By Roger Drouin
Every time Michael Holderness drove by the Siesta Beach Resort & Suites, in the past, he thought about the potential. The only official hotel on Siesta, the property had seen more glorious days as a small, yet popular tourist mecca that was built in the fifties.
Now, Holderness is working to put his vision into reality, and transform a hotel that’s in need of refurbishing into one of the best boutique resorts the Westcoast of Florida has to offer – a full-service resort where couples and families will leave “feeling recharged and united.”
The property investor acquired the resort for $9.7 million in May, and renovation work is expected to begin as early as August, with an upgraded resort slated to open the day after Christmas.
Architecturally, Holderness plans to return the resort to its former glory, removing stucco added over the years and restoring the buildings with a nod to its mid-century clean lines. “We’re changing today, to bring back what was yesterday, quality vibes and values of yesterday,” he told Siesta Sand.
The resort’s footprint and number of rooms won’t change. But there will be plenty of upgrades, including plans to add a spa and remove one of the stairwells to make space for an in-house kitchen. From the added kitchen, quality food will be prepared for guests. “There will be very nice breakfast with [menu] items such as cage-free eggs and organic fruits,” Holderness said.
Plans also call for an upgraded courtyard, along with the modern technologies and conveniences in each room. Room interiors will feature Coastal Contemporary styling, and exposed ceilings outside will have cedar or teak planks, Holderness said.
To make room for the addition of the upscale spa, some rooms could be reconfigured at the Siesta Key Resort — which was formerly a Best Western. The name of the resort will be tweaked as well, to: “Siesta Key Beach Resort & Spa.”
Through the addition of the variety of amenities and modern technology, the project is designed to cater to couples and families who want to do more than only spend time at the beach. “Guests of today demand more,” Holderness said.
Holderness feels that tourist accommodations on the Key have come to rely on their location to the beach — instead of offering conveniences that today’s tourist wants. “People think we’ve got the No. 1 Beach, and that’s enough,” Holderness said. “Well, it’s not” enough to keep tourists coming back. The resort’s amenities and creature comforts, Holderness noted, will be second to none.”
At the upgraded Siesta Key Beach Resort & Spa, amenities will almost rival the beauty of the beach. For instance, through an App for their cell phones, guests at the new Siesta Resort will be able to check in or ask room service for towels. Holderness, however, said he wants hotel staff to anticipate a need before a guest has to request — such as a family needing that extra towel upon check in, for example.
Complimentary bikes and more
From the courtyard, guests will be able to pick-up complimentary environmentally-safe bottled water, bicycles, beach towels, masks and snorkels, and find complimentary paddleboards, kayaks and Hobie Cats on the beach. Guests will be given bracelets, so staff will be able to identify who is a guest before giving them items for use.
Guests will also have use of a volleyball net that has been set up on the beach. Holderness believes protecting the natural wildlife is a priority, and has incorporated turtle-safe poles for the volleyball net and has worked to preserve areas with native vegetation on the privately-owned beach, creating a buffer for endangered nesting seabirds.
Last month, at the courtyard area, Holderness added the teal bicycles that are available for complimentary use.
The resort fronts Ocean Blvd., and has rooms on both sides of Calle Miramar, with the pool on the north side of the road. The poolside rooms will soon have new patios overlooking the pool. There will be new landscaping throughout the property, Holderness said, including shade-providing palms anywhere his guests walk. “We have the choice location — not only on Siesta Key but front and center in the Village of Siesta Key,” Holderness told Siesta Sand.
All of the work is designed to meet an ambitious goal: “It will be the nicest boutique hotel on the West Coast of Florida,” Holderness says.
The resort will be run by Beachside Management, Holderness’ rapidly growing management company based on Siesta Key. The company’s holdings include Siesta Key Beachside Villas, which Holderness renovated. Holderness said the company’s systems lead the industry and the company works to provide both what’s trending and guest needs at its accommodations.
Rates will likely go up at the renovated Siesta Key Beach Resort & Spa, although Holderness expects couples and families will be able to find a deal during off season.
Vision into Reality
The investor purchased the hotel on May 15, under the company name of Siesta Key Resort Spa, LLC, according to the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s office. The two-story hotel includes a total of four buildings.
It was built in 1955.
The new ownership group (SKRS,LLC) is applying for permits with Sarasota County. To make the Christmas time line, crews will be working hard to wrap up the project, Holderness says. That means, for instance, different crews will be working one after another within each room.
In addition, the resort will have transportation available. And resort guests can take a spin to the beach or through the Village on one of the teal bicycles.