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Top New Florida Hotel Developments

May 7, 2013 By: Susan Young Travel Agent


The Presidential Suite
The Presidential Suite is the largest of the new Club Level Suites at Naples’ Inn on Fifth.


Many Florida properties have been sprucing up and adding new features. Travel Agent talked with a number of hoteliers recently about their property updates: What’s new? What’s different? Here’s just a small sample of the many hospitality developments this year around the Sunshine State.

Central Florida

In Orlando, the Nickelodeon Suites Resort is celebrating its eighth birthday with eight new experiences this year. These include: birthday surprises and a chance to stay for free on your birthday; auditioning to be a contestant in Double Dare Live in Studio Nick; new dining and photo experiences with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Foot Clan; a new Nick Jr. show in Studio, Dora’s Friendship Fiesta, featuring Dora the Explorer and friends as well as Geo and Milli from Team Umizoomi; a new character breakfast with SpongeBob SquarePants and his Bikini Bottom friends; the debut of the SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D movie, The Great Jelly Rescue; plus character celebration weekends every month and a new summer kids’ day camp.

Reach out to Robert Heilman (Robert [email protected], 407-387-5437), hotel manager, with any queries.

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, has finished its $50 million renovation that includes a new Cypress Springs Family Fun Water Park. Families can explore a tree house, party poolside with Shrek & friends—thanks to a DreamWorks Animation partnership—go on a scavenger hunt, and also enjoy a “splash-and-screen” movie.

Guests can also enjoy at the new Wrecker Sports Bar, which has a two-story, 37-foot sports screen and 50 HDTVs ranging from 32” to 60”. And a new adult-only swimming pool features a South Beach design with fully stocked private cabanas that feature TV screens, lounges and ceiling fans. Agents can direct their questions to Monica Schyck ([email protected], 407-586-0301), VP sales and marketing.

In central Florida’s interior southwest of Fort Meade, Streamsong Resort has opened two new golf courses. Architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw of Coore & Crenshaw and Tom Doak of Renaissance Golf Design collaborated to create Streamsong Red and Streamsong Blue, respectively.

A lakeside 12-guest room Clubhouse is complete; it features a golf shop and a steakhouse-themed Restaurant Fifty-Nine. A new 216-room lodge and spa will open later this year with additional restaurants, a rooftop lounge and lakeside pool. Streamsong will also offer outdoor adventures such as guided bass fishing, hiking trails, bird watching and a shooting club. Agents can get in touch with Thomas Parke ([email protected], 813-399-9470), director of sales and marketing, for more information.

Central Florida West

Pier House 60 Marina Hotel has opened in Clear-water Beach. Each of the 107 rooms and studios has a coffee maker, microwave and mini-fridge, iron/ironing board, flat-screen HDTV with cable channels and pay-per-view movies, and free Wi-Fi. Hotel amenities include a heated pool and deck overlooking the marina, a fitness center and the rooftop (10th floor) Jimmy’s Crow’s Nest bar.

Local dining, shopping and water sports are accessible via the Clearwater Beach Walk. Discount tickets for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium are available at the front desk or concierge desk. Reach out to General Manager J.R. Patel (727-683-0002) with queries.



New experiences at Nickelodeon Suites
New experiences at Nickelodeon Suites Resort include character breakfast with SpongeBob SquarePants and friends.


Tampa-based Mainsail Lodging & Development recently announced a target opening date of November 2013 for the Epicurean in the Hyde Park historic district of south Tampa. The 137-room boutique hotel, devoted to culinary experiences, will have a large classroom, high-end bistro, wine shop, rooftop lounge, spa, and a retail and production bakery and pastry shop. 

The Epicurean is being developed in collaboration with the legendary Bern’s Steak House, and will be the first newly constructed property in the U.S. to join Marriott International’s Autograph Collection.

