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Take a Look at the InterContinental’s Major Renovation

This week’s destinations include Estes Park, Colorado; Carlsbad, California; and Memphis.

Photo: Courtesy INTERCONTINENTAL CHICAGO MAGNIFICENT MILE

Although beautiful and historic, the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile (505 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-4100) hasn’t been a match for the city’s newer luxury hotels. But that may be a knock of the past: Earlier in April, the Michigan Avenue landmark finished a $12 million renovation that completely redid the hotel’s Grand Tower, including its hallways and 477 rooms. The hotel has taken steps to modernize over the past year; for example, adding a giant screen streaming a live video feed of Michigan Avenue behind the front desk, its Chicago River kayaking program, and hiring a new executive chef, Randy Reed, to head up the Continental restaurant and room service dining. But are the renovated rooms a giant leap forward? Dressed in chartreuse, the rooms have new marble vanities and light fixtures, and updated patterns and textures, including channel-stitched headboards and Chanel-blazer-inspired throw pillows. But judge for yourself: The hotel has created a slew of post-renovation video tours; this one gives a good look around the new rooms. 

This New Chicago-Made App Kicks Road Warrior Boredom to the Curb 

The Chicago-based BTSocial has launched a social-media app that lets business travellers meet other professionals with time to kill while on the road. Users of the app can share their location—at an airport lounge, for example, or at a hotel—for spontaneous meet-ups or schedule them in advance. Read more at BTSocial’s website.

Revisit Jack Nicholson’s Creepiest Role at the Stanley Hotel Film Festival

Inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining, the Stanley Hotel (333 Wonderview Ave., 800-976-1377; from $239) in Estes Park, Colorado, hosts its new Stanley Film Festival from May 2 through 5, featuring a nicely curated line-up of contemporary and classic horror flicks such as The Purge, Sightseers, and, of course, The Shining. Afterward, purge the paranormal with natural highs and a hike through Rocky Mountain National Park; take along this expert’s guide from Chicago magazine. 

The World’s First Legoland Hotel Is No Work of Genius, But Kids Will Love It Anyway 

Millions of plastic bricks and bunk beds come together at the first-ever Legoland hotel (5885 The Crossings Dr., 877-534-6526; from $209), which opened earlier this month next to the Legoland theme park in Carlsbad, California. Get the full tour at HotelChatter

May is the Month to Drive to Memphis

Head south for giant magnolias in bloom, 80-degree highs, and the month-long Memphis in May International Festival. Highlights include the Beale Street Music Festival (May 2 to 5) and the original, hard-core World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (May 16 to 18), where meat-slingers bearing secret sauces compete for big cash prizes. Watch the Travel Channel video about the BBQers.

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