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BLOOMINGTON - The Wingate Inn on Bloomington's west side officially will become a Holiday Inn Express next week.

The hotel recently underwent a massive remodel project and will celebrate its grand opening under the new brand Monday, said General Manager Erin Schuette.

Bloomington Hospitality Group LLC bought the 81-room hotel at 1031 Wylie Drive about three months ago. The new management company made the name switch so the hotel could be part of the InterContinental Hotels group that offers a priority club program where travelers earn points for their stays, Schuette said.

Holiday Inn already has one Express location in Normal and another Holiday Inn & Suites under construction in east Bloomington, but Schuette said there's a need for the chain on the west side of town since people want to stay as close to their destinations as possible.

The west side hotel's location, near interstates 55 and 74, also is to its advantage, she said.

"It's really convenient for anyone who's coming off of either of those highways to stay," Schuette said.

Along with its new name, the hotel also has a new look - because of a remodel that cost nearly $1 million, said Fred Rotermund, director of operations.

"Basically, it's a fresh start for the hotel," Schuette said.

For starters, it has new carpet, paint, furniture and bedding; there is also a fireplace in the lobby. The changes give the hotel a more welcoming, warm feeling, said William Brady, guest services representative.

"It's improved the hotel because it gives the hotel a whole new look," Brady said.

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