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Sunday, May 22, 2022

New owner promises better days ahead for original hotel in The Villages

The new owner has promised better days are ahead for the original hotel in The Villages.

Larry Ducat
Larry Ducat

La Hacienda Hotel was built in 1996. It is located between the Holiday Inn Express and the Comfort Inn & Suites at Spanish Springs. La Hacienda Hotel was owned for many years by Larry Ducat, owner of Fiesta Bowl. He expressed a desire in 2014 to convert the hotel into condominiums.

However, the hotel fell into disrepair, including not living up to fire code regulations.

In July, Lady Lake Code Enforcement ordered the hotel to be vacated until the many problems at the hotel could be remedied. Later that month, police made a battery arrest at the hotel and it was clear that there were still people staying at the hotel. There was also a drug arrest at the hotel.

An inspection of the hotel prompted the discovery of a “bad odor.” It was clear that drug use was rampant at the hotel.

A code enforcement officer had a hard time tracking down Ducat, who was still the hotel’s owner at that point. When he finally consented to a meeting with town officials, Ducat claimed he was not aware of the “extent of the problem.”

La Hacienda Hotel was the original hotel in The Villages.

All of the details of the problems at the hotel were made public during a code enforcement hearing Tuesday morning at Lady Lake Town Hall.

Craig Musil, who also owns the Holiday Inn Express and the Comfort Inn & Suites, attended the hearing and indicated he purchased La Hacienda Hotel from Ducat.

“We really want this hotel to be brought back into compliance,” Musil told Special Magistrate Joshua Bills.

Musil said that having the eyesore between his other two hotels is not conducive to business.

He said he has signed a franchise agreement and La Hacienda Hotel will become a Best Western.

“There is going to be a lot of money spent on this hotel,” Musil said.

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