WINDERMERE, FL—-With standard guestrooms the size of studio apartments and two-bedroom suites spanning 2,500 square feet, the Key West Resort on Lake Dora in Tavares, Fla., is attracting guests near and far – especially residents from nearby Orlando who are looking for a weekend getaway with a Key West Island appeal.
Originally designed as a single 16-unit lakefront studio apartment building, the newly-expanded Key West Resort now features three buildings comprised of 64 units, a marina, family splash park, and multiple bars, restaurants and shops lining W. Main and Ruby Streets, adjacent to Wooten Park and the city’s shopping, business and entertainment district. With weekend occupancy at peak capacity and weekday business on a steady climb, owner Alex Cooke said he is attributing his property’s success to the ongoing marketing and infrastructure support of Vimana Franchise Systems LLC and the continued reinvestment by the City to beautify and revitalize the area.
“The Key West Resort on Lake Dora is the newest hotel in Tavares and the only hotel downtown,” Cooke said. “This area, which consists of 16 city blocks, is an entertainment mecca. A licensed Entertainment District, visitors can carry open-bottle beverages from bar to bar, restaurant to restaurant. Strolling between Hemingway’s Wine & Cigar Bar, the Kālua Hale Beach Bar, and O’Keefe’s Irish Pub, to the Tiki West Raw Bar & Grill, Brü Taphouse, Puddle Jumper’s Restaurant and Bar, and Lago Dora Ristorante, Pizzeria & Bar, leaves guests feeling like they are on the island of Key West. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Jones Brothers Air and Seaplane Adventures, gifts and sundries shops, Get Wet Watersports, Freedom Boat Club and many other retailers are adding to the island feel and keeping the local economy alive.
“This is truly a unique destination,” Cooke said. “When the original building opening in 2014 as a studio apartment complex, the real estate market was still in a downturn. The original owner wanted to convert it to a B&B. Instead, I leased it from him in 2015, opened the second building, joined the Vimana franchise and added the Key West flag. It was the smartest move I could make. Recently, we added a third building, and today, the entire complex is operating as a Key West Resort. I attribute a lot of our recent growth and success to Vimana’s new Constellation CRS that gives us a major meta-channel presence. The efforts put forth by the Vimana and the City are making a big difference in helping us spread the word about this property which was once Tavares’ ‘best kept secret.’”
Local Destination, Island Appeal
The Key West Resort on Lake Dora boasts comfort, style and convenience. King and Queen rooms are oversized, spacious, modern and clean and include lakeview balconies. Suites feature two bedrooms, two bathrooms, wrap-around balconies, a living room, dining room area, kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Amenities include hi-speed Internet, and a full-size, glow-at-night outdoor pool. Breakfast is complimentary each morning at one of the favorite local restaurants. The Key West Resort on Lake Dora offers the closest lodging to the Tavares Pavilion on the Lake, one of Central Florida's premier wedding and event venues. The rooftops of Buildings 1 and 3 are also offered as informal wedding and social spaces.
Tavares’ vibrant downtown features live music and entertainment on most nights, as well as easy access to boating and jet skiing, vintage and antique shopping, train excursions, and tours of the lakes and scenery surrounding the hotel from land, sea and sky.
“We are delighted that the Key West Resort on Lake Dora is achieving such tremendous success in Tavares,” said Steve Belmonte, Vimana Franchise Systems CEO. “Expanding the property to include a third building was a solid investment, as the overall property is proving to be a big draw for travelers – including those in the local markets. Oftentimes people in Orlando and surrounding areas just want to get away from the tourists and commercialization. Tavares is a destination few people have ever experienced; if you didn’t know it, you’d think you were on the island of Key West.
“Key West Inns, Hotels & Resorts is a unique leisure brand that provides exceptional value to travelers,” Belmonte said. “It is ideal for hotel owners who are looking to convert their existing assets into a franchise brand that has a low cost of entry and highly competitive terms. Key West Inns, Hotels & Resorts even offer optional customized Key West theming packages designed to make each property stand out within the local market. Alex Cooke’s success in Tavares is just one example of many success stories within the Key West family. We wish him and the city of Tavares continued growth and success.”