Henderson Beach Resort Development Underway
Destin soon to be home to new luxury beach resort and spa
By Selena Chavis, Condo Owner Magazine, February 23, 2015
It’s been a bit quiet on the Destin development front in terms of beachfront condominium, hotel and resort development in recent years, but the tides seem to be turning. Along with last year’s announcement of a new beachfront condominium development by Rookis Investment Partners, Dunavant Enterprises, Inc., owners of the Henderson Park Inn, recently announced plans for the development of the Henderson Beach Resort. Details of the multi-phase project were unveiled at a public event attended by media, business leaders and dignitaries.
Plans for the resort include a 171-room luxury hotel overlooking Henderson Park and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as poolside and park-side condominiums and detached resort homes. A 95-room beach hotel may also be added.
Slated for opening in spring 2016, The Henderson, a Salamander Beach and Spa Resort, will serve as the anchor hotel for the overall development and will offer a world-class spa, multiple dining venues, a conference center and a multi-level tropical pool experience.
“The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village landed its biggest tourism catch today,” said William B. Dunavant Jr., chairman of Memphis-based Dunavant Enterprises, the company that owns the existing beachfront Henderson Park Inn. “Our vision is to deliver a beachfront level of luxury previously unavailable between New Orleans and Sarasota, and Salamander’s team of professionals is the perfect fit to help us create, manage and operate this destination resort of which the entire region can be proud.”
Salamander Hotels and Resorts, a leading luxury hotel company in the U.S., was engaged by Dunavant to assist with development and management of The Henderson. The estimated cost of the resort development is more than $300 million.
Located adjacent to the 208-acre, environmentally protected Henderson Beach nature preserve, The Henderson is described by its developers as incorporating a residential theme that aligns with the adjacent Crystal Beach neighborhood and feature a design inspired by the New England shingle-styled architecture already prevalent on Destin’s coastline at the Henderson Park Inn. Developers have planned to furnish the resort’s guest rooms and suites in a custom style that remains authentic to the local and cultural surroundings and include luxurious bedding, elegant bathrooms and large balconies or terraces.
Upon arriving at The Henderson, guests will enter a Grand Courtyard, which leads to an expansive living room with high ceilings and a wall of windows that face the preserve and beach. According to the development team, these elements along with several gathering areas are designed to connect guests to the environment.
“Our planning and development team, Devcon Services Group and JGM Development, have been hard at work for 10 years under the leadership and direction of William Hagerman, our senior vice president of development and acquisitions,” said Dunavant President and CEO William B. Dunavant III. “Hagerman’s vision for this beautiful property was integral in evolving it into the world-class destination resort we are launching today.”
The Henderson will house a spa with 11 treatment rooms, a sun-lit fitness room, family-oriented pool with a lazy river and a quiet adult zone. There will be family activities, including a dedicated children’s program, and guests can utilize the resort’s fleet of luxury cars or concierge shuttle to visit nearby attractions.
Guests of The Henderson will also enjoy a Beach Club experience that features sunset cocktail hours, a beach, waterfront dining as well as a base for activities like sailing, snorkeling and volleyball. Developers have planned for a signature restaurant on site to offer Destin’s gulf-to-table seafood traditions, a fine selection of steaks and chops, and healthy fare. Designed with a display kitchen and octagonal-shaped bar, the restaurant will showcase freshly prepared sushi, a poolside grill, outdoor terrace dining with sunset views, an old-fashioned ice cream shop and intimate dining on the beach.
The Henderson will have 30,000 square feet of outdoor space, including oceanfront locations, as well as 10,000 square feet of indoor event space.
Executives with Dunavant Enterprises selected Salamander Hotels & Resorts to manage The Henderson because of its extensive knowledge of luxury hotels and spas, as well as its other award-winning Florida resorts. In the state of Florida, Salamander manages Innisbrook Resort in Tampa Bay, Reunion Resort in Orlando and Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast.
“There are tremendous synergies between our three existing Florida resorts and The Henderson, and our experience of developing and operating iconic destination resorts will ensure that this property is properly positioned within the luxury market,” said Sheila C. Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts. “It has been our pleasure in getting to know the Dunavant team over the past few years, and we look forward to creating a resort hospitality environment befitting of its stunning setting.”
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