"High-speed access and old world charm," says Harry Wouters, general manager of the Tinley Park Holiday Inn and Convention Center being built in Chicago Southland, just minutes from Midway Airport. "That's our promise and our motto." And he means it. Category 5 and Category 6 data and voice telecommunications cabling are being snaked throughout the 202-room hotel and 36,000-square-foot attached convention center.

Compared to convention facilities with CAT 3 cabling standards of 10 to 16 megabits per second (which support standard 10BaseT Ethernet), CAT 5 wiring can run a hundred million bits per second (supporting 100BaseT Ethernet); CAT 6--when it becomes available--will handle a billion bits. Gigabit Ethernet is enough for live streaming video at near-broadcast quality.

The center, which is anticipated to open in October (and the hotel in November), will host groups from 10 to 5,000. Meeting spaces include the nearly 18,000-square-foot exhibition hall, a 16, 560-square-foot ballroom divisible into six meeting spaces, pre-function space, and four additional conference rooms.

That space and more will be needed in June 2003 when Tinley Park will be the headquarters hotel for the U.S. Open golf championship, which will be played at nearby Olympia Fields Country Club. "The six-story hotel will be reserved for players and USGA officials," says Margaret Cullina, group sales and marketing director. The likes of Tiger Woods, David Duval, and Ernie Els should be comfortable in the deluxe guest rooms and oversized Jacuzzi suites that feature two speaker phones, modem, voice mail, Internet access, and personal safes. Meeting attendees and golfers alike can take advantage of the hotel's indoor recreation facility, which will have a pool, saunas, whirlpool, fitness center, and game room.