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Arkansas Racing and Gaming Property Expands, Plus 3 Other New and Renovated Southern Hotels
Credit: Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort
Stay up to date on the latest venue openings and property renovations, including these found in the South.
In late April, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, located in Hot Springs, Arkansas, welcomed a new luxury hotel, spa and event center—all of which comprise an expansion project that began construction in 2019.
The eight-story Hotel at Oaklawn offers 198 rooms, including two presidential suites, boasting scenic views of the adjacent racetrack and Hot Springs’ Valley of the Vapors. At the Astral Spa, guests can partake in wellness services like an infrared sauna and a Himalayan Salt wall. The spa also offers a needle shower that’s representative of the iconic Bathhouse Row at Hot Springs National Park.
This expansion project also includes a 15,000-square-foot event center that can seat up to 1,500 attendees. The center offers four meeting rooms available for smaller gatherings or breakout sessions and a 1,900-square-foot stage with a large video wall.
The first phase of this project, the expanded gaming center, opened in early 2020 and created space for more than 1,500 slot machines and 33 gaming tables. Guests can also explore the new High Limits area with more than 80 slot machines, three high-limit blackjack tables and a private outdoor patio.
Oaklawn also welcomed several new F&B venues, including The Bugler, a fine-dining restaurant overlooking the Oaklawn racetrack and infield.
An expansive renovation at Hilton Peachtree City Atlanta Hotel and Conference Center includes refreshed guest rooms, state-of-the-art meeting spaces and resort-style amenities. The hotel is located on 19 acres in Genlock Village, southwest of Atlanta, which is an area well known for 90 miles of multi-use golf cart paths linking the five villages of Peachtree City.
The 250-room Hilton Peachtree City recently transformed its lobby and common areas into more modern spaces, while its fully renovated guest rooms offer refreshed bathrooms, bright light, sleek and modern furniture and private balconies.
Updated hotel amenities include modern cardiovascular and weight training equipment, indoor racquetball courts, a steam room and a jetted hot tub. And the hotel’s 30,000-square-foot conference center boasts 24 redesigned meeting rooms.
After a complete uplift of an existing hotel, the brand-new Hilton Garden Inn St. Pete Beach is one of the newest properties in vacation hotspot St. Pete Beach, Florida. The hotel, nestled along the beach, is just steps from the ocean and is located 20 minutes from downtown St. Pete.
Offering 144 rooms, Hilton Garden Inn St. Pete Beach features just under 900 square feet of flexible meeting space and ample outdoor event space. Other hotel amenities include a fitness center, complimentary Wi-Fi and a 24-hour market offering snacks and cold beverages.
Guests can dine on property at Coconut Charlie’s Beach Bar & Grill, open all day, and enjoy tacos, handcrafted pizzas, seafood, burgers and crafted cocktails with a beachfront view. The restaurant’s expansive deck is ideal for taking in the nightly live music.
[Related: 18 Showstopping Outdoor Venues in Florida]
Huntsville’s Homage to the Past
A new luxury boutique hotel—with plenty of nods to the past—will open this summer in downtown Huntsville, Alabama. The 115-room 106 Jefferson, situated on the former site of the once popular Huntsville Hotel, pays homage to its history in both look and feel.
The hotel’s signature restaurant, Revivalist, features a design reminiscent of an old-time parlor and a menu influenced by European classics. Guests will also find references to Huntsville’s ties to the Space Race: Indoor-outdoor rooftop lounge Baker & Able takes it names from the two primates who were the first to survive spaceflight more than 60 years ago.
106 Jefferson also offers 2,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a private dining room, fitness center, dedicated outdoor greenspace and a 24-hour business center.
The hotel’s downtown location makes it a prime home base for a number of attractions, many of which are walkable. This includes several restaurants and shops, the Huntsville Museum of Art and the Broadway Theatre Lounge. And less than five miles away is the famed U.S. Space & Rocket Center (Huntsville’s nickname, after all, is Rocket City), where visitors can learn about achievements and see artifacts from the U.S. space program.