The new owners of Gulfport’s historic Peninsula Inn have given Spectrum Bay News 9 a glimpse of how they will transform the historic building that has stood in the heart of Gulfport since 1905.
What do you want to know
- Gulfport’s historic Peninsula Inn has been part of town since 1905
- The hostel’s new owners plan to transform the building
- Casa Florida officials, however, said the work they would carry out would preserve the building’s history and character.
New owner Gaston Gonzalez, who co-founded Miami hotel group Casa Florida, plans to preserve the building’s history and character, while bringing cocktail culture to the area.
“We are going to totally change the look of the rooms,” he said. “We’ll have cocktail names to give us a concept inside. Let’s say it’s the daiquiri room, when you walk in you’ll feel like you’re in Cuba.
Gonzalez said visitors will also feel like they’ve traveled back in time as they use antique elevators that were installed when the hostel was run as a hospital to treat veterans after World War II.
He said it was important to find the stories in the properties he restores.
“Make sure it’s told the right way, preserved the right way for generations,” Gonzalez said.
Originally from Argentina, Gonzalez rose through the ranks of the service industry. He said the hotel will include more than a dozen refreshed suites and the restaurant and lobby will be renovated.
“During the day, we’ll set up a kind of cafe workspace, and at night, it’ll turn into a cocktail bar in the lobby with classic cocktails,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez wants this preservation project to extend beyond the fresh coat of paint on the walls and into the community, opening up this hall to the city — a city he says he fell in love with when he first visited in 2016.
He said the people, the art and the vibe spoke to him about creating something interesting for the community.
The owners have yet to decide if they will change their name, but hope to open the lobby by the end of July.