Florida’s historic Belleview Biltmore Hotel was once a retreat for corporate execs, celebrities, athletes and every living president until it closed in 2009, but a complete reimagining of the property will soon debut later this year.
The hotel was the first built on Florida’s West Coast in 1897 in Belleair, Fla., and its original grandeur will be maintained in the reimagined Belleview Inn. The property’s history is being preserved so precisely that the original 38,000-sf building was lifted on rollers and moved about 100 yards to make way for the new inn, making it the largest moved structure in the world. Its original staircase in the lobby, fireplaces, guest room doors and Tiffany stained glass are all still intact. Even the property’s Maisie’s Marketplace snack shop pays homage to the stepmother of the property’s original owner, Henry Plant.
“Henry Plant was known for connecting southwest Florida to the nation’s railroad system, so it’s not a surprise to learn that the hotel was built in a location that allowed the train to pull right up to the west veranda, while the front drive welcomed horse-drawn carriages,” says Michael Cheezem, CEO of JMC Communities, the developer working on the project. “The hotel is preserved in a way that it’s easy to imagine what it might have looked like in those days and the buzz of activity this lobby once had, and will now have again.”
Of course, modern-day technology and amenities will make it ideal for today’s top exec and meeting attendee staying at this exclusive 35-room inn. The 1,000-sf Tiffany Room, featuring several Tiffany glass panels from the original building, will offer meeting space for smaller groups, extending out onto the porch and 5,000-sf Grand Lawn. Attendees will even have access to the oldest golf course in Florida at the Belleview Country Club, which also offers additional event spaces that can accommodate up to 500 people.