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posted: 4/6/2021 5:05 AM

Now under new ownership, Arlington Heights hotel clears big hurdle toward liquor licenses

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An Arlington Heights hotel under new ownership and management earned approval of new liquor licenses Monday, conditioned upon submission of a final alcohol sale plan and menu.

Sonesta Select Arlington Heights, 3700 N. Wilke Road, is the former Courtyard by Marriott Arlington Heights/North. The property owner's contract with Marriott was due to expire and the owner opted not to renew, resulting in the new lease deal with Massachusetts-based Sonesta International Hotels Corp., according to the owner's attorney Harlan Powell.

Powell said it's part of a larger transaction involving the transfer of two other Marriott-branded hotels to Sonesta, including those in West Dundee and Chicago. The latter hotelier already operates an extended stay hotel in the Northwest suburbs, Sonesta ES Suites Schaumburg.

The Arlington Heights hotel's bar/restaurant and retail shop has temporarily suspended food and alcohol sales amid COVID-19 and the ownership transition. But the village board's conditional approval of Class A and N liquor licenses Monday night will allow those sales to resume soon.

Mayor Tom Hayes, who also serves as local liquor control commissioner, and village trustees sought more details during a meeting held virtually Monday night about how the hotel's alcohol service would be conducted. That included questions about what type of alcohol would be served, whether just beer and wine, or mixed drinks as well.

Veronica Villafuerte, the hotel general manager who came aboard a year ago under Marriott, said the Sonesta corporate office is now putting together a menu that should be complete in the next few weeks. While the restaurant would serve breakfast in the morning, liquor sales would only take place from 5 to 10 p.m., she said.

Under the previous Marriott operation, the hotel bar sold mixed drinks, while the gift shop had beer and wine on sale from a locked refrigerator, she added.

Under previous ownership, the hotel was fined for liquor license violations in 2010, 2016 and 2019.

Hayes said the new liquor licenses wouldn't be issued until the hotel provides village officials with the final menu and plan for sale. But he was otherwise pleased with the qualifications and experience of the new hotel management.