New owner’s goal is to make it one of the premier accommodations on the state’s west coast
Every time Michael Holderness used to drive by the Siesta Beach Resort & Suites, he would think about its potential.
The only true hotel on Siesta Key — and in Siesta Village, at that — the property’s more glorious days had been in the past. Built in 1955, it used to be a small but popular tourist mecca.
Recently, Holderness began working to realize that potential he had envisioned. After acquiring the property for $9.7 million in May, he plans to transform the hotel into one of the best boutique resorts the West Coast of Florida has to offer — a full-service facility where couples and families will leave “feeling recharged and united,” he says.
The renovations are expected to get underway as early as August, he told Siesta Sand, with the refurbished resort slated to open the day after Christmas.
From an architectural perspective, Holderness plans to make use of the structure’s “bones,” removing stucco that was added over the years and restoring the clean lines of the mid-20th look. “We’re changing today to bring back what was yesterday: quality vibes and values of yesterday,” he said.
The resort’s footprint and number of rooms will not change, but there will be plenty of upgrades. Holderness plans to add a spa and remove one of the stairwells to make space for a kitchen, so quality food can 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 addition to rooms of the modern technology and conveniences 21st century guests expect. 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 might be reconfigured at the Siesta Beach Resort — which was formerly a Best Western. The name of the hotel will be tweaked as well, making the transition to “Siesta Key Beach Resort & Spa.”
The renovations have been designed to draw couples and families who do not want to just 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 proximity to the beach as their draw, instead of offering amenities today’s tourists desire. “People think we’ve got the No. 1 Beach, and that’s enough,” Holderness pointed out. “Well, it’s not” enough to keep tourists coming back. The resort’s creature comforts, Holderness noted, will be second to none.
At the upgraded Siesta Key Beach Resort & Spa, guests will be able to download an app to their smartphones, so they can check in without having to go to the front desk, for example, or ask Room Service for extra towels. Nonetheless, Holderness said he wants hotel staff to anticipate a need before a guest has to request something. If a family checks in, he pointed out, extra towels automatically should be provided.
Complimentary bikes and more
From the courtyard, guests will be able to pick up complimentary, environmentally safe bottles of water, along with bicycles, beach towels, masks and snorkels. They also will find complimentary paddleboards, kayaks and Hobie Cats on the beach. Guests will be given wristbands, so staff will be able to identify them easily, Holderness noted.
Guests also will have use of a volleyball net that has been set up on the beach. Holderness believes that protecting the wildlife is a priority, so he has used turtle-safe poles to hold the volleyball net. Additionally, he has worked to preserve native vegetation on his private beach property west of North Beach Road, creating a buffer for endangered nesting seabirds.
In May, Holderness made teal bicycles available in the courtyard area for complimentary guest use, as well. Other modes of transportation will be made easily available for the guests, he added.
The resort fronts Ocean Boulevard, and it has rooms on both sides of Calle Miramar, with the pool on the north side of the road. The poolside rooms soon will have new patios overlooking the pool. Landscaping upgrades also are planned throughout the property, Holderness said, including the planting of shade-providing palms along the paths his guests will 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.
The hotel will be operated by Beachside Management, Holderness’ rapidly growing management firm based on Siesta Key. The company’s holdings include Siesta Key Beachside Villas, which Holderness already has renovated. Holderness said the company works to provide both what is trending in hotel accommodations as well as more routine guest needs.
Rates likely will go up at the renovated Siesta Key Beach Resort & Spa, although Holderness says he expects couples and families will be able to find deals during the off season.
Vision into reality
Holderness 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 main building is two stories; the complex has a total of four structures.
The new ownership group has begun applying for construction permits from Sarasota County. To make the Dec. 26 opening timeline, crews will be working hard, with teams following each other into the guest rooms to undertake the renovations, Holderness said.