BENCHMARK expands to Florida's Gulf Coast
Will manage two St. Pete beach resorts purchased by capital partner Gencom
Expanding its presence in Florida to the state's popular Gulf Coast, BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, will manage, renovate and reposition two properties on St. Pete Beach, an award-winning destination off the coast of St. Petersburg in Tampa Bay. A venture led by Benchmark's capital partner, Gencom, has purchased the two beachfront properties, The Beachcomber Beach Resort and Hotel and The Grand Plaza Beach Hotel & Beach Resort and committed $24 million for major renovations to upgrade the two properties. Gencom and Benchmark forged a strategic management partnership in 2016.
Each hotel commands a spectacular beachfront location overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The high-rise Grand Plaza Beach Hotel & Beach Resort offers 156 rooms including 14 suites with balconies and sea views. There are four food and beverage outlets and room service as well as 8,000 square feet of gathering space, ideal for corporate meetings and special events. The Grand Plaza is a favorite spot for weddings and can host nuptials on the beach or in one of several spacious ballrooms. The low-rise Beachcomber Beach Resort and Hotel has 102 rooms and two restaurants and a casual, old Florida vibe. The hotel offers two swimming pools and beautifully landscaped grounds marked with lush tropical plants and sparking fountains. The iconic "Best Beach Bar in Florida," Jimmy B's, provides live entertainment during the day and nightly for guests and locals.
Benchmark currently manages six thriving Florida resorts in Orlando, Vero Beach, Miami and Hallandale Beach. The St. Pete Beach properties bring the company to the Gulf Coast. "We are very excited to add these iconic hotels to our portfolio and to expand the company's presence in Florida, where Benchmark already has significant infrastructure, support and expertise in the Florida market," notes Benchmark President & COO, Greg Champion. As a trailblazer and award-winning curator of experiential and transformational travel, both properties will also benefit from Benchmark's expertise in providing unique, distinctive and memorable guest experiences that capture the character and charm of the destination.
Between them, the hotels offer a total of seven successful food and beverage outlets, all with stunning beachfront and Gulf views. Florida's only revolving rooftop restaurant, Spinners, sits atop The Grand Plaza, as does the outdoor rooftop bar Level 11, which will be expanded to provide space for an increased number of weddings and events. Thanks in part to its far-reaching and unique partnership with Celebrity Chef Stefan Pyles, Benchmark's imaginative approach to hotel and banquet dining will raise the culinary bar to new heights of quality and innovation at each of these spectacular beachfront locations.
In addition to the comprehensive $24 million renovation and strategic re-positioning plan, Benchmark will infuse the property with a full array proprietary support. According to Rikki Boparai, Benchmark VP of Operations, who will support the property directly, "There is a seasoned and professional staff on site at both properties, and as we add the exclusive resources of Benchmark and our extensive home office support, we look forward to taking the properties to new levels of performance, productivity and popularity."
A barrier island on the Southwest coast of Florida, St. Pete Beach attracts visitors and residents from around the world, drawn by its sunny climate, charming shops and restaurants, great watersports and spectacular beaches, rated #7 in the US by Trip Advisor. The island is close to some of Florida's most notable attractions, from the St. Petersburg's arts scene and world-famous Salvador Dali Museum to swimming with the fish at a local aquarium. The area is just 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport and within drive distance of Orlando's legendary attractions.