The iconic ship-shaped B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale is injecting new life into its guest rooms, lobby, meeting space and other public areas as a part of an extensive renovation project now underway. The renovations — slated for completion in early 2016 — will include new color schemes, furnishings and upgraded bathrooms in the 487 rooms of the property first known as "The Yankee Clipper," a hotel official said this week.
Inspiration for the guestrooms' new blue and grey color palette was drawn from the resort's waterside setting. Rooms will also feature new sea turtle art.
"It's accenting the fact that you're in a beachfront locale," said Chris Tompkins, chief operating officer of Weston-based B Hotels & Resorts, of the new room décor.
The Fort Lauderdale resort at 1140 Seabreeze Blvd. — most recently branded as Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel — joined B Hotels' portfolio of lifestyle hotels in December after it was bought by an affiliate of Weston-based Insite Group and a joint venture partner.
The historic property first opened in July 1956 as the 150-room Yankee Clipper. The Yankee Clipper later joined Sheraton and over the decades had expanded and upgraded into a nearly 500-room property. Today it remains one of only four properties located directly on Fort Lauderdale beach, officials said. In 2016, it will celebrate 60 years in the destination.
The resort's renovated lobby will have a more open and spacious look and feel with floor-to-ceiling windows and a new staircase connecting guests to meeting space on the second floor.
"Aesthetically it will have a very appealing and truly dramatic look and feel than what it has now," Tompkins said of the lobby transformation.
B Ocean's popular Wreck Bar is also getting interior upgrades and new decor but its historical elements will remain intact, he added. A new "Grab n Go" dining outlet is also planned.
Additionally the resort's pool and beach area will be revamped as well as its food and beverage offerings.
"We have the ability to serve food and beverage on the beach and we want to capitalize on that unique proposition," Tompkins added.
The renovation will nearly double the resort's flexible indoor function space to 14,000 square feet and feature new design and technology, he noted. Property improvements also include a new fitness area and two signature spa suites that will offer specialized spa treatments.
B Ocean Resort will remain open during the renovation as it's expected to have minimal impact on guests.
The Fort Lauderdale resort has fared "really, really well" in the months following its conversion to B Ocean, Tompkins noted.
"A lot of people have come back to the hotel year after year because it's an icon and they've got memories here," he said. "The approachability of our team allows us to bring this landmark back to life, welcoming guests from yesterday while saying hello to the guests of tomorrow."
The property renovation is coming at a time when Broward County has enjoyed 66 consecutive months of hotel occupancy growth through May this year. And more tourism growth is projected in the near term.
"It's a very exciting time for the brand," said Tompkins. "This [Fort Lauderdale] market has only a bright future ahead of it."
As appeared in the Sun-Sentinel.