FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Inn the money: The new Alfond Inn

The new Alfond Inn is a stylish $30-million addition to downtown Winter Park, not far from fashionable Park Avenue and a short, tree-shaded walk to Rollins College a block away. But the inn is more than just a place for heads in beds.

The Alfond Inn

» Alfond amenities include an elevated pool, fitness center, 10,000 square feet of meeting space, a bar and restaurant headed by award-winning chef J. Christopher Windus.

» Alfond family members have been major benefactors of Rollins for decades, and a number of family members are Rollins alumni. The late Harold Alfond, founder of Dexter Shoe, established the charitable foundation in 1950. He and his late wife, Dorothy, were also generous personal contributors to the college. Two sons are Rollins graduates.

» The previous luxury hotel on the site, the Langford Hotel, catered to wealthy visitors for decades until it was torn down in 2002.

The 112-room boutique hotel also is an investment in future students of the private school, founded in 1885.

Rollins partnered with the Harold Alfond Foundation to build the Mediterranean-style hotel, with the provision that profits go to the Alfond scholarship program for 25 years, or until the endowment reaches $50 million.

Owned by Rollins, the hotel on east New England Avenue was built with a $12.5-million grant from the Alfond Foundation and $17.5 million from the school’s cash reserves. Many hotel guests will be prospective students, parents, visiting scholars, dignitaries and educators. The hotel is stocked with more than 100 paintings, photos, sculptures and artwork valued at $3 million from the school’s Cornell Fine Arts Museum.  

“I’m not aware of anything like it,” says Jeffrey Eisenbarth, vice president of business and finance at Rollins. General manager Deanne Gabel is a graduate of Rollins’ Crummer Graduate School of Business and a hotel veteran manager.