Days Inn gets face lift to change image

By Chris Nelson

Drive down West Lincoln Highway and you will likely notice something new.

The familiar Days Inn motel, home of the Paradise Club, has recently undergone many changes in an effort to better compete in the DeKalb area market.

The most notable of these changes is the sign, which now bears the new name of the motel, University Inn.

Northern Illinois Motels, which owned the property when it was still the Days Inn, dropped the franchise moniker as the group gears up to make the motel more family-oriented.

According to Mark Guarino, general manager of the University Inn, the name change was just one of the aspects of the motel’s refit.

“We’re presently changing everything. Bedspreads, mattresses, lamps, shower curtains, carpeting,” Guarino said.

“We’re also doing work on the exterior paint scheme as well as the landscaping,” he added.

Guarino noted the hotel is improving its banquet facilities and services. He said the hotel is using an outside caterer to help the motel offer a variety of menus to patrons. The motel continues to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner to guests as well.

For those who are afraid the family-oriented plans of the motel will mean the end of Paradise Club, Guarino says not to worry.

“Paradise Club will remain open,” Guarino said. “In a college town, you’ve got to appeal to the largest market. We welcome college students.”

In fact, the club has seen changes in its color scheme. With the new carpet and paint, the club goes from being predominantly green to more of a blue color. Guarino also said no change in theme is planned.

The name change has created a little bit of confusion for customers looking for the old Days Inn.

“We’ll have people call, and they’ll apologetically say that they’re trying to reach the Days Inn,” University Inn desk clerk Jim Gurney said. “We explain to them that they have in fact called the right place.”

Guarino said he expected some rough spots in the transition period. The motel has taken measures to help ease problems associated with the change, such as leaving the Days Inn heading in the Yellow Pages to help refer visitors to University Inn.

“There is a transition period, but we expect to get through that very quickly,” Guarino said.