City’s only hotel water park dropping Holiday Inn brand

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The operator of the Holiday Inn hotel and water park on the northwest side of Indianapolis is preparing to drop the popular national brand in favor of flying solo.

As of June 13, the 344-room hotel on Michigan Road operated by General Hotels Corp. will be known as Caribbean Cove Hotel & Water Park. The hotel has been a Holiday Inn for more than 30 years.

The company's latest contract with Holiday Inn for the property was up for renewal and General Hotels decided it made more sense not to renew it.

Indianapolis-based General Hotels added the 50,000-square-foot water park to the property in 2004, boosting weekend hotel occupancy and ultimately giving the property more leverage to operate as an independent.

“Given the hotel’s connecting water park, operating independently will allow the property to shift away from the cookie-cutter approach of an institutionally branded hotel,” General Hotels President Jim Dora Jr. said.

Dropping the restrictions, mandates and franchise fees that big-brand hotels typically demand should enable the hotel to operate more efficiently and creatively, Dora said.

For instance, the hotel now doesn’t have the flexibility to adjust food service and menus for its weekend guests, the vast majority of which are families using the water park, Dora said.

A complimentary breakfast buffet for all overnight guests will replace the Holiday Inn Kids Eat Free program.

Guests otherwise should notice little difference under the name change, Dora said. The property will continue to operate as a full-service hotel featuring a business center, on-site fitness center and indoor swimming pool, in addition to the water park.

The on-site restaurants, Indy Sports Grille and Cafe St. Paul, will not be affected by the name change.

Hotel water parks became trendy starting about 15 years ago as a way to lure visitors in the winter months. The number in the United States mushroomed from four to 71 from 1996 to 2005, according to the World Waterpark Association in Overland Park, Kan.

The number has grown to 104 in the past five years, but has tapered off due to the recession and slowdown in commercial development.

An $80 million hotel and water park proposed in Fishers at State Road 37 and 131st Street by local developer Puller Group was scrapped in November after the lender took back possession of the property.

General Hotels’ northwest-side property was developed by Dora’s father, Jim Dora Sr., and opened in 1979 as a Holiday Inn. It’s been managed by General Hotels ever since.

General Hotels owns and operates 10 hotels in Indiana, including these local properties: the downtown Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station and Holiday Inn Express on South East Street, as well as the Crowne Plaza near Indianapolis International Airport. Jim Dora Jr. operates three additional hotels under contract.



  • Priority Club
    I think it is sad that we don't except Priority Club memberships any longer. I would come and have my daughters birthday parties there every year and use my points. I have done this year after year but, not any longer!!!!
  • Reader
    It is true that Holiday Inn is not renewing hundreds of licensees because they have not brought their properties up to the Hoiday Inn standard. Just Google this topic to see.
  • Really?
    I think the slanderous comments are awful and as usual, they come from a "former employee" who was probably fired. I also love the comments from cowards that hide behind a alias . . . just say'n. If you're going to put it out there then put your REAL NAME on it, good or bad.
  • poor hotel
    My recently stayed at the hotel, if you call it that. Went to room after check in. mold in bathroom mold around windows. you can tell no money being put back into the hotel. I doubt that they decided not to renew but, that Holiday Inn didn't want them.
  • Shame
    For those of you making such slanderous comments, you should be ashamed. You are spreading serious accusations that could threaten the stability of a local business. Gossip is all it is. This gossip could cost many jobs and hurt the local economy. I am simply a mom who has visited this site more than a handful of times for birthday parties and a few overnights. We've had a nice time each visit. It's a joy to have something like this that's local. No, it's not a luxury hotel, but it is nice enough and reasonably priced for sure. I hope they do very well on their own.
  • Lost Franchise
    As a former Holiday Inn employee (many years ago)and having visted the property two times within the last 2 or 3 years I can assure you that "Gregg" above is correct. They lost their franchise because they no longer meet HI standards. I give them credit for the attempted "Media Spin".
  • Water Park
    The property is dark, ugly, and looks like it did the day it opened 30 years ago. Terribly outdated. No wonder they aren't continuing as a Holiday Inn.
  • Lost Holiday Inn Franchise
    The reason they lost their Holiday Inn Franchise is because the property is not up to Holiday Inn specifications. As a franchise hotel they have to put a certain amount of money back into the hotel to keep the standards up to par with the franchisor (IHG- which is Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn Express, etc.). So it was mandated in their contract that they could not renew if they did not bring it up to standards. The hotel has been for sale for a few years, in fact, 1 deal was almost signed and it fell through. The property will not do well as an independant being that large and that location. When they added the water park it drove almost all of the corporate business out, which was a large percentage of their business. Businesses do not want to utilize a property that is filled with children. Think about it, you have 5 business days and 2 leisure days...you do the math. They will sell it at their first opportunity.
    • No Problems
      Have been twice, probably 4 and 5 years ago for our sons birthday parties. Didn't have any problems either time. Nice water park, and the kids loved it.
    • Hotel should drop off the earth
      I took my kids there a couple of years ago for our very first vacation. What a waste of money. The staff lied and was rude. The water was freezing. The rooms were cold. And they didn't seem to care. I would NOT recommend this place to anyone.

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