BRADENTON -- Hampton Inn & Suites has begun taking the first reservations for its new downtown Bradenton hotel, and it projects a sold-out opening night.
People are eager to get into the hotel, says Kelly Ann Dixon, director of sales and marketing. The hotel, long known as the historic "Pink Palace," holds a place in many residents' hearts and sparks nostalgic memories of a time past.
"Everyone has driven by this hotel over the years. It's piqued an interest for people who want to see the inside and at least stay there once," said Dixon. "We want the community to stay here at least once."
As of today, visitors can book individual nights online and via the Hampton Inn's main number, but the earliest date people can book is for Dec. 5. Right now, only group blocks and people planning holiday parties can book on the local level beginning Nov. 19 -- the projected opening day.
"As we move closer to opening date, Hilton will open the reservations closer to opening," Dixon said.
Still, Dixon thinks they'll have plenty of sellouts.
"We anticipate a strong season and strong corporate interest, and strong sporting
interest," said Dixon.
Dave Gustafson, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority executive director, said the excitement and eagerness to stay at the hotel is what the city wanted to happen.
"To the city of Bradenton, that property and hotel has about as much influence on business and community as the Riverwalk," said Gustafson.
He said Mayor Wayne Poston, the city council, the DDA and Widewater Development all worked together on this project.
"It takes the village," said Gustafson. "This is a signature hotel for Widewater."
Gustafson said the new hotel is comparable to St. Petersburg's Loews Don CeSar Hotel and the Vinoy Park Hotel.
"I would put this hotel in that category," said Gustafson.
The hotel is still on schedule to open Nov. 19. Dixon said they plan to have an open house for the community in early December and the grand opening gala in January.
For more information or questions call 941-746-9400.
Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate