Nature plays major role in new Lake Forest boutique hotel

Bar at The Forester
Bar at The Forester

When The Forester, a hotel now going up in Conway Park at Lake Forest, opens in April 2021, visitors will find a prism-shaped front desk constructed from a white oak tree trunk, locally done botanical illustrations and foliage designed light fixtures over the bar.

The first boutique-stye hotel built under the Hyatt Place brand, The Forester will cater to business travelers and company meetings but will also welcome area residents to its restaurant, bar and event spaces.

Even though the hotel is in Conway Park, a business-focused property that includes Abbott Diagnostics, Pfizer, Trustmark, the Chicago Bears and the City of Lake Forest’s municipal services, The Forester’s ambiance embraces the City of Lake Forest’s motto “Naturae et Scientiae Amor” and is unique to the brand, according to Forester General Manager Marlena Karwowski

“The Forester Hotel is the first and only boutique-style Hyatt Place in the world.  No other Hyatt Place has its own independent-style brand identity, The Forester was inspired by science and nature, the City of Lake Forest’s founding motto, and features custom nature photography and scientific botanical illustrations of native plants commissioned by a local artist to reflect the juxtaposition of science and nature,” said Karwowski.

Lobby rendering of The Forester Hotel
Lobby rendering of The Forester Hotel

“You will see science and nature reflected throughout the hotel,” she said. As an example she added, “The restaurant features a mural with a crosscut tree trunk putting the natural pattern of tree rings on display.”

Karwowski noted that unlike the standard Hyatt Place brand hotel, it would have a full-service, chef-driven local restaurant and bar. Called Oaken Bistro + Bar, it is headed by Executive Chef Kristen Burman, formerly of Limelight Catering and Anthology San Diego. It will feature seasonal American dishes, wine and signature cocktails infused with local flowers and herbs.

Local flora and connections are important to Karwowski. “I’m working with the LF/LB Chamber to partner with them on events and I’m thinking of creating local events – something for families and pets after COVID is gone.

She said she was also working with Lake Forest Open Lands about flowers native to the area. Among her thoughts is to have designer postcards with seeds of lupine in them. Also on her list is to develop tours of old farms that are still in the area.

“I think people will find that The Forester is an escape from the city,” she said.

“The Forester brings you all the modern comforts you have come to expect from Hyatt Place like Hyatt Grand Beds and free Wi Fi, while offering a new boutique experience with individualized branding, custom design elements, and enhanced offerings,” said Karwowski.

“We are honored to be opening the first boutique-inspired Hyatt Place hotel in the world in the picturesque city of Lake Forest,” she said.

The Forester is at 200 N. Field Dr., Lake Forest, IL.

For more information visit The Forester.

Jodie Jacobs