When selecting the perfect party landscape to spend New Year's Eve, picking the Chicago hotel property that boasts "the longest freestanding bar in North America" seems like the natural space to gravitate to for fun and excitement.
And did I mention that this socializing watering hole, which is the focal point of the lush atrium area in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Chicago at 151 E. Wacker Drive along the Chicago River, is also famed for featuring "colossal size cocktails?"
But actually, when it comes to hosting its annual New Year's Eve party, the main event at the Hyatt Regency Chicago unfolds in the ballrooms where more than 2,400 party guests welcome the new year.
After more than a decade of hosting their ever-popular "Hyatt Regency Chicago's NYE Ballroom Blitz," this is a hotel that has event-planning fine-tuned beyond belief.
While making the rounds on Saturday, when it came time for the arrival of 2012, I decided to make my way to the Hyatt Regency Chicago's party, and I was more than just impressed.
From the fantastic buffet food stations featuring a menu of grilled salmon, lemon-pepper chicken, roast beef and pasta to an array of perimeter full-service open bars, the $119 admission price is a steal of a deal.
The 2011 party featured entertainment by Chicago band 7th Heaven (who played a great range of music hits right up until midnight) and DJ Sye Young.
There was plenty of open seating, ample security, party favors and guests of all ages enjoying the energy and excitement.
Hyatt Regency Chicago ranks as the largest hotel in the Midwest and the largest Hyatt property in the world. It has 2,019 guest rooms, 228,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and six restaurants and lounges. The hotel, along Chicago's Riverwalk, is in the heart of downtown and borders the Magnificent Mile.
I also had a chance to tour the newly renovated property, including the 36-floor East Tower.
"We are excited to announce that our $90 million renovation is complete," General Manager Patrick Donelly said.
"It was an elaborate renovation that included a complete remodel and transformation of the hotel's 2,019 guest rooms and suites, as well as 65 guest room floor corridors."
He said the hotel is proud to assure guests not only a comfortable stay, but also quiet luxury.
"We truly listened to our guests, and in turn, several aspects of this renovation were incorporated as a direct result of guest feedback," Donelly said.
"We are excited to provide our guests an even better experience through innovative, top-of-the line guest room accommodations featuring the latest in design and technology."
Even the New Year's Eve day check-in flows faster than imaginable, with the entire hotel staff of managers called in to work to accommodate guests' every need.
Patricia Kanke, marketing manager for Hyatt Regency Chicago, took time out her busy day to give me a tour and show me all of the latest highlights.
This hotel definitely knows how to roll out the red carpet, and according to Kanke, listens to guests about every aspect of room expectations, right down to the lighting preferred in guest bathrooms.
For more evidence about why this Hyatt property has earned the impressive AAA Four Diamond rating, visit hyattregencychicago.com.
• The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (219) 852-4327.