"A fever-dream of a hotel"
January 21, 2021 5:29 AM   Subscribe

"In a spark of genius, Holiday Inn saw an opportunity to retrofit existing properties and introduce new ones that would have year-round indoor pools. These pools formed the cornerstone of large indoor atria, which would also feature things like table games (like ping pong, pool, and foosball), restaurants and bars, mini-golf, shuffleboard, and arcade games."

According to Ross Walton of the University of Southern Mississippi in this CNN video, "The Holidome ... project began in the mid-seventies as a way to renovate these older Holiday Inns in order to make them more competitive."

Some locations have been torn down and others haven't aged well, but IHG has returned to the idea of water-park hotels (Second link is a Wall Street Journal article on the same announcement - behind a paywall but does have a preview).
posted by brilliantine (64 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
This post (and title) brought to you by a TikTok of someone staying in a Holidome and being amazed and the fact that I had never heard of these but my husband says he stayed in a few growing up.
posted by brilliantine at 5:30 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


ban Keith Moon = we can have nice things again
posted by thelonius at 5:35 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


The Holidome on the north side of Indianapolis was recently torn down. It had a water park inside. Never went there, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:36 AM on January 21


My hometown Holidome Holiday Inn has been converted to a Uhaul storage facility. The atrium apparently makes a good loading dock.

I was obsessed with Holidomes when I was a kid. Pre-internet, I would go to the aforementioned HI and get the Worldwide Directory, then plan our family vacation road trip routes based on the locations of notable Holidomes. Somehow my parents were okay with this.

Particularly memorable was the one in Asheville, NC (which is apparently still standing), that had a combined indoor/outdoor pool.
posted by Buy Sockpuppet Bonds! at 6:01 AM on January 21 [17 favorites]


As a kid, the Holidome appeared regularly. We had some family friends from a neighboring state, and there was a Holidome roughly equidistant between us. So once a year, in February, we'd meet up for a weekend with adjoining hotel rooms.

I will never lose that sensation of opening the patio door to the Holidome and that rush of chlorine odor just blasting in.
posted by rocketman at 6:01 AM on January 21 [27 favorites]


While growing up my family drove from Akron to Hilton Head every summer. There was a Holidome somewhere along the way, but never at a place in the trip where my dad was willing to stop for the night.
posted by slogger at 6:07 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


The Holidome was the bomb when I was a kid. The one we went to is long gone, but this summer we spent the night in a small town in Arkansas in a hotel that had an indoor pool in the center, surrounded by rooms, just like the Holidome. They had put up a big screen and were playing Frozen on it so you could swim AND watch a movie. The steamy, chlorine scented air, the splashing and screaming, the wet, shivering kids in the elevators all brought back some pretty vivid 70's memories.
posted by domino at 6:20 AM on January 21 [22 favorites]


My mom was a desk manager at a Holiday Inn with a Holidome when I was a kid. My god I loved that place so much. Haven't thought about it in years.
posted by cilantro at 6:22 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


So that's where Great Wolf got the idea.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:22 AM on January 21 [9 favorites]


The best place to have family reunions; the kids can play in the water and the adults can sit around and enjoy their beverages of choice. I think that I'd taken them for granted so much that I'm still amazed at how tiny most hotels' indoor pools seem now, like, why did you even bother--people could just take a warm bath and get the same experience in their rooms.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:25 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


The steamy, chlorine scented air

I have those same memories. (If you know how why that odor exists, you'll want to quickly forget why.)

From my memories, Holidomes were hot, chlorine-y, way too humid for street clothing, and LOUD. Nobody mentions that part, but look at those bare metal ceilings!

