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Holiday Inn Express opens for business on I-65

You don’t have to stay in a Holiday Inn Express to realize staying in one would be luxurious. Spacious rooms, big and comfortable beds, a hot breakfast, complimentary wireless Internet access – as well as a memorable commercial – have helped make the hotel chain one of the most popular in the nation.

Travelers have been coming and going at the Holiday Inn Express in Greenville, the city’s newest multi-million dollar hotel, said General Manager Josh Smith.

The hotel has been open two weeks and will hold a special ribbon cutting and official grand opening on Thursday, March 19.

Workers were busy touching up the landscape on Tuesday and Smith said work on the hotel was “99.9 percent” complete. Guests have been steady, he said, but hotel owners wanted to open in February in order to have everything operational and sound by the time the busy travel season starts in the spring and summer.

“It’s kind of what we expected,” he said.

Smith, who also manages the Hampton Inn in Greenville, is from Georgiana. He has managed the Hampton Inn for almost two years, he said, and prior to that he managed the Jameson Inn, also in Greenville.

Currently, Smith said there are 15 people on staff at the Holiday Inn Express, which includes housekeepers and desk clerks.

“We’ll add more employees as we get closer to the travel season,” he said.

The hotel took almost a year to complete and was originally scheduled to be open in late 2008.

“We had some setbacks due to weather,” said Smith.

Besides traditional amenities, the Holiday Inn Express also has a fitness center, meeting space able to accommodate between 30 and 40 persons, a business center complete with fax machine and computer, a pool, and breakfast dining area.

Guests can also purchase snacks and drinks from the check-in desk in the hotel lobby.