A Hotel that is a Work of Heart
Article and photos by Kathleen Walls
|The Alfond Inn in Winter Park,
The Alfond Inn is not built to make its owner rich. In fact,
it is going to give away all the money it earns. This brand new
112 room boutique hotel in the heart of Winter Park, Florida is
owned by Rollins
College. They call it "A Work of Heart." All net revenue
generated by the hotel and its restaurant,
Hamilton's Kitchen, will go to The Alfond Scholars
program fund, the College's premier scholarship fund, over the
next 25 years or until the endowment principal reaches $50
million, whichever comes later.
The hotel should generate boodles judging by
its state-of-the-art accommodations and dining. The $12.5-million
inn, funded by a grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation, also
boasts a pool and fitness center, and 10,000 square feet of very
adaptable meeting space that would work as well for a high society
wedding as it would for a convention or corporate board meeting.
It's designed in the Spanish Mediterranean Style with lots of
arches, columns, trellises and wrought iron both inside and out.
|Rooftop pool at Alfond Inn
The conservatory, with its huge dome is a
true work of art in itself. Walking through the corridors and public
area has a certain medieval feeling. The icing on the cake is The
Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art for Rollins College. The
100-plus piece collection has not been exhibited elsewhere and is
artfully displayed throughout the public areas at The Alfond Inn.
|The conservatory at the Alfond Inn
The rooms there have it all. They are elegant
with a simple sophistication that is never overdone. They are styled
in soft earth tones meant to sooth and relax a tired traveler. The
art in the rooms are images from the campus of Rollins College.
|Plush room at the Alfond Inn
Their Signature Suite, on the fifth floor, is
a one of a kind 810 square feet of elegant living with separate
bedroom and living room with a bath that you could live in.
It has a balcony overlooking Lake Osceola. What a view!
If the Signature Suite is booked up, there
are two other suites that will make you drool; the Boutique Suite
that is 550 square feet and the Luxury Suite which has a second half
bath and measures out at a whopping 1,000 square feet. Both of these
suites have separate living and sleeping areas.
The regular rooms are nothing to sneeze at
either. You can book a King or a Double Queen Room. Whatever your
choice, you will have all the amenities; coffee makers with an
assortment of Seattle's Best Coffee and Tazo Teas. free wireless
internet, a refrigerator, safe and all the other amenities you
expect in an upscale hotel.
For those who travel with pets, this is a
perfect spot. It has several rooms that are pet friendly.
|Just one of Alfond's art pieces
When you go be sure to take time to relax at
the rooftop pool. It's on the second floor and has some great views
from its courtyard. Then stop in at the fitness and do a workout.
You will need to burn off those calories
before–and especially after– you visit Hamilton's Kitchen. This the
most down-to-earth upscale restaurant you'll ever see. It's designed
to make you feel like you are sitting in Grandma's kitchen.
|Buffet set for press at Alfond
Inn's Hamilton's Kitchen
The name, Hamilton's Kitchen, is in honor of
Hamilton Holt, eighth president of Rollins College. It's designed
with lots of wood; exposed beams, oak floors
and an authentic looking
farmers table. Chairs are deliberately mismatch to give that homey
Another thing it has in common with Grandma's
kitchen is the use of the farm to table concept. Of course, Grandma
took it for granted her food was fresh from the farm. Not so today
with many food sources.
|Portion of dessert bar
||Well stocked bar at Alfond Inn
Executive Chef J. Christopher Windus is
passionate about the freshness of his food. He incorporates local
products such as Apalachicola oysters, Florida Gulf shrimp and
Florida grown produce and meats in his innovative menu. Alford Inn
lured him away from his previous position as executive chef at
Todd English's Bluezoo at
the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel. While under his
leadership, that restaurant was awarded the AAA Four Diamond award
annually, Fodor's Choice Award and the Culinary Hospitality Sant�
Award for Innovation.
Todd English chose Chef Windus as his co-captain for Israel's
cooking competition show, Krav Sakinim, and they walked away
with the Grand Champion title. At the press preview, the culinary
offerings included samples of Chef Windus' Apalachicola Oysters
Rockefeller, Braised Short Rib, Kale Cesar, Glazed Sweet Potatoes,
and so many others choices it's impossible to remember. The dessert
bar stood out in memory for its Cr�me Brule, cheesecake and
chocolate cake but they were not alone. So I can state for a fact,
he's a gem.
|Courtyard at Alfond Inn
Jane McLean, Director of Weddings and Social
Events, said they were
actually booked up for a few nights in August.
How wonderful and especially so for a hotel with so much
Winter Park isn't the only artsy part of
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