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The Latest Openings and Renovations in Florida Planners Should Know About (2021)
Orange County Convention Center, Orlando
Florida boasts growth across the state, with new hotels and renovations happening at breakneck speed. In just the first two months of 2021, 29 hotels opened. Here’s a sampling of what’s new.
- Courtyard and Springhill Suites by Marriott in Fernandina Beach opened in May and will be operating under one roof. The two hotels will share four stories and 239 guest rooms, featuring a spacious pool and outdoor area, and state-of-the-art meeting and event space. While the SpringHill Suites property does not have dedicated meeting space, it is connected to Courtyard Amelia Island and offers access to the 6,060 square feet of meeting space there.
- The $15 million room renovation at the 308-room Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village completed a renovation to include increased room inventory and a new design. Event space includes outdoor areas and breakout rooms. The total event space is 26,410 square feet.
- The 220-room Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key completed renovations in public spaces including the lobby, the Watercolour Grillhouse and pool areas. The resort offers 10 meeting and event rooms, three restaurants, two bars and a pool with a 35-foot waterfall.
- Opal Grand Oceanfront Resort & Spa refreshed all of its exteriors, guest rooms, meeting space and public spaces at the beginning of the year. The hotel offers 277 rooms, including 89 suites and more than 30,000 square feet of meeting and event space and a new, two-story restaurant overlooking Atlantic Avenue.
- A $1 billion expansion of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center is underway. Phase One opens in October 2021 with 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space. Full completion is projected for 2024, with a projected total of 1.2 million square feet of meeting space, including a 65,000-square-foot waterfront ballroom, a new expansive waterfront plaza, new dining concepts and an 800-room headquarters hotel.
- Opening this summer, the AC Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach will have 171 rooms and 1,000 square feet of meeting space.
- The Luminary Hotel & Co. opened downtown as the area’s first hotel in the prestigious Autograph Collection of Marriott International. The 243-room boutique hotel offers 10,000 square feet of adaptable indoor and outdoor function space ideal for a variety of events and meetings and is adjacent to the neighboring Caloosa Sound Convention Center, scheduled to open this year.
- The Margaritaville Beach Hotel recently opened and features 202 guest rooms, a fitness center, indoor and outdoor meeting and venue spaces, a beachside pool and a two-story LandShark Bar & Grill with a “LandShark Lookout” observation deck. The hotel has 1,725 square feet of meeting space to accommodate up to 118 people.
- Margaritaville Key West Resort rebranded as Opal Key Resort & Marina. The waterfront resort features 178 guest rooms and suites, a variety of unique venues and 16,000 square feet of flexible, indoor/outdoor function space, including the Truman Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 300.
- Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort offers 311 rooms and 11,000 square feet of event space, including the century-old Flagler Ballroom overlooking the ocean.
- The 1,718-room Gaylord Palms Resort has 462,296 square feet of total event space. Crystal River Rapids, a new action river water attraction, opened at the resort in March as part of a $158 million expansion—the largest in the resort’s history. Also opening is Mangrove Lawn, the new 12,000-square-foot event lawn located right outside the convention center.
- Located one block off the city square and across from Lake Mirror, the historic 1924 Terrace Hotel is undergoing a major renovation. The 73-room, 15-suite property will be rebranded as a Hilton Tapestry Collection Hotel. The ballroom is 1,500 square feet.
- The 125-room Cambria Hotel, which opened in October, features a rooftop bar with panoramic Gulf Coast views, an infinity pool with cabanas, spacious guest rooms and suites, and locally curated food and beverage menus.
- The rebranded JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa underwent a $300 million renovation in 2019, adding a new 16-story Orchid Tower, nearly doubling the total number of rooms to 685. The iconic resort also updated and expanded the conference center and now offers 121,000 square feet of meeting space. The resort also features a newly minted entry and spacious modern lobby. Also completed was an upgrade of two championship golf courses. There’s also ÂME Spa & Wellness Collective and Celebrity Chef Michael Mina’s award-winning BOURBON STEAK restaurant, as well as CORSAIR kitchen & bar and Tidal Cove Waterpark.
- The 150-room Confidante Miami Beach offers nearly 15,000 square feet of indoor space with innovative smart technology, complimentary premium Wi-Fi and dedicated lounge areas. Basic meeting packages include meeting space, a webcam and monitor while more advanced packages include a “Meeting Owl” Camera (360-degree voice-activated conferencing camera allowing operators to feature any area of the room), screens, projectors, sound system, camera operators and a managed Zoom conference for up to 100 people.
- Hilton Garden Inn Miramar Beach, located along scenic Gulf Drive, has 111 rooms and is located steps away from the Gulf of Mexico. The property, which opened October 2020, features an outdoor pool, fitness center, onsite restaurant and complimentary Wi-Fi, plus 896 square feet of meeting space.
