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Pheasant Run announces latest evolution in long life

Resort offering new arts, entertainment options

ST. CHARLES – Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles has a history of changing with the times, which perhaps is why the resort has remained open since 1963.

Among the latest changes is the expansion of two local businesses – the Arcada Theatre and iPANiC Escape Rooms – into the resort. Pheasant Run representatives announced those new developments, along with others, during a tour of the resort for city officials and the press May 11 during National Travel and Tourism Week.

“We’re trying to add another level of entertainment to what we do,” said Hal Barth, marketing director at the resort, which is located at 4051 E. Main St.

The Arcada Theatre, which has a downtown St. Charles location, plans to offer family-oriented performances at Pheasant Run, such as children’s theater, magic shows and musicals.

“We’re in the process of doing a lot of booking,” Arcada representative Gabby Fink said. Fink said among those bookings is the musical “Hairspray,” which the Arcada will feature at Pheasant Run in August.

The Arcada’s offerings at Pheasant Run will help to fill an entertainment void existing at the resort since 2015 when Fox Valley Repertory ceased producing shows at the resort.

Pheasant Run has 320 amphitheater seats.

“We think that we will really make an impact here,” Fink said. “We’re really excited about this partnership.”

The resort will market the Arcada’s shows not just to attract hotel guests but theater-goers from throughout the Chicago area.

In addition, iPANiC Escape Rooms, which has a location at Charlestowne Mall, just opened a new room called Bourbon Street Voodoo at Pheasant Run and soon will add a second pirate-themed room at the resort. The rooms challenge people to work together to solve puzzles and uncover hidden clues in order to escape. A company representative said several corporate groups have already booked the Voodoo room for fun employee team-building.

Pheasant Run also has new visual art venues, opened recently by the St. Charles Arts Council. The group operates The Loft and The Street Galleries on the resort’s Bourbon Street.

“It’s awesome that we are able to utilize this space,” said Elizabeth Bellaver of the volunteer-based arts council.

When the McCardle family opened Pheasant Run 54 years ago, the resort featured an indoor-outdoor heated swimming pool, touted as the first one at any hotel in America. The original hotel also had a championship golf course and the two-block, brick-laid replica of New Orleans’ Bourbon Street with shops, bars and restaurants. All those features remain.

During the recession in 2011, the resort went into foreclosure. A hotel investors group in 2014 bought Pheasant Run, which since then has been managed by Schaumburg-based Hostmark Hospitality Group.

The McCardles had completed various improvement and expansion projects over the years. The hotel grew from 184 guests rooms to 473.

Pheasant Run Playhouse opened at the resort in 1964, offering dinner theater. A major renovation in 2002 transformed it into a theater-only venue, with Noble Fool Theater Company – later Fox Valley Repertory – as the theater’s operator. 

An expansion in 1980 added a 16-story tower, a garden atrium, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. In 1985, the resort built its 35,000-square-foot Mega Center for special events, exhibits, concerts and conventions. Pheasant Run underwent a major makeover in March 2005, enhancing its tower guest rooms and expo center.

Pheasant Run opened Zanies Comedy Club in the late 1980s and Jambalaya restaurant in the Bourbon Street section in 2009. To expand its food offerings, Pheasant Run last month launched Felipe’s Pizza, whose mascot was named in honor of a longtime employee.

Spa Vargus Wellness also is located at the resort.

The future could hold even more enhancements for Pheasant Run. The resort’s director of revenue, Mathias Dalbera, said a major renovation was coming soon, but declined to provide details.

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