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Illinois Beach Hotel Apologizes To Couple For Confusion Over Refund, After Pending Closure Leaves Them Without Wedding Venue

CHICAGO (CBS) -- After the looming closure of the Illinois Beach Hotel left a couple without their dream wedding venue, the couple says the hotel has apologized for the confusion over their refund.

Nine years Patricia Gonzalez and Brian Dowling have been together.

"Basically, just got down on one knee, and just asked if she wanted to be my wife, and she accepted," Brian said with a chuckle, recalling when he asked Patricia to marry him.

Parents of two young children, they found what they thought would be an ideal location for their wedding at the Illinois Beach Hotel in north suburban Zion.

"It's beautiful," Patricia said.

"Kind of like you're on vacation when you're not. Gives you that vibe, you know?" Brian said.

Nestled in Illinois Beach State Park, it is the only hotel in Illinois located directly on Lake Michigan.

"It was actually going to be the June, the second week of June in 2020, but it got postponed due to the pandemic, with COVID. And then we re-scheduled till June 17, 2021," Patricia said.

First, a pandemic postponement, then more disappointing news. Patricia and Brian learned in April the hotel would close in June, meaning their wedding could not be held there.

They had a refund coming for the $6,700 they had paid. They showed CBS 2 bank statements and a receipt from the hotel.

But they waited weeks to hear about their refund. What's more, Patricia, a nurse, and Brian, a truck driver, said no one will even return their emails or phone calls.

"I'm just really upset," Patricia said. "Like, I had to pick up extra shifts at the hospital. You know, he had to pick extra shifts for his truck driving job. And it's just, like, we worked so hard for that money, and they can't even return my phone calls."

Enormous frustration as Brian battles cancer.

"Dealing with the cancellations, and rescheduling, and everything else, and going in for multiple surgeries – it kind of just took a toll on me," Brian said.

Adding to the stress: no response from a hotel in an Illinois state park.

"We want to get married, regardless. We're still going to do it. We just want our money back," Patricia said.

Tuesday morning, after CBS 2 aired the couple's story, Patricia finally heard back from the hotel,

She said she got an email from the hotel, explaining they would be refunding the $6,700 on June 1, and would send a check by mail.

"They apologized for the confusion since I never canceled. Thank you so much for all your help," Patricia said in a text message to CBS 2's Jim Williams.

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