It seemed pretty special to have an inward-facing room where you could run from the room to the pool in bare feet, but so were dozens of other kids and they all went late into the night. Later than your bedtime. Plus, the bar stayed open later than the pool. Inward facing rooms were not that much fun.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:26 AM on January 21 [6 favorites]


On our annual trip to Cedar Point back in the late '80s, my grandparents, my little brother and I always stayed at a Holidome near the park. There was a pirate ship! To my preadolescent sensibilities, it was utterly magical. (Oh my God, here's a 20+ minute home video tour of the property from 1990, featuring so much table tennis!)
posted by merriment at 6:27 AM on January 21 [9 favorites]


Oh man, staying at a Holidome on a family vacation was always a special treat. I loved the ones with mini golf!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:31 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


I think the reason capitalism was so effective in its early years is that it was all sole proprietors / small businesses trying really hard to master one thing to sell to people in their own neighborhood. Corporate monarchies are constantly wasting money trying to sell the same committee-designed lifestyle concept to 330 million different people.
posted by nicoffeine at 6:47 AM on January 21 [6 favorites]


in a hotel that had an indoor pool in the center, surrounded by rooms, just like the Holidome.

Dollars to donuts that hotel was built as a Holiday Inn but changed affiliations, or went independent, down the road. The construction costs for those atria were apparently staggering.
posted by Buy Sockpuppet Bonds! at 6:47 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


So, it wasn't a Holidome, but there was a hotel in the city nearest to where I grew up that had a very similar sort of feature -- the central courtyard had a pool and a hot tub and a restaurant / bar and lots of lush greenery and while we had occasionally eaten at the Tiki themed restaurant (because nothing says Tiki like Sunday night roast beef dinner!) I longed with all the longing that would fit in my tiny, tiny heart to swim in the pool, because it all just seemed so impossibly exotic to me. A pool, indoors, but it felt like outdoors! How amazing was that?!

One year, for my birthday, I was allowed to trade having a birthday party for inviting two friends to we stay there for the weekend and it was every bit as great as I imagined it! We even got our own (adjoining) room instead of having to share with my parents. So grownup! The pool, you could just go to it, from your hotel room, and then go back again. And you could order pizza and they would deliver it right to your door! To us kids from out in the country, that was some kind of magic.

PLUS I still got a surprise birthday party at Burger King, which was right across the street! I think I can still feel some faint traces of how excited 7 year old me was about the whole thing.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:48 AM on January 21 [25 favorites]


There was a missed opportunity for cross-brand promotion between the Holidomes and Mad Max's Thunderdome. ("Two families enter...")
posted by Dip Flash at 6:52 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


Yes! I remember going to one when I was a kid, young enough that I didn't remember that's what it was called (and I guess maybe it could have been a knockoff), but I do remember my parents were very excited to have something close enough for a weekend trip and relatively affordable.

If it was a Holidome, I found some Flickr pictures of one in Kenner, LA, which looks like a good bet, we had family in New Orleans and Metairie. We only ended up going the once, though, I think my parents agreed with JoeZydeco that the noise at night made it pretty hard to enjoy.
posted by solotoro at 6:53 AM on January 21


Wow, the Holidome. My hometown had a Holidome and we'd book it for functions/parties. The kids can swim, the parents can get wasted, and nobody has to drive drunk!

I loved the indoor/outdoor pool. I'm inside a building! Now I'm outside a building! Amazing! And there's mini golf inside!

Two years ago we traveled home for Christmas to visit my grandmother, and on a lark we booked the Holidome because, like trying to get them to watch so many movies from the '80's, I constantly hyped it up and begged my family to humor me. Guys, it's amazing! There's an indoor/outdoor pool you can see from your door! You're going to love it! Also, it was dirt cheap. Like, suspiciously cheap. I thought maybe they were just charging us by the hour.

The parking lot was empty when we got there. I didn't remember it ever smelling like chlorine, but as soon as we entered the lobby we were blasted in the nostrils by chlorine. It didn't look like any upkeep had been done since the early '90s. You know what they say about never meeting your heroes?

I swam with my kid. The pool was overly chlorinated and seared our eyeballs. You could smell the chlorine even in our bathroom. The room was freezing until maintenance came to switch on the heater to our room. The staff we ran into was genuinely surprised to find a family there (there was just one other person staying in the hotel, but it was Christmas night, so maybe that's why?). It was bizarre.

My wife went to walk on the gym's treadmill and said the digital display was completely obscured by salt buildup from sweat. Like, just years of it being sweat upon without ever being wiped down.

