The long-anticipated Alfond Inn opened on Sunday with the arrival of the first guests at the new hotel in Winter Park.
The 112-room boutique hotel owned by Rollins College is a Mediterranean-meets-modern marvel, nestled comfortably in the heart of Winter Park on New England Avenue.
Funded in part by a $12.5 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation, the net profits from the Inn over the next 25 years — up to $50 million — will fund a scholarship program for future Rollins students.
The style of the hotel is a modern take on the Mediterranean style typical of the Rollins campus.
Located throughout Inn’s public spaces is The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, a teaching collection of modern works by well-known and emerging artists.
The 100-plus-piece collection featuring original works of painting, photography, sculpture and mixed media will be on a rotating display.
“This caliber of an art collection would make just about any museum a little giddy,” said Ena Heller, director of Rollins’ Cornell Museum of Fine Arts.
Executive Chef Christopher Windus, formerly of Disney’s bluezoo, heads the Inn’s restaurant, Hamilton’s Kitchen.
The menu features seasonal, fresh, farm-to-table style fair with an accent on locally sourced seafood. Windus went as far as to take his staff on a field trip to meet local growers so they would know firsthand where the fresh ingredients come from.
Meeting areas at the Alfond will span 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space for weddings, events and conferences of all sizes.
Just off the main lobby is perhaps the most striking of the hotel’s public spaces, the Conservatory. Overlooking the courtyard gardens, the light and airy space seems to float in the warmth of the sun streaming in under the 40-foot glass atrium dome.
Guests will also enjoy the Inn’s library area, which serves as a gathering spot just before the entrance to the hotel bar and restaurant. The library contains donations from the Winter Park Public Library and will grow over the years as guests are welcome to donate a favorite book, which they can sign and leave on the shelves for others to enjoy, adding to the community feel.
Throughout the hotel, subtle touches evoke symbols of Winter Park: peacock feathers on the carpets, wrought iron balconies, and inviting shades of brown, blue and green that echo the natural side of the city.
Guest rooms offer a few surprises beyond well-appointed modern conveniences. All rooms offer iPod docking stations, umbrellas, and a scale in the bathroom.
Surrounded by marble terraces, the pool area is on the second floor of the hotel. There, guests will find there a private, relaxing space to enjoy some time in the sun or perhaps cozy gatherings under the stars.
With college coming back in session this week, the Inn is offering special pricing to try to entice new guests until Sept. 30, before regular pricing takes effect.
But Eddie Hendriksen, an advisor for the project, hopes the allure of the Inn lasts a lot longer.
“We worked hard, and hope this hotel will become the place to go in Winter Park for many, many years,” he said.