NAVARRE BEACH — Visitors and locals wanting to enjoy a few days at the beach will now have a brand new hotel to stay.
Springhill Suites Marriott officially opened Thursday, and celebrated its grand opening Saturday with live music and tours.
The 161-room hotel at 8375 Gulf Blvd. replaces the old Holiday Inn, which was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Construction began in June 2015, but the hotel hit some early setbacks, including delays during shorebird nesting season and while the foundation was redesigned.
“We are the only hotel and Beach House Bar & Grill in Navarre Beach,” said Angie Lee, the hotel’s director of sales. “A lot of locals are stopping by to check out the new restaurant and rooms.”
The hotel offers an “ocean-view” meeting room where people can have formal occasions or intimate affairs. Guests can also enjoy a lazy river, outdoor and indoor pools, free Wi-Fi and satellite and online streaming for TV.
“This is like the biggest thing Navarre has had in a while,” said local Kathryn Hilt, who checked out Springhill Suites on Saturday. “It will be easier to just rent a room, relax and enjoy the beach for a weekend and just get away from home.”
Hilt said her family is thinking about having a staycation in July.
Celebrating a friend’s birthday at the hotel’s lobby area and bar, Shelley Walkup said the hotel’s rooms are very crisp and clean.
“I really like the laid-back and private feel of the hotel,” said Walkup, of Gulf Breeze. “It’s quiet and calm here in Navarre Beach. … It’s nice to get away and just enjoy the environment.”