We checked out the next day and I felt so.......let down. The entire way home I had to remind my family that in it's heyday, the Holidome was amazing. They still haven't watched Beastmaster with me.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:58 AM on January 21 [34 favorites]


I have stayed in an old one of these on the south end of the Twin cities and I can imagine how amazing they would to a kid in back in the heyday. The smell hot chlorine from the spa. A bunch of empty space where the games used to be, now set up for bdays and such. So loud. This one was two stories with rooms forming a u around the open three or four story space. I can't believe no one has mentioned that it doesn't really stop - at all hours of the night you got folks, teenagers, out in the atrium being 'quiet'. The rooms were actually nicer than I expected. Fun but not restful.

Is this where I can rant about how there's been a substantial and widespread drop in quality of the mid level chain hotel pools in our region? We make an annual trip through Minnesota and stay out on the western fringe of the Twin cities. When I started visiting it was still farm land, and so of course it was pretty nice when it was a brand new development but we found a hotel with a pool that was a decent and fun place before visiting Trumpland family. But the last two years (pre covid) were just bad. Disappointing. We have stayed at exactly the same hotel for over a decade now, and suddenly finding the pool atrium empty and smelled bad. Old hot tub bad.

Turns out it had been sold a few years ago and is now part of a regional consortium of hotels. And then we had the same thing happen visiting St. Louis. And another hotel, different chain, in the Twin Cities. But despite the different brand, this one is also part of the same ownership group as the other twin city hotel. So now we stay at a resort out in Wisconsin for essentially the same amount of cash.

Because, god damn it, if I'm doing a road trip across this country I am going to let the kids jump around a damn pool that isn't gross. Bad pool is an automatic downgrade to bottom tier. And if that means I end up haveing to sort out who owns the godforsaken thing, carefully review the last year of reviews.........which are now almost useless - all to avoid sitting in a hotel room with a some sad small people, that is what I am going to do.
posted by zenon at 7:30 AM on January 21 [5 favorites]



Dollars to donuts that hotel was built as a Holiday Inn but changed affiliations, or went independent, down the road. The construction costs for those atria were apparently staggering.


Embassy Suites had the atrium with the pool in the middle too. That's where we always stayed on special school trips and it was the bomb! I was generally too goody goody, but they also had a small dance club inside and many classmates would sneak in until they got busted by one of the chaperones.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:31 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I wonder if they were integrated, in the early days.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:54 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


These were way after the era of segregation.

From my memories, Holidomes were hot, chlorine-y, way too humid for street clothing, and LOUD.

Same here. Stayed at two different ones two nights in a row, driving across the country in '87, when the company was paying. Never again, if there was any alternative.
posted by Rash at 8:20 AM on January 21


I was both fascinated by and slightly scared of indoor outdoor pools. Other kids talked about swimming in them, and I always pictured two pools connected by an underwater tunnel. This seemed cool, but I always worried about what might happen if I ran out of air.

And then years later I noticed an indoor outdoor pool in front of a kitschy motel on the Cape where inside and outside were only separated by garage door that comes down to the surface of the water, which kind of took the wind out of my childhood fantasies.

Speaking of which, there are a lot of good indoor pools along Route 28 in Yarmouth, but sadly none of them are surrounded by an atrium. It was definitely a thing when I was a kid to stay in one of those hotels for a couple nights during February school vacation week. My favorite was the Gull Wing because it also had a decent game room and nobody seemed to ever enforce the minimum age restriction on the hot tub and the adjacent spas.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:20 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


From my memories, Holidomes were hot, chlorine-y, way too humid for street clothing, and LOUD.

A year of covid has honed all of my congenital anxieties to a fine edge and I looked at that photo of an indoor swimming pool surrounded by dining tables and just shivered.
posted by a Rrose by any other name at 8:26 AM on January 21 [5 favorites]


There was a Ramada Inn on the far western side of my hometown (just off I-40) that was built on this model (I believe it is now a Holiday Inn) . It had the giant atrium with tile and faux wood beams and an indoor/outdoor swim through pool that was, when I was a child, one of the coolest things I could possibly imagine.

