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Posted on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

$4 million renovation planned for Ann Arbor's northside Holiday Inn

By Angela Smith


Amerail Systems' renderings of the Holiday Inn's new exterior.


The Holiday Inn Near the University of Michigan has kicked off a major renovation project that is budgeted to cost $4 million.

The renovation plan calls for updates to the hotel’s lobby, ballrooms and restaurant first. In March, the public areas will be completely updated and construction on the hotel’s exterior and 225 guest rooms will begin. The hotel, at 3600 Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor, will remain open through construction, and the entire project is scheduled to wrap up by July.

“The blue roof is coming off,” says general manager, Joe Sefcovic. “This hotel will be beautified from the inside out.”

The hotel, owned by Ann Arbor Farms Hotel Corp., was bought from Tom Monahan in 1993. The franchise operators will be entering into a third 10-year lease with Holiday Inn in April 2013.

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General Manager Joe Sefcovoc stands with the design boards in Holiday Inn's hotel lobby.

Angela Smith for

The updates are beyond what was conditional to the lease renewal. Flat screen TVs, new beds and updated bathroom fixtures already were in place in the guestrooms. The current renovation project positions the hotel to better serve its clientele for the next decade, said Sefcovic.

Upon walking into the lobby, guests can view the design boards that reflect the project strategy: a warm, welcoming modern hotel. Guy Hollerin’s Bar and Grill will re-open with a larger bar and seating area. The entry to the restaurant from the hotel lobby is being reformatted to include two fireplaces, and a “e-bar” for Internet use.

“The design calls for a more social, a more warm and homey atmosphere; and it fits with the hotel’s tagline: Relax, it's Holiday Inn.”

The color scheme is anchored by a rich wood finish, accented by bold blues and greens. The current large-tiled marble floor, which Sefonic says is beautiful, but gets slippery, is being replaced by a modern wood-look porcelain tile. The warm wood-like finishes will continue through guestrooms, hallways, and into the 4,600-square-foot ballrooms.

Some of the unique features of the hotel will also be gone after renovations. The pool will maintain its swim out courtyard feature, but the deck and sand volleyball area near the hotel entry have been removed. “When people used to drive in from Plymouth Road - now we have relandscaped that area. Before you used to look at a volleyball court and deck. It got used from Memorial Day to Labor Day, then it sat vacant for the rest of the year.”

The sliding glass patio style doors are also being replaced by large 5-foot windows in most rooms. The courtyard rooms will retain the doorwall feature, but the exterior facing rooms will look cleaner and more modern with a large standard window, Sefcovic said.

The hotel calls itself the greenest and friendliest in Ann Arbor, and acquired a Green Lodging certificate from the state in 2010. Environmentally friendly practices, such as energy conservation and hotel-wide recycling, have already been incorporated, and the hotel is advancing those efforts by working to assess and reduce its carbon footprint. The renovation plan, however, does not include any additional green features.


The Holiday Inn at 3600 Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor.

Courtesy of

Sefcovic called the search for a locally based architect and design team really important. During the Ann Arbor Farms Hotel Corporation’s 20 year ownership, the company has worked with local firms on other small renovations, and that they were pleased to be able to use a local company on this project. Architect Design Group and Innerspace Design are the firms that are overseeing the remodel. Brivar Construction Company is contracted for the interior work.

Sefcovic, who is president of the Washtenaw County Hotel and Motel Association, says that other Ann Arbor hotels have also been undergoing renovations recently. A renovated Weber’s Inn, Sheraton Ann Arbor, as well as two new Briarwood Mall-area hotels by Mariott and Hilton are all competing for the traveler’s dollar.

Holiday Inn says its location on the north side of town off U.S. 23 makes it easily accessible. It is also near the developing Shoppes at Plymouth Road, a project that plans a nearly 10,000-square-foot restaurant and retail space.

“Visitors love this hotel for its comfort, Guy Hollerin’s restaurant, the friendly atmosphere and proximity to the university, but it’s time for an update,” said Sefcovic. “Since 1971, this hotel has been a northside landmark and when it’s done, guests may not recognize the hotel.”

Angela Smith is a freelance reporter.



Tue, Dec 4, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

I like this Inn! The breakfast fare is especially worthy of praise. Nice friendly employees. As asset to our hospitality industry!


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 8:55 p.m.

The food at Guy Hollerin's is not very impressive. Frankly, none of the hotels with adjoining restaurants in the Ann Arbor area are that good. I'd also suggest splitting it up into a bar and a restaurant.


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

I was happy to see the smart choice of words in the headline for the article - "...northside Holiday Inn". The hotel's actual name "...Near The University of Michigan" is ridiculous and confusing. I wonder how many people book rooms there expecting to be able to walk to campus, only to realize they can't even walk to North Campus! The renovation will be welcome. I have steered visitors away from that place for years due to its general shabbiness.