‘Old Florida is alive’ at The Hotel Jacaranda in Avon Park

Stepping into the Jacaranda Hotel in Avon Park is like stepping back in time.

“Old Florida is alive in the Jack Hotel. I think we wrote a definition for that,” laughed Jamie Bateman, who serves as CEO of the South Florida State College Foundation that owns the hotel.

Many residents describe the Jacaranda as a gem in downtown Avon Park. After two years of construction, the hotel opened in 1926. Southern Florida State College purchased the hotel in the late 1980s.

“We’ve done a lot of renovations to bring it back to the only historic hotel in Highlands County that’s still in operation,” Bateman explained.

With easy rail access, Avon Park became popular as a vacation destination in the early 1900s. It became so popular that it needed a large hotel to support tourism needs.

Babe Ruth was a regular visitor to the Hotel Jacaranda during spring training trips. Al Capone and Clark Gable also stayed at the hotel.

“If you love history, you’ll fit right in when you walk through these doors,” Bateman promised.

The restaurant at The Hotel Jacaranda serves both lunch and dinner. Check their website, www.hoteljac.com, for hours and room reservations.

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