PANAMA CITY BEACH — As the summer season approaches, hotel options across the "World's Most Beautiful Beaches" continue to expand for visitors.
Homewood Suites by Hilton held its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday. Located at 47 Chip Seal Parkway, adjacent to the $40 million Publix Sports Park, the hotel is the first Homewood Suites by Hilton in the Bay County area.
It offers a short drive to restaurants, beaches and water activities available in the Grand Lagoon area, and it's within a short drive of Pier Park.
The St. Joe Co. and Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce led Thursday's ceremony, inviting the community to help celebrate with light refreshments and tours around the property led by hotel staff.
Homewood Suites began pre-sale bookings more than two months ago. General Manager Jean Capps said it's the perfect time to open the hotel and she's elated to welcome the first guests.
"We've seen a great versatility in the interest and demand for the hotel, including the sports groups, leisure travelers, business travelers, military and government," Capps said. "We offer a healthy lifestyle for all the adventure that Panama City Beach brings."
The new hotel is four stories and features 131 rooms and suites, each equipped with a full kitchen and refrigerator. Amenities include a swimming pool, fitness center, and complimentary hot breakfast served seven days a week. In addition, the hotel staff plans to hold evening socials on Wednesday nights, Capps said.
"Homewood Suites properties have outdoor grills, and we plan to utilize that as a part of our evening socials as a reception for our guests with a variety of snacks, beer and wine for two hours each week," she said.
Ground was broken for the hotel in November 2020. It will employ 57 people, with staff positions still available, Capps said.
"We're very pleased to again partner with Hilton to bring a new property to Panama City Beach," said Andrew Czarnecki, St. Joe Co. vice president of resort operations. "This location is a perfect fit for families, teams and groups visiting for tournaments and events at the Publix Sports Park."
Homewood Suites is the sixth area hotel to open that is either owned or managed by The St. Joe Co. The other properties are WaterColor Inn, The Pearl Hotel, Watersound Inn, TownePlace Suites and the Hilton Garden Inn. St. Joe partnered with Cardella Construction Co. on the Homewood Suites project.
This article originally appeared on The News Herald: Homewood Suites adds to impressive list of Panama City Beach FL hotels