We are working on a book, entitled Holiday Inn Sarajevo, about the “life” of this important hotel. It will include reproductions of archival materials, interviews with staff, essays by hotel guests, photographs, and other documentation of the life and times of the Holiday Inn.
It was the first US franchised hotel in Eastern Europe. It came to be seen as a symbol for Sarajevo during the '84 Winter Olympics, and later during the war, when it hosted war reporters covering the siege of the city. It is the last hotel of its size that remains authentic in terms of architecture and design from the Yugoslavian period. Much of the hotel's controversial design remains unchanged, a witness to its time — its yellow façade was rebuilt after the war, the grand circus tent-themed lobby is still decorated as it was when it opened. The Bosnian architect, Ivan Straus, was influenced by modernism, socialist design principles, and the structures of Baš?aršija, Sarajevo's old town.
We hope to create a record of the life of this building before it is too late. The Holiday Inn lost its franchise within the last two years. The building is in foreclosure, and over half of the staff were laid off recently.