Florida tourism is gearing up for another exciting year, with new hotels, restaurants and attractions opening across the Sunshine State. Here’s just some of what’s coming soon.
The highly-anticipated 200-room Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach will open in early 2018, the fourth Hard Rock Hotel in Florida. The music-inspired brand encourages guests to channel their inner rock star, with complimentary use of Fender guitars and Crosley record players for in-room jam sessions. The hotel will also have a music-centric spa experience, Rhythm and Motion, where bass and treble vibrations send pulses through the body to energise and invigorate guests.
A stylish new 24-storey hotel complex will open in downtown Fort Lauderdale in late Spring 2018. Split into two concepts, The Dalmar will be a 209-room full-service hotel while The Element will offer 114 rooms for extended stays. The development also includes the city’s first highrise rooftop bar on its 25th floor with stunning 360 degree views and craft cocktails. Opening earlier in the year, the modern, boutique CIRC Hotel will be just 10 minutes from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. With 104 rooms and suites, the 12-storey building will also feature Olivia, an authentic Italian restaurant, and Muse, a rooftop bar and lounge on the 12th-floor pool deck.
Walt Disney World Resort
Fans of Buzz and Woody will go to infinity and beyond when Disney World’s new Toy Story Land opens this summer. This new 11-acre land will take visitors into Andy’s backyard and will boast two new attractions. Slinky Dog Dash is a family-friendly coaster where you’ll zip, dodge and dash around many turns and drops that Andy has created to make Slinky and his coils stretch to his limits, while Alien Swirling Saucers will see aliens flying around in their toy flying saucers trying capture your rocket toy vehicle with The Claw.
Florida Keys & Key West
The Keys’ first all-inclusive resort will open in the spring. The adults-only, all-inclusive Bungalows Key Largo will have 135 units spread across 13 acres, located near mile marker 99 bayside. Most rooms have their own private outdoor plunge pools or tubs. The resort will have two in-ground pools, five indoor and outdoor restaurants, four bars, and 300 metres of shoreline. Guests who stay five nights or more will be treated to a sunset cruise, a snorkel trip, and a spa treatment.
IMG Academy, Florida’s premier sports training destination, has broken ground on a 150-room luxury boutique hotel on the northern edge of its 500-plus acre campus. The five-story Legacy Hotel is set to open in the autumn of 2018 and will welcome visiting teams, coaches, athletes, staff and parents who use the training facilities and will also provide a go-to destination for visitors to the surrounding Bradenton Area community.
Three exciting new hotels are opening next year as part of the major development of Sarasota’s downtown area. First to open will be The Art Ovation, a luxury Marriott Autograph property, due to open in January. The following month will see the opening of The Embassy Suites, with 180 suites, many with waterfront views. Due to open in the autumn is The Sarasota Modern, a boutique property inspired by the Modernist tradition which emerged in Sarasota in the 1940s. All of the hotels are within walking distance of Sarasota’s cultural attractions, restaurants, bars and the glistening Sarasota Bayfront.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
SeaWorld Parks will open two new attractions at its Orlando parks in 2018. At its waterpark, Aquatica, a new water adventure, Ray Rush, opens in the spring. At nearly 60 feet tall, families can take on three exciting thrills as they slide, splash and soar like never before. At nearby SeaWorld, Infinity Falls is set to debut in the summer and promises a thrilling rainforest river raft experience where adventure-seekers can plunge down the world’s tallest river rapid drop. It will be the centrepiece of a newly-themed area fully immersing guests in a rainforest canopy.
New Smyrna Beach
New Smyrna Beach will get a new oceanfront hotel, the all-suite 114-room SpringHill Suites, in January. Boasting an unrivalled location, it will be where the beach meets lively Flagler Avenue and across the street from the new Ocean Breeze Tiki Bar & Grill, which boasts one of the best oceanfront views in town. Meanwhile, the famous Ocean Deck restaurant in nearby Daytona Beach is opening a second location overlooking the Indian River in New Smyrna Beach. River Deck NSB will welcome guests with a casual friendly vibe and a Caribbean-inspired menu. Also new for 2018, the B&B Inn on the Avenue will begin offering in-room spa treatments in the new Mermaid Suite Spa’
The fine art Imagine Museum is set to open in January in the up and coming Central Arts District of St. Pete and will showcase the explosive growth and diversity of America’s studio glass movement since the 1960s. Also opening in early 2018 is the $55 million James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, founded by Philanthropists Tom and Mary James. Its two-story sculpture court will feature a ‘gentle waterfall’ cascading from the ceiling, a theatre and gallery and events space. Later in the year, the Fenway Hotel, a 1920s jazz icon, will re-open in downtown Dunedin following an $11 million renovation. Once the county’s first radio station, the 1920s Mediterranean-style building, now a 83-room hotel, will have stunning views of Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island.
A special exhibit, Penguins in Paradise, will delight visitors of all ages from January until April at Naples Zoo. Meanwhile, at the Naples Botanical Garden from 17 February through 3 June, kids will be transported back to prehistoric times thanks to the attraction Dinosaurs: Back with a Roar. Elsewhere on the Paradise Coast, a new tower with an additional 94 luxury guest rooms opens at the JW Marriott Marco Island in March, the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort celebrates its grand reopening after full guestroom and property renovations, and LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort and Naples Grande will also unveil extensive renovations and upgrades.
Over 200 pieces of art, along with personal items of Maurits Cornelis Escher, will be the focus of a new and exclusive exhibition being shown at the Museum of Art – DeLand Downtown from 27 January to 18 March. This Dutch graphic artist made mathematically-inspired woodcuts and lithographs, exploring nature, math, science and the realm of his imagination. The Magical World of M. C. Escher exhibition will not be seen anywhere in the US except in DeLand.
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