Florida has 370,000 hotel rooms in 16,374 hotels. It is the only state that is covered by three AAA travel guides.
Despite these statistics the Great Recession slowed down new hotel construction particularly outside South Florida. Today huge hotel projects are springing up from Pensacola to Jacksonville to Key West, many of them much needed boosts to tourist locations that have not seen much new facilities or seen older hotels converted to more profitable condominiums.
South Beach still leads the way with many older buildings being totally redone. A great lower priced option in the Lincoln Road area is Haddon Hall or “The Hall”, the first Joie de Vivre East Coast boutique hotel.
Designed by Robert McKinley with a little white Art Deco, some Rio and some Caribbean, The Hall has just 163 rooms and an unusual 1.4 acre playground, uncommon for crowded South Beach.
Up in Hollywood Melia Hotels has opened the Melia Costa Hollywood Beach Resort, a six story condo hotel with five restaurants, a spa, a rooftop infinity pool, and 304 rooms. The hotel will impact a area of slow beachfront growth.
Even the Florida Keys is undergoing a wave of new resorts. The Playa Largo Rsort, a Marriott Autograph hotel, is the first hotel in the Key Largo area in two decades.
The 155 room resort is spread across 14 acres of prime real estate and features bi-level cottages, three restaurants, a secluded white beach, and a real island feel.
Key West has several new hotels but a great choice for families who don’t want to be surrounded by the noise of Duval Street might want to head to the quiet side of the island to The Gates Hotel. The modern, minimalist resort features the poolside Rum Row Bar with its own rum distillery and the funky Blind Pigs tapas restaurant.
With its 119,800 hotel rooms, second only to Las Vegas, Orlando continues to sprout new hotels like weeds. The big resort guys have opposite extremes. Universal Studios is building a second family resort with Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.
Walt Disney’s new super-resort is the very upscale Four Seasons Resort hidden on the property from all the parks and congestion. The 444 room golf course style resort has high cost restaurants: the Italian Ravello, the Spanish style Capa, and the clubhouse Planca.
But don’t worry if this is a place just for adults. Mickey and Company find the place at breakfast time and the five acre Explorer Island with its lazy river is the largest poolside recreation area at WDW. Instead of crowded Disney buses, guests here take plush motor coaches to the parks.
All across Florida new hotels are changing the waterfront of older hotels. In Panama City a large Spring Hill Suites by Marriott is filling a hole by the Bay County Pier on Front Beach Road. At Daytona Beach the 29-story condo Hard Rock Hotel at 777 Atlantic Avenue will be a monster of an addition.
Even Clearwater Beach, where many hotels became condos, there are new places like the Opal Sands Resort, with its 230 rooms with full Gulf of Mexico views, and the new Hampton Inn and Suites.
Look up these hotels if you’re heading that way in Florida