Winter Park State of Mind
Today is September 12th, 2015! That means it’s just about a week until my one-year wedding anniversary (9/20/14), and thus, I am in a Winter Park State of Mind. We were married at the newly constructed Alfond Inn in Winter Park, Florida. The Alfond is worth discussing for several reasons. First, it is where I asked my now wife, Melissa, to marry me exactly one year from the day we got married. Second, this hotel represents the best in partnership, design, and implementation in urban development and place making.
This hotel was constructed due to a partnership between a small local private college, Rollins College, and a consortium of private developers, operators, and even a philanthropic donor (the Alfond family). While not technically a “P3” (Public-Private-Partnership) because Rollins is private and not public, this partnership is very intelligent and public entities should take notice. The hotel makes sense from a market perspective (if you don’t realize how awesome Park Avenue and Winter Park is, you need to come visit) and makes sense for the college (subject for a future post).
The architecture is stunning, yet simple and very appropriate for its location. The room count is small (112 I believe) giving it a true boutique feel. The outside lawn is perfect for weddings (yes, I am biased), layout of ballrooms and featured public space the “Conservatory” gives ideal flow, and even the pool deck is ideally positioned on the second floor above the signature restaurant. The hotel features unique art and could double as a museum.
The service at this hotel is amazing, I can speak to that from the room guest and wedding event holder perspective. When I was planning the proposal, they worked with me and made the whole night amazing (I later learned it was discussed in the morning staff meeting). This made choosing the Alfond as the venue for our wedding very easy and the excellent service continued a year later as well.
Bottom line, city leaders and developers should come stay at the Alfond Inn to see how a boutique hotel can invigorate a small dense city (Winter Park was of course doing quite well before its opening). Tourists should visit to explore Winter Park and enjoy the service (you can’t always stay by Disney!!!)
Click to Enlarge