In April of 2016, a town favorite — the Lodge, formerly known as The Cabot Lodge — was shut down and converted into the DoubleTree hotel. The Lodge provided Gainesville with a hotel that embodied comfort and hominess but lacked modernism. Having opened in 1987, the Lodge felt too outdated for present day but still proved to have “good bones,” said Director of Sales and Marketing Megan Eckdahl. This made for the perfect foundation of a new hotel. As a result, the DoubleTree decided to revamp the Gainesville classic into a stylish and modern locale.
And what better way to fit into the community than to show Gator pride? The hotel is decorated with tasteful orange and blue accents that proudly display community spirit. The outside area provides a relaxed setting with lights strung all around the deck. It even has ping pong tables and corn hole sets, all orange and blue, to form a casual environment.
“There hasn’t been a hotel that’s really themed with a collegiate style,” Eckdahl said. “Our hotel is just something different; it’s outside the box.”
The hotel also boats over 1,900 square feet of meeting space for private and corporate events. Companies can take advantage of the outside area or can take over the inside lounge area, which includes a bar and restaurant called the Fodder and Shine. With plenty of chairs and tables, all luxurious and aesthetically pleasing, the ambience is ideal for any professional affair.
The DoubleTree provides a unique space for Gainesville residents, companies and out-of-towners, just like the other DoubleTrees across the country. The company wants people to feel as if they are in their own space while at the hotel, with comfort, luxury and a welcoming staff, not to mention their classic cookie, which is given to each guest.
“The DoubleTree culture is about the experience,” Eckdahl said. “We want people to feel like when they’re leaving, they’re leaving home and can’t wait to come back.”
The new hotel has already had what Eckdahl refers to as an “influx of University of Florida guests” in the few months that it has been opened. A variety of students, parents and Gator football fans have all stayed at the hotel since its opening. Eckdahl expects an increase in “snowbird” guests as the winter months proceed and hopes locals will stop by for a meal or cocktail with their friends and family. Eckdahl stresses that the hotel is more than just a place to sleep — it’s a place of comfort and enjoyment.
“I think the location is amazing, and the culture is amazing, and our staff is amazing,” Eckdahl said. “And it’s just going to reassure everyone when they come that they’re not just staying at a hotel. They’re staying at home.”
CARA GLASS is a third-year journalism student at the University of Florida. Her passions include writing, styling and properly using sarcasm. She hopes to one day work at a fashion magazine in New York City, where her witty humor and knack for style will be appreciated.