- The 450-room Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort announced it will undergo a remastering of the resort, including the addition of a new swimming pool, an immersive water activity experience, a new outdoor restaurant, and bar and event lawn expected to be complete in May. The hotel has 16,500 square feet of meeting space.
- Caribe Royale Orlando All Suite Hotel & Convention Center is in the midst of a $125 million phased renovation that will include a complete makeover of all of its one-bedroom suites and the addition of a 50,000 square-foot-grand ballroom, which opened in March. A new comfortable and inviting lobby featuring extensive lighting upgrades incorporating interactive technology will create a dramatic arrival experience. This space will be the central hub for access to hotel amenities, gift shop, restaurants and lounges.
- Universal’s Endless Summer Resort—Dockside Inn and Suites, with 2,050 rooms, is the newest hotel at Universal Orlando Resort.
- The 750-room Loews Portofino Bay Hotel welcomed back guests in December with newly renovated rooms and suites throughout the hotel. The hotel boasts 42,000 square feet of meeting space and 47,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space.
- The new JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, with 516 rooms, boasts 18 event/meetings rooms and 50,669 square feet of space, plus one 5,000-square-foot rooftop lawn for outdoor events.
- Evermore Orlando Resort, formerly the Villas at Grand Cypress, is a 1,100-acre resort complex bordering Walt Disney World. The massive 10,000-bedroom resort will represent a billion-dollar-plus investment. Evermore’s first phase will open with nearly 1,500 rooms spread among an array of stay experiences, from single homes to villas, flats and hotel guest rooms.
- Hotel Effie Sandestin opened in February with 250 rooms, a spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center and the only rooftop pool on Florida’s Emerald Coast. The hotel has 50,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 13,000-square-foot ballroom.
- In September 2020, Ponte Vedra Inn & Club opened the historic Ocean House and Peyton House, offering 41 new oceanfront guest rooms and suites. The resort offers multiple dining venues. The popular Surf Deck Grille, which sits on the sand’s edge, offers full-service lunch and dinner with a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean.
- In the heart of St. Augustine’s Historic District, the Renaissance Historic Downtown St. Augustine Hotel will open in spring. The hotel is designed to replicate the historic San Marco Hotel that sat on the same spot during the Gilded Age. The new hotel will feature 89 guest rooms, distinct event spaces, world-class dining, traditional Southern hospitality and modern amenities.
- The Don CeSar finished multimillion-dollar renovations of the iconic 277-room Pink Palace, dramatically enhancing and expanding the historic resort. The transformation began in 2018 with a refresh of all meeting spaces, guest corridors and the 71-room, all-suite Beach House Suites by the Don CeSar. The Don Lobby Bar, Uncle Andy’s Market and Maritana, the property’s fine dining restaurant, have also been renovated. The final phase introduced a new pool bar with a rooftop deck and restaurant, Beacon Pool Bar & Lookout, new full-service restaurant, Society Table, and a complete restoration of the palm tree-lined front drive. Additional hotel amenities include two deluxe heated pools, 22,000 square feet of indoor function space, more than 16,000 square feet of creative outdoor space and the 11,000-square-foot Spa Oceana.
- The historic 361-room Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club in downtown St. Pete recently restored its ballroom. The hotel offers more than 60,000 square feet of space capable of accommodating events of up to 1,500 seated guests.
- The Tampa Marriott Water Street completed its multiphase, $50 million transformation project in late 2020 following an 18-month restoration, renovation and expansion. The property’s extensive enhancements include 727 newly renovated guest rooms and more than 40,000 square feet of meeting spaces and a refreshed Great Room.
- The recently opened Hotel Haya,with 178 rooms, is located in the Ybor City neighborhood. The hotel has nearly 5,500 square feet of meeting space that can accommodate up to 500.
Plus: Theme Park News
- Jurassic World VelociCoaster, based on the blockbuster franchise, is coming to Universal’s Islands of Adventure this summer. It will be Florida’s fastest and tallest launchcoaster, featuring an original story that expands what fans have seen on the big screen and a series of intense maneuvers sending riders catapulting up to 70 mph and more than 150 feet in the air alongside the swiftest of prehistoric predators.
- The France pavilion at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT will feature Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, scheduled to open this year. Guests will shrink to the size of Chef Remy and race through Gusteau’s restaurant on a wild adventure. The France pavilion will have a delicious new restaurant, La Crêperie de Paris, offering a menu from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse.
- IceBreaker, SeaWorld Orlando’s first launchcoaster, will open in spring with four airtime-filled launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida—a 93-foot-tall spike with a 100-degree angle.
- Aquatica Orlando will open a new waterslide, RiptideRace, Florida’s first-ever dueling waterslide, this spring. The ride will allow guests to race side-by-side at top speeds, navigating tight loops and accelerations through indoor and outdoor sections of nearly 650 feet of splashing slides.
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