A sparkling silver tea service and a tower of cakes is just one of the pillars of Glamour Rediscovered; The Drake of Oak Brook, Illinois’ new branding campaign.
“The Drake is an iconic name, dating back to 1927, when it was built in Chicago. The Drake Oak Brook is 18 miles away, in a Chicago suburb, and our goal is to bring back the opulence of yesteryear,” says GM Lee Hoener. “We hope our guests will enjoy a spirit of celebration, and a glamorous escape.”
So far, attendance at high teas and attendance by wedding parties and other guests is proving the case for glamor and finer things, Hoener adds.
In this week’s Boxerbrand blog Q&A, Hoener explains some of the finer points of infusing yesteryear glamor into modern times.
BB: When did you roll out the high tea service and how has it filled a niche?
TD: We’ve been doing the high tea for about a year now. There’s not many out here in the suburbs doing high tea, but it did take a little while for word to get out. We thought it was an important niche to fill, and saw it as a huge opportunity.
The tea is part of a larger branding and renovation to remake The Drake Oak Brook into one of the fine properties in the portfolio of the Autograph Collection by Marriott. These are comprised of 200 boutique hotels that curated for their unique qualities— there are no cookie-cutter properties — and passion for attention to detail.
We set up the high tea station at our front desk as part of the overall welcome experience. Word has gotten out, and this past holiday season we attracted about 150 guests per tea, which showed us there’s a real appreciation for something like this.
BB: How did you attract your first high tea customers?
TD: We did some marketing with our internal marketing office and promoted the tea on social media. We also advertised on local radio stations and ran an email marketing campaign. It’s becoming more and more recognized to the point that we’re adding a tea service on Sundays.
BB: The tea is one pillar of The Drake’s rebranding. What else have you done?
TD: We’ve done new renovations to all of our guest rooms. This includes deep attention to detail. For example, we have a beverage cart activated with wines and cocktails, and offer branded robes and slippers for guests. In our bathrooms we’re using upscale brands of toiletries.
In our restaurant The Colonial Room, our food and beverage has also been revamped. We do a Spanish-inspired tapas, British high tea, and American-inspired cuisine, as well as a lavish Sunday brunch.
The Drake Oak Brook is officially re-opening on Feb. 12 as an Autograph Collection property. Within Marriott’s eyes, we’re defined as an upscale and unique property on a par with the Waldorf-Astoria, The Peninsula , and Trump International in downtown Chicago.
Planning is still underway to build on our pillars, and we hope to develop a high-end spa experience for our guests.
BB: Can you offer a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes planning for your guest experience?
TD: Right now, we’re tweaking every day to determine what works well and what doesn’t work. We hold daily huddles to discuss every detail, from the vibe we want our guests to feel to the events taking place in the community we might want to be involved with. And we also recognize people on our team who do a great job, and good reviews and write ups we get in the press. — The Drake Oak Brook uses Boxerbrand Classic Leather products in its table presentation. Thank you!