After a $16 million renovation, Destin'sHampton Inn and Suites is once again open for business.
The hotel, originally built in 1994, closed in August of 2012 for a massive makeover, and reopened in January.
"We kept the structure itself," said General Manager Richard Butler. "We cut a hallway through the center of the building and expanded the building outward to accommodate the rooms."
Originally a two story building with exterior room entrances, the hotel has added a floor and recreated the layout to allow for complete interior entrances.
"It was time to make a change," said Butler, explaining that the last renovation was more than 10 years ago.
With the new floor, the hotel has expanded by 26 rooms, growing from 104 to 130 rooms. The hotel offers 45 premium Gulf side rooms, each with flat-screen HDTVs, large desks, a kitchenette and a spacious bathroom.
Other new features include a resort style infinity pool, a business lounge, a conference room, and a fitness center.
"I dare say we have the nicest fitness room on the Gulf Coast," said Butler, as he pointed out the ocean view and the state-of-the-art equipment.
At the entrance, a spacious lobby extends into a side room, which is used for breakfast service in the mornings, but can be transformed for private functions.
“We think this venue right here will be good for weddings, receptions and private functions. We could screen it in for private functions," he said.
Hampton Inn and Suites hosted a grand opening celebration on March 12 to officially re-launch to the public, and invited several local businesses and Chamber members to browse the property and enjoy its amenities. Local musician Chris Alvarado provided entertainment for the event, the hotel offered complimentary beverages, and Destin Catering provided a delicious array of food.
Since it's reopening in January, the Hampton has already been busier than expected with "a good mix of spring breakers and families."
"We have had an average of 80 percent occupancy," Butler said, "We had anticipated four to five weeks to kind-of get ramped up and get all the kinks worked out, but instead it was about five days."