A Three Hour Tour


11 October 2015

Richard Solomons
InterContinental Hotels Group

Dear Mr. Solomons,

Have you ever been to your Holiday Inn in Schaumburg, Illinois?  I have and I think you might want to have a look.

I’m pretty sure this hotel started out as one of those two story travel lodges next to a major highway, probably built in the 1960’s – there are windows in every room facing the corridor.  Then in the 1980’s, somebody had the bright idea to jam a multi-story tower to one side.  And probably to save money, someone thought that the elevators for the new tower could also serve the two story older facility, notwithstanding the fact that they were on the exact opposite side of the old lobby, which faced the highway and needed to stay where it was.

The staff at the hotel are nice enough to hand out a map that shows how to get to the elevators; go past the cabana, make a left at the entrance to the courtyard/pool, once your see the Corinthians columns, keep going and then make a sharp right (notice the beautiful faux marble floor), and just wait for Siri to tell you that “you have arrived at your destination”.  (By the way: there are a set of misaligned glass doors next to these elevators that lead out to the parking.  These doors are not secured after hours and anyone can walk in at any time – not exactly a secured building).

Who knows when but another bright architect thought it would be awesome to cover the former courtyard/pool area, put down carpet over the uneven concrete pavement and decorate the whole place in a sort of tropical paradise theme, complete with bamboo cladding everywhere and thatched roofs where no roof should be – the result is a post-apocalyptic set for a Gilligan’s Island reunion on which not only Tina Louise, nor any other pretender to Ginger’s crown, would step foot.  Nothing smells more tropical than a mixture of pool chlorine and the carpet freshener hotels use to combat stale tobacco odor.

You may want drive just down street on Algonquin Road and see the striking Zurich Insurance headquarters under construction – perhaps you would reconsider whether your hotel belongs in the same neighborhood.

Saman Ahmadi, PE, AIA

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