Later, I would attend a boarding school (as a day student) about a half mile up the road. Students regularly (if illicitly) took out rooms for parties and romantic rendezvous and it soon had such a reputation for being a place where seventeen year olds acted out their most Animal House-inspired fantasies. My 10th grade year, there was a series of hotel room parties on our version of a Homecoming weekend that evidently got wildly out of control (people trashed the rooms and the lobby, evidently, I wasn't there). The Ramada banned students from my high school. The high school, under pressure from parents and community, also "closed" homecoming and prom weekend, which is boarding school shorthand for "you are not allowed to spend the night off campus on these nights unless you are in the hospital or a day student," thereby ensuring that students (a dangerous combination of entitled rich borderline criminals and wildly ambitious, overachieving financial aid kids) would have to devise ever more elaborate ways to do the dumb shit teenagers and not get busted.

Anyway, apologies for digression. It's been nearly thirty years and I'm still pretty sure no power on Earth could convince me to get in that pool. But do kind of love the old atrium waterfall stone and wood 70s magic hotels of yore and I kind of miss the days when I thought they were the height of sophistication.
posted by thivaia at 8:28 AM on January 21 [7 favorites]


Particularly memorable was the one in Asheville, NC (which is apparently still standing), that had a combined indoor/outdoor pool.

Yep, that's the one.
posted by thivaia at 8:32 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


That was my first. The second one was in Arkansas. Eltonian soundtrack for this posting.
posted by Rash at 8:33 AM on January 21


Andes Mints on the bed. Free HBO. Translucent Neutrogena soap. A "sanitized for your protection" headband on the toilet. Elevators with the kind of buttons that you would just slightly touch, activating a glowing orange outer ring. A game room with two pinball machines, a pool table and, later, an Asteroids. A coffee shop... which wasn't really a place to get coffee, but a little diner that happened to have a Bunn coffee maker with a stale pot of regular and a stale pot of Sanka on the burners. Orchestral Beatles covers playing lightly in the hallways. Pay phones. Ashtrays.
posted by eschatfische at 8:40 AM on January 21 [42 favorites]


This is probably for a different thread, but I remember very clearly a section of my life when I thought there was nothing quite so magical as a hotel gift shop.
posted by thivaia at 8:44 AM on January 21 [11 favorites]


Yep, that's the one.

Oh, that place was something. It was a Holiday Inn by '88, then.

When I wasn't crossing the magical barrier between pools, I was pumping quarters into the Out Run arcade game in the game area.
posted by Buy Sockpuppet Bonds! at 8:55 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


well even if they were steamy and chloriney it looks amazing and the particular hotel features in the article seems way too nice to tear down but sic transit gloria mundi I guess.
posted by GuyZero at 9:37 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


I don't think my family was middle-class enough to ever stay at a Holidome - we were strictly cut-price vacation rentals and efficiency motels. But as an adult I have stayed at a Great Wolf Lodge with my family and, uh, it's certainly a thing that exists.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:37 AM on January 21


My wife and I went on our first trip together to Navarre Beach, Florida. At the time, the only thing on the beach was a Holidome and a little local restaurant. It was crumbling, smelled of chlorine, but charming to us, because we were in love. The Holidome was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, and never rebuilt. Now, the beach is completely built up with condos and resorts.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:42 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


Wow metafilter, just had not a glimmer that this even existed.
posted by sammyo at 10:11 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


There is a hotel in town here originally built with indoor/outdoor pool atrium with 3/4 wrap around 3 story room wings )the four wall of the atrium being glass). Built originally in the 90s I can't remember the chain name at opening though by 2000 it was a Best Western (now a Coast). Sounds like the obviously inspiration Holiday Domes were being phased out already at that point. The hotel still has a just indoor pool and the atrium has lost the glass roof/skylights but the actual building layout is still original with the pool at the centre.
posted by Mitheral at 10:24 AM on January 21


OMG, my family spent the night in the Perrysburg Holidome many times when I was a kid! Probably at least one stop every year for several years running. It was a good halfway point between our home in Chicagoland and my grandparents in eastern Ohio.