Also in Tampa, the Mainsail Suites Hotel & Conference Center, which was originally a 360-room property, will soon transition to a total of 120 one- and two-bedroom suites. The conversion will include $1.5 million in interior upgrades to rooms and the lobby. Slated for an August 2013 completion, room renovations will include upgraded flooring throughout living rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms; new sofa sleeper and lounge chair in living rooms; white faux wood blinds; new light fixtures in dining rooms; new high-end euro top bedding; upgraded bedding accessories; flat-screen TVs for all bedrooms; and new artwork. Get in touch with Neisja Jones ([email protected], 813-243-2640), the newly appointed general manager.

Southeast Florida

In the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, the Hollywood Beach Marriott is spending nearly $1 million on updates. Every room now has a refrigerator, in-room Wi-Fi and wired Internet, a full-length mirror and new carpeting. The outdoor pool is new. Ocean Properties also purchased the marina on the intra-coastal side of the property; the hotel plans new docks and possibly a restaurant as well. For more information, contact General Manager Joshua J. Morris ([email protected]).

Southwest Florida

The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club has completed the latest phase of renovations and updates; this $5 million phase includes the opening of a new Gulf-view ballroom, complete makeover of the remaining guest rooms in the resort’s Florida Wing, and the revamping of the resort’s Gulfside meeting rooms and pre-function space. Agents should reach out to Amy Jacobsen ([email protected], 239-659-4996), sales manager, with queries.

Also in downtown Naples, the Inn on Fifth, which recently completed a $1.7 million renovation of its landmark property, has also subsequently concluded an $18 million expansion. Thirty-two new Club Level suites—ranging from 550 to 900 square feet—are within a new three-story building across Fifth Avenue from the Inn’s current location. The new suites offer large balconies, a separate check-in, private rooftop hot tub and sunbathing area. Guests receive buffet breakfast, afternoon tea and snacks, and evening cocktails and appetizers. Agents can direct questions to Cathy Christopher ([email protected]), director of sales and marketing.

Northeast Florida

The Omni Amelia Island Plantation reopened in March following an $85 million makeover. The resort’s lobby now has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking an infinity edge pool and the Atlantic Ocean. The Omni also has added 155 additional oceanfront guest rooms, including 27 suites, bringing up the total to 404.

The tiered pool deck with 600 loungers (one for each guest bed) includes an adult infinity edge pool, a large family pool, and kid’s splash area. The resort is expanding its programs for kids and teens with new recreation at Camp Amelia, Just for Families events, a Teen Concierge, and Gamers—a hangout just for teens. Guests also can enjoy the new Heron’s Cove Adventure Golf with 18 family-friendly, putt-putt holes. The improvement project also results in 80,000 square feet of meeting space, $3.8 million in improvements to the golf facilities, a spa renovation (including two couple’s relaxation rooms) and new dining options.

Direct any queries to Paul Eckert (904-261-6161), general manager.

The Amelia Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast is renovating and upgrading the Sea-Escape Suite, including tiled flooring in the bath, new sink and fixtures, updated window treatments, fresh paint and new furnishings to create more space. In addition, the inn is updating its beach patio with new beach chairs, lounges, umbrellas and beach toys. For details, talk with the owners, Han and TJ ([email protected], 904-430-0026).

In north Jacksonville, a new TownePlace Suites Jacksonville by Marriott will open in 2014; the $7.5 million hotel will have 107 rooms and can be found at 725 Skymarks Drive at River City Marketplace.

Northwest Florida

In Florida’s Panhandle, the 598-room Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has completed a $5 million renovation of accommodations, meeting space and its fine-dining restaurant, Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood. Updates have also been made to the common space of the 400-room Emerald Tower, which houses the Deluxe Junior Suites featuring bunk beds and separate media centers for kids.

Agents should reach out to Kacee Carter ([email protected], 850-267-9600), sales and marketing assistant, with any queries.



Pier House 60 Marina Hotel on Clearwater Beach
Pier House 60 Marina Hotel is the newest hotel on Clearwater Beach.


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About the Author

Susan Young
A veteran of 100-plus cruises, Susan J. Young, is senior contributing editor for cruises – covering ocean, river and niche cruises for Travel Agent and

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