After 35 years of the same 1970s blank architecture, the owners of the failing Holiday Inn finally decided that the hotel needed a complete revamp, and tore the structure down – wouldn’t that be nice.
Instead, the Holiday Inn was acquired by Hilton Properties in 2005, and they gave it a facelift – kinda. They simply refaced the building with some sort of stucco material (We believe it is DryVit).In the process they made the windows smaller (huh?), and generally “freshened” the old hotel up. We are told that the rooms and amenities have been upgraded as well, and the southeast side will be getting a new glass enclosure thing for a restaurant and expanded ballroom space. A corner of a ground floor addition got a Starbucks (and boy, we needed one of those) and upstairs from that an upscale steak-house. Dare we forget to mention the scrolling LED display – our own little bit of Times Square.
The old Holiday Inn was ugly, but lets wait and see what this stucco stuff will look like in ten years. If it is DryVit, I have heard bad things about the way it weathers (esp. in New England and esp. near a smoggy, sooty highway), so we may be pining for the old Holiday Inn and its quaint, but ugly, roadside demeanor before too long.
From the RIHPHC’s 1979 Downtown Survey, Wm McKenzie Woodward
Allen O’Hara, Incorporated, architect. 13-story, reinforced-concrete structure with pier-and-spandrel articulation of northeast and southwest elevations, blank northwest and southeast elevations, and a porte-cochere entrance (literally, a porch large enough for a carriage to pass through. Nowadays, this means a covered passenger drop-off area). The first hotel erected in Providence after the Biltmore opening in 1922, the Holiday Inn provided modern accommodations in contrast to the increasingly shabby quarters of the Biltmore in the early 1970s. With the decline and closing of the Biltmore and other Downtown hotels, the Holiday Inn, with the Marriott Inn at Randall Square, monopolized the market for tourists, traveling salesmen, and convention-goers during the 1970s.
Sited near the exit ramp of Route I-95 and eminently visible to high-speed automobiles traveling the highway, the 275 room Holiday Inn, with its nationally known neon logo atop this monolithic structure, beckons the weary motorist. It typifies the bland statements made by architectural firms designing for national franchises which depend more on recognizable conformity than on suitability of location or local building traditions.
Executive during renovation Sep 27 2016 I do have to side with "you bitch too much" on this the story is poorly put together and does have much incorrect information . as the hotel wasn’t failing as a holiday inn as much as the demand for premium accommodation as there still is a lack of lodging available many months of the year causing ppl to book up to 25 miles away from city . also proc group never transferred ownership or mgmt of hotel they sought investors and re-flagged and incorporated Shula , Starbucks etc. I came to this page for the history of the building as when it became holiday or when it first opened and it didn’t answer that . I can agree that much of the renovations were economizing but still completely changed the building for the better (Editor's note: In the “quick stats” and the RIHPHC history, both say it was built as a Holiday Inn in the early 70s. We do not have an exact date.)
Alex I believe you’re mistaken about the skywalk. Seems to be connecting the DD Center with the Convention Center. Although, the old police station just came down so we’ll see...
jerry That place is such an eyesore. And now with an even uglier new facade, some nasty condos by the Procaciannti Group, and a crappy steakhouse it’s about to get even nastier.
you bitch too much You bitch too much and you’re pictures suck and aren’t up-to-date. FYI, it wasn’t acquired by a Hilton, it was bought by the Procaciannti Group and the “glass-enclosed restaurant thingy” is a Shula’s 347 Steakhouse. Oh, you forgot to add that there would be a 30-story Hilton Residences built across the street and that there would be a skywalk. But that’s ok, keep complaining about nonsense that doesn’t even make sense.
(Ed June 2009: It’s cool dude, we’re cool... Relax. I’ll admit, this is one of my more sarcastic reviews of a building, but come on... I think I tell the story pretty well, and I know how it will play out. When you wrote this in probably 2006 there were plans for a new Hilton across the street and a skybridge to connect it all to the Dunk, but has any of that happened?)
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