The foundation of the Hotel Sax Chicago guest experience philosophy is to provide what is expected in a luxury hotel along with unexpected encounters and discoveries that surprise and delight the senses. When we embarked on the initial planning phases of the grand opening Crimson Lounge, located off the lobby of the hotel, we knew there was some serious brainstorming in our future. The rest of the Zapwater staff, along with hotel directors and Crimson General Manager, Steven Greaves, knew they wanted to throw an unprecedented bash to unveil the new space, which had been completely gutted and renovated to remove any trace of its former occupant, the Kaz Bar. After several months of meticulous planning, Crimson Lounge opened its doors for the first time this past Thursday, July 26th.

As they arrived, guests walked a crimson carpet and were directed through the lobby of the Hotel Sax to the doors of Crimson Lounge. If the bass vibrating through the floors was a preview of the night to come – we were in for a great party! Party-going VIPs were greeted with glasses of bubbling champagne adorned with strawberries. Cocktail waitresses and servers – donning sexy Crimson employee outfits designed by L.A. clothing label Cash Lords in conjunction with Chicago celeb stylist Lindsay McKay – bustled around the room serving bite-size appetizers and signature drinks from the Crimson menu.

Matt Roan, a favorite DJ in Chicago, kicked off the night with two straight hours of energetic dance music and classic drinking songs. Los Angeles-based celebrity DJ and paparazzi favorite, Samantha Ronson, took over the tables at 10PM for an ecstatic crowd. Samantha and Matt seemed to enjoy each others company, they mingled by the DJ booth before she started her set. The booth, at crowd level, was perfect for many Ronson fans who watched her, faces pressed against the glass, throughout the night. Even while playing an unforgettable set of music, Ronson was extremely friendly and smiled and posed for pictures throughout the night – all the while flashing her signature peace sign.

The VIP guests of the night, including R.Kelly, Smokie Robinson and George Daniels received overflowing gift bags from the Crimson Gifting Lounge. Select VIPs received special passes to the security-guarded lounge, which included swag from Microsoft Zunes, K.Amato jewelry, Bulgari, Luca Luca, Cash Lords, Chicago Social and Vosges Haut-Chocolat.

The eclectic crowd grew throughout the night and became increasingly uninhibited as the night drew on. Sporadic dance-offs and sing-alongs to Jackson 5 remixes were definitely a highlight! Who doesn’t love a little “ABC." When the last glass of champagne had been drunk (or spilled), the most hardcore partiers, Hotel Sax and Crimson staff and the Zapwater team retreated to various VIP areas to reminisce about the night. I was lucky enough to stumble upon my boss David Zapata in deep conversation with Samantha Ronson and Crimson General Manager Steven Greaves.

Being the huge celebrity blog fan that I am, I already felt like I knew Samantha and didn’t hesitate to squeeze my way into that conversation. She was totally down to earth and introduced herself with, “Love your dress – that’s awesome!” Little did she know it was borrowed. Either way I felt A-List. From the looks of the faces in Crimson that night, everyone else felt pretty VIP too. That was what we had in mind.

Susan Schreiber