The manager of the still-closed Hilton Orrington hotel says the hotel will refund the $7,500 prepayment made by a couple for their wedding celebration.

Earlier this month, Evanston Now reported on the dilemma facing 30-year-old Ryan Szymonik and 27-year old Taylor Caesario. The couple’s 150-guest wedding reception was scheduled at the Orrington on July 10.

But with the hotel closed since late last year, and nothing definite on when or if it would reopen, Ryan and Taylor said they made repeated phone calls and emails about getting their money back, but never received a reply.

“We had a great relationship with the Orrington” while planning the event, Ryan said, “but once it became clear they wouldn’t have it we were left hanging out to dry.”

Finally, earlier this week, Taylor’s mother, Caezette Smith, who also sent several emails, said she received a response from Orrington general manager Wayne Leming.

Smith said Leming apologized and felt “horrible” about the situation, promising a full refund. She also said Leming stated the hotel hopes to reopen, but there is no certain date yet.

Tracking down the Orrington’s status remains a challenge. Battered by the pandemic-related turndown in business travel and event cancellations, the hotel shut its doors. There has been no public announcement on potential reopening.

The Hilton website allows room reservations at the Orrington as of May 10. But that may or may not turn out to be true.

The operations “temporarily suspended” sign is still on the door. Nobody answers the phone. Evanston Now has sent an email to the general manager but we have not heard back.

The Orrington is not owned by the Hilton corporation, but rather by Olshan Properties in New York. Olshan has not responded to our emails and phone calls. Olshan has been sued for non-payment of the mortgage.

So if the Orrington does reopen, it’s unclear who will own or operate it.

But as for Ryan and Taylor, Taylor’s mom said the couple has found a new venue in Geneva, Illinois.

And now, instead of crying tears of worry, mom said her daughter is now crying “tears of happiness.”

Related story

Hotel closing leaves wedding reception in limbo (4/9/21)

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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