- from breakfast through our cocktail parties -- will happen in one convenient location. Plus we'll have private, breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline throughout the event. (The tourists will be jealous!)
More information will follow as we finalize the schedules, but in the meantime, check out general information here: www.navypier.com
And if you're really interested in seeing where the BlogHers will be, you can preview the conference space here.
Now to answer the even bigger question: Where will we be staying?
We had some pretty basic criteria in searching for the ideal hotels for BlogHer attendees. We wanted something close to the Navy Pier, large enough to accommodate a considerable room block (it'd be no fun having us spread out among a dozen different properties), clean and well maintained, and reasonably priced.
Here's what we've found:
[Oh, and please note: for each hotel our room block has been reserved from Wednesday, July 25 to check-out on Sunday, July 29. Rates are for single OR double occupancy, and room sharing is definitely encouraged. Doubles are large, and could conceivably hold four adults, though it will be cozy.]
Hotel Option #1: Chicago City Centre
Find it here: www.chicc.com
Click here for reservations.
Please call the hotel to make reservations if you plan on staying outside the dates of our room block: (312) 787-6100
Cut-Off Date: Reservations must be made by June 25!
About the Chicago City Centre
The Chicago City Centre is about 5 blocks from the Navy Pier, and just steps from the Magnificent Mile. It's a pretty standard hotel, with the comfortable rooms and decor you'd expect. Bottom line: it's a fine hotel with great service and a great rate. Another benefit? It's connected to The Lakeshore Athletic Club -- a full-service sports center and day spa that includes a large indoor pool, the latest cardio equipment, aerobics room and three indoor tennis courts -- and membership is complimentary for anyone staying at the City Centre.
Classes, including yoga for those of you who do enjoy it, are part of the package. :)
Oh, and there's also free wi-fi in the hotel lobby, plus free high-speed internet access in all of the hotel rooms. They're even beefing up connectivity for those of you who expect to spend your off-hours podcasting and videoblogging.
Hotel Option #2: The W Lakeshore
Click for the W Lakeshore website.
Cut-Off Date: We're sorry, but reservations are no longer being accepted.
About the W Lakeshore
We were as surprised as you are that The W was willing to give us such a great rate...which is probably why so many of you raced to make your reservations!
As of now, our discounted rooms at the W are sold out.
Hotel(ish) Option #3: Hostelling International Chicago
Find it here: http://www.hichicago.org
Rate: $27.80/night. Yes, it does say $27.80 a night.
Click here for reservations: http://www.hichicago.org (Promo code: BLOGHER)
Cut-Off Date: Reservations must be made by June 25! We have a limited quantity, so please reserve these soon.
About the Hostel
Oh yes, we did. For those of you who just want to enjoy the conference and not worry about hotels (and hotel prices), we have reserved a block of beds at the Chicago location of Hostelling International. It's only a short bike- or cab-ride away from the Pier, and is walkable if you're up for it.
Rooms are separated by gender. If you want to stay in the same room as another guest(s), please let them know at the time you make your reservation. Yes, bathrooms are shared.
The upshot? Even with taxes, your costs will be $32.08 per night. Plus you get to make all sorts of BlogHer's "hostel takeover" puns.
Wait, what's that?
I'd love to come this year, but what will I do with the rest of my family?
Why not bring 'em? We are working out the details now, but childcare options will be available for each day of the conference. And the Navy Pier is a great place for non-conference-attending partners (and older kids) to play. So if you're thinking about making this a family event, you'll definitely have options.
So that's the high-level scoop. (Whew!) More details will follow in the coming weeks, including registration, but hopefully this is enough to get you started...and excited. And if you're ready to commit, we've got the buttons for you.
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