We only got a poolside room a couple of times, but let me tell you, it was like being at a resort for a kid. The vague European village styling, the indoor greenery and dark brick, the pool and semi-secluded hot tub (which was off-limits to kids under 12 unless accompanied by an adult, and adults only after 8pm) all screamed sophistication me as a child. And the indoor-outdoor pool! Ducking under the wall and popping up on the outside portion in the middle of winter — we usually were there around Christmas — with steam rising off the warm water was truly magical.
posted by me3dia at 10:36 AM on January 21 [7 favorites]


I remember being so upset at my parents when we went somewhere and stayed at a similar class of hotel that didn't have an indoor pool, when there was a Holidome two hotels over. But on another trip we did stay at a Holiday Inn and the Holidome was so underwhelming (and overpoweringly chlorine scented) that I never cared after that.
posted by fedward at 10:36 AM on January 21


When I was a kid, we dressed up in our fancy clothes and went with our whole extended family to the local Holidome every year for Easter brunch. It was a splurge for us and a BIG DEAL: carved turkey and roast beef, omelette station, Shirley Temples from the bar, and a visit/picture with an Easter Bunny in a tired old furry suit. The parking lot and reservations book were full and it was a classy affair.

Thinking back now, the overwhelming memory is the smell of chlorine and the out of place-ness of a nice holiday meal in a hotel recreation area. They set tables up right to the edge of the pool, but didn't actually close the pool for the morning. So kids in bathing suits would be splashing a few feet away as I plowed through a third plate of mashed potatoes.

(Looking the place up just now, I see that they tore it down and replaced it with...a Holiday Inn Express. Nothing lasts.)
posted by AgentRocket at 10:37 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


I stayed in a rebranded one in Lansing maybe ten years ago? Everything in the atrium was shut down other than the pool and hot tub, and those were VERY popular. Dead of winter, not having to go outside or leave the property for *something* to do while in Lansing for a night. It worked well. No chlorine smell, but there were some wet carpets.

I looked for it my last time through town, and it was shuttered. Alas. Nothing to do at the Super 8 except watch American cable.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:54 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


As someone who grew up and still lives in Southern California, it honestly didn't even occur to me that these as a larger concept existed. Seanmpuckett mentioned Great Wolf Lodge, which is a recent version of this idea built here in Orange County, and it's so bizarre that I'm not sure why they bothered. It's been 75 degrees or warmer for much of this (and every) January. We don't really require indoor pools.

That said, I did spent a summer in the mid 90's in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and we stopped at one of these during a road trip between there and Branson, Missouri. I just remember the chlorine fumes burning the shit out of my eyes and lungs.
posted by sideshow at 10:54 AM on January 21


"Everybody wants to smell the pool", as an organizing concept for a hotel, seems expressly designed to a) fail, but b) generate some powerful memories for lots of people.
posted by gurple at 10:55 AM on January 21 [10 favorites]


A couple of years ago my family went up to a small town in Ontario for a long weekend. It rained the whole weekend but my kids had a blast because the hotel had a large indoor pool. It wasn't a Holidome but the rooms were arranged in two buildings with an enclosed area in-between where there was the large pool and an eating area. It didn't look anywhere near as nice as the one in the FPP either.

When I was living in Winnipeg there was an apartment complex called Summerland by the U of M main campus that did something similar. Two buildings with the entire area between them enclosed in glass. I'd think it would be extremely nice over the winters there.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:46 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


Pre-internet, I would go to the aforementioned HI and get the Worldwide Directory, then plan our family vacation road trip routes based on the locations of notable Holidomes. Somehow my parents were okay with this.

