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prahaboheme

Florida's Grand Old Luxury Hotels

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Well I took my own advice and decided to start a thread on Florida's old luxury resorts, inspired by Lakelander's Tampa thread and my own interest. I'll start it out, but I'm hoping some of you may know more about this than I do.

Both of these hotels were built by Henry Plant, the railroad tycoon:

The Tampa Bay Hotel

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The Seminole Winter Park Hotel

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Well I took my own advice and decided to start a thread on Florida's old luxury resorts, inspired by Lakelander's Tampa thread and my own interest.

Saw your post in the other thread and thought I'd add a few pics I have (sorry for the imperfect quality) of the old hotels in the resort town of Winter Park;

First the Alabama Hotel, now luxury condos (for the past 25 years or so). I'm unsure of its exact history but think it dates from the late 19th cent:

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The first Seminole Hotel. Built in 1886, it had 400 guest rooms. Was located at the end of New England Ave. It burned to the ground in a spectacular fire in 1902.

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The Virginia Inn. Opened in 1882. Was known for fine dining. Located on Interlachen and Morse. Demolished in 1966.

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The new Seminole Hotel - it replaced the original, in 1912, a decade after the first was destroyed by fire, albeit in a different spot. Was located lakeside at the terminus of Webster Ave. It was destroyed in 1970. Private homes now occupy the land.

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Though not a 'grand old luxury' hotel, the Langford should be mentioned. It was a social hub during its time for the Winter Park elite, and was the first fully air conditioned hotel in Central Florida. It, too, was demolished.

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The Park Plaza hotel remains alone as a charming turn of the (last) century hotel.

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With the construction of the new Regent Hotel at the site of the former Langford (only the 2nd location in the USA), perhaps Winter Park will again draw high-end tourists to stay at its luxury hotel(s) as it has in the past -- rather than just to shop, eat, and play.

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No pic to post nor any idea if the hotel was "luxury" or not. However, Stetson University School of Law now presides in what used to be a hotel. (Clearwater).

It also used to be a military school after the hotel days before the law school days.

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Other than the beaches, Jacksonville's grand hotels were pretty much urban and located downtown. Most were also demolished in the 1970's/80's for today's tall office towers.

Hotel Floridian

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Roosevelt Hotel (currently being renovated into lofts)

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Mayflower Hotel (current site of BellSouth Tower)

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George Washington Hotel (planned site of County Courthouse)

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Hotel Seminole (current site of BOA Tower)

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Hotel Windsor (current site of Federal Courthouse Tower)

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There were terrible acts of vandalism in Jacksonville in the 1960s through 80s (which I consider a period of architectural insanity) in which beautiful historic buildings were torn down. These were unfortunately irreplaceable buildings. Ironically, one of these buildings was replaced by the current downtown library whose architect (now that his building is facing demolition) is a belated preservationist.

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It should be noted that the Royal Palm was downtown, really before there was much of a downtown. It was heavily damaged by the 1926 hurricane and demolished 4 years later. Some of Miami's tallest skyscrapers are now rising on the site.

The Jacksonville shots reminded me of another great hotel in Tampa, The Floridan. It claimed to be the tallest building in Florida when built.

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