At the Holiday Inn & Suites–Maple Grove, Minn., guests can get lost in the magic of Venice, Italy, without leaving the United States. Located in the newly developed Arbor Lakes shopping and entertainment district, this stylish hotel is fast becoming a Twin Cities vacation destination. Besides the hotel’s new 25,00-square-foot Venetian-themed indoor waterpark, nearby shops, restaurants and attractions make this venue an ideal spot for leisure or business travel.

In creating the waterpark (open to hotel guests only), operators wanted a space where people could immerse themselves in Old World charm. The Venetian theme was integrated throughout the park, including the

authentic building facades, bridges and gondolas. In creating the Italian

ambiance, perhaps the most important element was the lighting. Classic

post lanterns were installed throughout the waterpark, and special blue LED lights line the edges of each pool. To create the illusion of a starry-night

sky, approximately 1,200 fiberoptic lights were installed in the ceiling.

At first glance, the facility may be almost as breathtaking as the real Venice, yet it has all the features expected in a state-of-the-art waterpark. The largest feature is the activity pool, where guests of all ages can compete in basketball or challenge themselves on the water walk. The pool also doubles as a plunge pool for the two four-story body slides, which weave indoors and outdoors. A separate toddler wading pool has slides and

interactive water fun for the little ones. The large, 23-person spa completes the layout — and is an ideal spot to unwind after squeezing all the fun out

of the rides and slides.

The waterpark was designed to satisfy different types of guests. To that end, the upscale Venetian setting can double as a relaxing site for business meetings or private parties. Deck space is specifically allotted for other uses, such as corporate gatherings or private functions.

In developing the Holiday Inn & Suites–Maple Grove waterpark, one of the biggest challenges for the Ramaker design team was installing ductwork and related service elements so it wouldn’t detract from the Venetian feel.

To help maintain the illusion, the HVAC system is completely hidden above the false sky, and all air returns and ductwork in the lower level of the waterpark, such as the low air return positioned between the ends of the body water slides, are cleverly disguised with paint and theming.

With its extensive and thorough theming, the project pushes the envelope

of a Holiday Inn waterpark and sets a high standard for other franchise hotels to follow.