The finishing touches are being put on the Brownwood Hotel & Spa as its opening day quickly approaches.
Guests of the hotel will find luxury at every turn, including a heated outdoor pool, large convention spaces and massive chandeliers, among other things.
Reservations for the 151-room hotel, located at 3003 Brownwood Blvd., are being taken now for Sunday, March 15 and beyond. The hotel features seven suites offering living rooms, wet bars and clawfoot bathtubs, as well as standard guest rooms that include marble showers, raw cement ceilings, modern technology and barn doors accessing the bathrooms.
The 215,000-square-foot hotel sits on 32 acres just north of the Grand Traverse shopping center near the Paddock Square area of Brownwood. Villages officials have said the complex will fit right in with area and quickly become a showpiece for the entire State Road 44 corridor.
The facility will feature a restaurant designed by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. Joseph Lee will serve as executive chef after previously working for a Disney Springs eatery that twice was named as the best theme-park restaurant in the world.
Guests will find a Chef’s Studio area for breakfast that promises more of a residential feel. That area will serve as a teaching kitchen where classes will be held throughout the year for residents and guests to enjoy and learn how to cook a variety of dishes. There also will be a lobby bar and a Chuck’s Wagon Food Truck, which seems to follow with a theme of placing food trucks in the southern end of The Villages.
A covered walkway will connect the hotel to the nearby Advanced Center for Healthcare at Brownwood, a bedless hospital of sorts that largely will focus on out-patient procedures. Patients of the five-story, 240,000-square-foot medical facility will be able to use a discreet exit and quickly retreat to their hotel rooms, thereby avoiding a hospital stay.
The Villages partnered with Amway Hotels of Grand Rapids, Mich., for the hotel’s design and construction. It will have a 10,000-square-foot conference center and banquet room and will keep some guest rooms in reserve for patients having procedures performed at the medical center.
Gilles Cassiani will serve as general manager of the new hotel. He grew up in a small town in the South of France and says he can’t wait to show his guests the many unique features the hotel has to offer. He’ll be joined by two Villagers – Banquet Manager Jackie LeBeau and Banquet Captain Tom Winters – as well as longtime hospitality executive Yomaira Borrero, a Villages High School graduate who will serve as the front office supervisor.
The first level of the specialty care medical facility will be an active environment incorporating a Walgreens retail pharmacy, lab, central registration, and an education and resource center to aid in the coordination of care for patients, as well as other complementary amenities. The multi-story building also will house physicians from The Villages Health, Lake Medical Imaging, Florida Cancer Specialists, St. Luke’s Laser Institute and Lake Centre for Rehab, among others.
The hotel and healthcare complex, which was first announced during the annual VHA-sponsored “Evening with the Developer” in May 2017, also boasts a large area for parking, although a parking garage that might be expected for medical patients doesn’t appear to be part of the plan. And it remains to be seen whether the facility will offer some type of shuttle service for guests and patients who are forced to park in the farthest-reaching areas of the expansive parking lot.