IT’S BEEN NEARLY A century since a new hotel opened its doors in Lake Forest. The new Forester Hotel ended that dry spell in style on April 7.
Located in Conway Park, The Forester caters to both corporate travelers and to locals looking for a place to host special events or have a high-quality meal.
“We are The Forester, a Hyatt Place Hotel, so we still have the comforts that the Hyatt Place brand offers, like Hyatt Grand Beds and free Wi-Fi, but even more,” says Marlena Karwowski, The Forester’s General Manager. “We have more meeting space and upgraded amenities throughout the lobby and meeting spaces.”
Unlike regular Hyatt Place Hotels, The Forester has a large bar and a full-service restaurant, Oaken Bistro + Bar, and meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 250 guests.
“Hyatt Place Hotels typically have a small selection of togo things and a very limited menu with three or four items to select from,” says Karwowski. “We are just next level.”
Built new from the ground up, the hotel is designed to meet the travel needs of nearby corporations, which include pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies. It can host board meetings and corporate events as well as providing top-notch accommodations for corporate travelers.
“Our meeting spaces are very flexible, and we have two breakout rooms that can also serve as private dining rooms” says Karwowski. “In addition to the meeting space, we also have a large fitness center.”
Locals looking for a space to host wedding receptions or other special events will find The Forester ideal.
“We are within half a mile of Conway Farms Golf Club and we also are within a mile of Armor House at Lake Forest Academy,” Karwowski says. “We’re trying to partner up with Lake Forest Academy for any type of alumni services that we can offer.”
A main feature of The Forester is its restaurant, Oaken Bistro + Bar. The menu, conceived by Executive Chef Kristen Burman, features items with ingredients from farms in the region, including Southern Wisconsin.
“Kristen wanted to implement a menu with responsible, locally sourced items, so she’s working with local farms here and in Wisconsin to make sure that what we get is going to be the freshest product,” Karwowski says. “She has an amazing octopus salad dish that’s really nicely done and it’s not an overpowering portion. We also will have a burger on the menu, but with Kristen’s twist, I would call it. It has Gruyere cheese, wild mushrooms, stone ground mustard aioli, and onion rings on a pretzel bun.”
Guest rooms feature laminate vinyl floors, ideal for cutting down on the spread of germs in the current pandemic, and all of the latest technology, with charging stations and USB ports throughout as well as 55” Smart TV and mini-fridges. All the guest rooms also feature free Wi-Fi and seating areas with sofa-sleepers. Meeting rooms are equipped with 80-inch televisions and drop-down screens with projectors.
“Essentially, what we’re trying to focus on is the experience,” Karwowski says “Guests need modern comfort, and when you come to The Forester you just feel like you’re in a different, modern place compared to the other hotels around here.”
The Forester, a Hyatt Place Hotel, is located at 200 N. Field Drive in Lake Forest, 847-582-6400, TheForesterHotel.com.