Ooooh, so much love for the printed hotel guides. My parents did this too - we'd plan a road trip and I could pick the hotels along the way. Our range of options was usually Hampton Inn, Comfort/Quality, Best Western, Days Inn. Even at age 9 I knew to aim for newer properties where things wouldn't be so beat up.
posted by sockshaveholes at 12:08 PM on January 21 [6 favorites]


soundtrack for this posting
There was no money for these as a kid, so my own later in life experiences with the chain make for a different set of memories, with different tunes
Let's
go
to a Holiday Inn
a Holiday Inn
and I'll show you some thing

posted by bartleby at 12:33 PM on January 21


Put away your hesitation
Take the kids there on vacation
Everybody wants to smell the pool

(apologies to Tears for Fears)
posted by wanderingmind at 12:34 PM on January 21 [11 favorites]


In the Midwest, snowy winters ensured that older, "nicer" hotels would have indoor pool and an attached coffee shop/bar.

I haven't been in the Midwest in a long time, but a little over a decade ago I went back for a friend's wedding and the hotel we were staying in had similar amenities. The combination of pool water chlorine and stale cigarette smoke from the bar triggered a whole raft of sense memories of family vacations that had laid dormant for almost 20 years.
posted by Badgermann at 1:24 PM on January 21 [6 favorites]


There was one of these in my hometown, which I can hardly believe now. It was relatively small, compared to these, but I thought it was amazing, because I was about nine. I went there to visit a friend a couple of times because her family was living there. At the time, I did not understand that this meant her family was in trouble. I just liked playing in the pool with her.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:39 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I think I went to one in 1979. If so, it was definitely magical.

My family was moving cross-country, from New York to Michigan. It was January or February and the snow was coming down hard. We were making headway across Pennsylvania when ice started forming up on the highway. It got worse as darkness fell. All four of us were crammed in a tiny car towing a trailer and I knew my father (driving) was nervous as hell. Seeing huge trucks pulled over on the side of the road didn't help, nor did spotting accident after accident as cars or trucks skidded and jackknifed. It was terrifying. That I didn't want to leave where I grew up just made it worse for me.

I think we were low on funds (I was 12, it was hard to tell) and my parents argued loudly (remember it was a small car) about pulling over to wait, finding a hotel, or just continuing, damning the danger. We went past hotels and motels that showed NO VACANCY signs, but then spotted one near Breezewood. My father pulled in and it had just a handful of rooms left.

Exhausted, cold, stressed, we stumbled up to the room. I plunked down on one of the beds. My brother and mother went to the room's window, which I thought would look out onto a snow-and-ice-covered parking lot. But instead warm light shone in. Mouth agape, I joined them as the sill and saw... plants? A pool with ponds? So many cheerful colors - I thought I'd passed out and was dreaming of a Ray Bradbury story.

I'm not sure if it was a Holidome, but it feels right.
posted by doctornemo at 1:48 PM on January 21 [9 favorites]


So. Humid.
posted by Caxton1476 at 1:53 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


The state's school counselor association held its annual conference in the Des Moines Holidome. As a community college admission rep, I had to work a banquet table there. It was so bizzare. The pool was just behind me, regular guests (e.g. families with kids) were wandering through in just their swimwear. There was this overwhelming sense that 1) this venue was past its sell-by date, and 2) black mold was festering somewhere near.
posted by Caxton1476 at 2:06 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Did they build these without pools? I have a childhood memory of staying at a hotel with a glassed-in atrium full of plants, with cobblestone walking paths and iron-railing’d terraces running through the interior, and faux-European village styling around the perimeter. But no pool. This would be, I guess, early-to-mid 90s? Some family wedding or bar mitzvah or something.
posted by nonasuch at 2:22 PM on January 21


Did they build these without pools? I have a childhood memory of staying at a hotel with a glassed-in atrium full of plants, with cobblestone walking paths and iron-railing’d terraces running through the interior, and faux-European village styling around the perimeter. But no pool. This would be, I guess, early-to-mid 90s?

Not faux-European, but the Opryland hotel is like that on steroids.
There's walking paths, gazebos, lots of wrought iron, even a boat ride.
posted by madajb at 2:59 PM on January 21 [3 favorites]


Is this where I can rant about how there's been a substantial and widespread drop in quality of the mid level chain hotel pools in our region? We make an annual trip through Minnesota and stay out on the western fringe of the Twin cities.

