posted on June 24, 2012 18:30
The following article appeared in the Lake County News-Sun Times on June 25, 2012:
GURNEE — As the Holiday Inn hotel chain celebrates its 60th anniversary, the Holiday Inn Gurnee Convention Center celebrates its grand opening.
Gurnee’s newest hotel hosted about 300 people for its grand opening celebration Friday. Several hotel brands have owned the building located at 6161 W. Grand Ave. (intersection of Grand Avenue and Tri-State Parkway) over the past 40 years, according to Edward Kalashian, the hotel’s general manager. The four-story building has been completely remodeled. “It’s totally different. We are under totally new ownership and management. Pretty much everything is new,” Kalashian said.
The location includes the restaurant Spice run by executive chef Christopher Solare of McHenry. Solare designed a menu with Eastern-American fusion. “It’s a twist of eastern cuisine with my own American favorites,” he said. There are about 40 items on the restaurant and bar menu. Solare said he designed the menu for Spice after researching what other restaurants served in Gurnee. “I wanted us to be something different. In my eyes, people pay for the experience. I’m all about the wow factor,” he said. Solare was a chef at the White House from 2004 to 2005. He once cooked for former Vice President Dick Cheney at his private residence in Maryland. “He specified that when his wife was out of town and he wanted one-pound portions on all his proteins,” Solare recalled, explaining that the proteins were lamb chops and filet mignon.
The Gurnee Holiday Inn has 85 employees, 210 guest rooms with a total of 352 beds; a swimming pool that holds 45,000 gallons of water; 10,000 square feet of banquet space; and a ballroom with 9,000 square feet, Kalashian said. The presidential suite has three rooms and 1,400 square feet.
Construction started in 2011 and finished May 2012. A fire on the banquet hall side of the building in August 2011 delayed the project a bit, Kalashian said. There is LED lighting in the ballroom, MacBooks in the business center and a fitness center full of new equipment.
Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik said she was glad to see the Holiday Inn open. “It’s a highly visible property. We’re glad to see the investment. We know it will be successful,” Kovarik said.
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Contact: Jeff Iavarone