Historic Grand Lady of Dunedin hotel welcomes first guests

Dunedin’s historic Fenway Hotel will open its doors to guests for the first time this week following a series of extensive renovations.

Dubbed "The Grand Lady of Dunedin," the hotel was first opened in 1927 and quickly became a pride of the city, where notable musicians, politicians, and Gulf Coast sportsmen and -women came to stay. But after falling into disrepair by the 2000s, the Fenway’s future was uncertain.

Located at 453 Edgewater Drive, Dunedin, the hotel has now become a member of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. The project was undertaken by a Tampa-based hospitality company Mainsail Lodging and Development in collaboration with the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA.

“We received a phone call from the leadership of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA asking if we would be interested in helping revive and manage the historic Fenway Hotel," says Tom Haines, VP of Operations at Mainsail. "The answer was a resounding yes. Like so many people, we had been driving past the building for many years wondering why someone had not turned it back into a hotel. We knew right away it would fit perfectly into our skill set and be a great Autograph Collection hotel.”

The hotel will now feature 83 renovated guest rooms, a rooftop bar with views of St. Joseph Sounds, 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, and the HEW Parlor & Chophouse, a chef-driven restaurant with a long whiskey list. Live music will be featured in the lobby throughout the week and activities like croquet, badminton, and Tai Chi will be offered on the lawn.

Though guest rooms will be available from November 8 on, the Fenway is already welcoming customers to the HEW and Hi-Fi Rooftop Bar. November 10 and 11 will mark the debut of the hotel’s Jazz Weekend Brunch, with steak and eggs for two, surf and turf Benedict, french toast pudding, and more.

The total cost of the project was $30 million. Maryland-based David Nelson Construction served as general contractor.
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Dyllan Furness is a freelance writer and born-again Floridian based in Tampa. He covers the Tampa Bay Area’s development boom for 83 Degrees, with an eye out for sustainable and community-driven initiatives.