Not in Minnesota, but our area has the same missing middle.
Your choices are super-trendy boutique hotels, where sure, you can have a locally sourced, small-batch wine basket delivered to your room but there is no ice machine and the room costs $250/night or a run-down tourist hotel that has a pool but it's quite possible the mold on the swim area tiles has been there long enough to become sentient and get a job as the night clerk.

It's sad, but it is actually better to accompany my spouse on a worktrip to a soulless office park because at least then there will be a nearby Best Western with working refrigerator.
posted by madajb at 3:11 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


The Holidome on the north side of Indianapolis was recently torn down. It had a water park inside. Never went there, though.

I stayed in that very Holidome as a kid, with my family and my aunts' families, for reasons I cannot remember. For a (roughly, I think) ten year old it was amazing- a pool that I'm sure was nowhere nearly as big as I remember it, a hot tub, various amenities, and- best of all at that age- an actual Vs. Super Mario Bros arcade machine! I'd never seen anything like it and it felt impossibly fun and luxurious. I think I remember a small putting green setup, but that might just be the fog of years conflating it with something else.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:14 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Not faux-European, but the Opryland hotel is like that on steroids.
There's walking paths, gazebos, lots of wrought iron, even a boat ride.


Yeah, I had never heard of the Holidome before today, but it made me think of the Gaylord near us here in Maryland. I liked to stay there for nerd cons when I could snag an atrium balcony room, because I get easily peopled-out and it was so fun to sit on the balcony watching cosplayers and the fountain light show from a safe, comfy distance. They're overpriced but I would totally stay at another Gaylord given the opportunity. A giant atrium, even without a pool, is pretty rad.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 3:27 PM on January 21


I've stayed in one of these in Casper, WY, that is now a Ramada Plaza. Wild.

Kids loved the indoor pool on vacation.
posted by nickggully at 4:04 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Did they build these without pools? I have a childhood memory of staying at a hotel with a glassed-in atrium full of plants, with cobblestone walking paths and iron-railing’d terraces running through the interior, and faux-European village styling around the perimeter. But no pool.

I remember being on a choir tour and staying at a Holiday Inn type place in … Kansas City? It definitely had all the trappings of a Holidome, just without the pool. I'm not sure if they ever built them without pools or just removed the pool and remodeled the atrium in its absence. With any hotel like that, though, it might be built to one brand standard and then sold to a new owner who associates with a different brand. So it could have been a new owner that decided the pool was too much trouble.

The crazy lobby atrium used to be a Hyatt Regency trademark, though, with the glass elevator in Dallas shooting up through the atrium's glass roof to the top of the hotel tower, or the one in San Francisco with all the cantilevered terraces. And Vegas is full of ridiculous interior spaces like the canals at the Venetian or the observatory at Bellagio.
posted by fedward at 4:05 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


What an amazing apartment complex that would be, or low income housing, or homeless housing. Anyway.
posted by Oyéah at 4:46 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


These, and their clones, were the place to go for locals during the winter in (I'm sure lots of places but my anecdote is) South Dakota. The tourist season was over and it just took some connections.
posted by achrise at 4:47 PM on January 21


For those of you who take the long way home, like up the 93 from Las Vegas to SLC, or vise versa, The Copper Queen casino has a large indoor pool, and is a great place to stop over with kids, after Lehman Caves.
posted by Oyéah at 4:48 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Great timing. I just tried to find the Holidome I stayed at in Detroit on Google Maps a couple days ago. I saw the TikTok in question and thought “duh, Holidome”. But I don’t remember anything about mine, because it was 25 years ago and I had a 104 degree fever.

Some quick googling informed me that my Holidome was torn down and is now a parking lot.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:35 PM on January 21


Metafilter: hot, chlorine-y, way too humid for street clothing, and LOUD.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:21 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


The Copper Queen Casino I mentioned, is in Ely Nevada. Take the 93 either way from or to Las Vegas, from Ely. It is 66 miles shorter than the route through Great Basin.
posted by Oyéah at 8:51 PM on January 21


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