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East County Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018 10 months ago

An EVEN better option for overnight stays?

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Wellness-focused hotel debuts in Lakewood Ranch.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

The new hotel in the Lakewood Ranch area hopes its product is even better.

Renovated and reopened as a wellness-focused hotel, the Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch is now doing business as an Even brand hotel, the first in the state.

The hotel celebrated its grand reopening Jan. 10 with a dedication with the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance.

“This is exciting for us,” said Rob Ferguson, corporate director of sales for the hotel. “This is a brand that

Intercontinental Hotel Group is launching. We’re the first ones in the Southeast. They want us to be the showcase hotel.”

“It’s all about wellness,” he said. “We have a lot of options for you if you want to continue the routine you have at home.”

Including the Lakewood Ranch location, IHG has six Even hotels in the United States and another 12 slated to open in 2018, Ferguson said.

The Even concept feeds off the idea that the hotel is an “Even better” place to stay, eat or relax, for example. The brand’s core concepts are to keep active, eat well, rest easy and accomplish more, and it hopes patrons accomplish those goals through its offerings.

“This is a new chain and this is a lifestyle brand,” General Manager Dale Sconyers added. “What does wellness mean to each of us?”

Much of the concept is focused on fitness.

“Our big hook is there’s workout equipment in every room,” Ferguson said, noting there are yoga mats and balls, strength training equipment, 18 television channels of exercise videos and Even a 50-page do-it-yourself workout binder in each room. 

Fitness is just one component. The brand’s mantra is to meet the wellness expectations of each patron, whether that means a yoga workout or eating a kale salad with a specialty mixed drink.

The Cork and Kale dining area offers sit-down breakfast, lunch and dinner, which features menu items such as green apple French toast, a kale salad with medjool dates and hazelnuts, shrimp tacos, seared salmon or a flourless chocolate cake.

There’s also a “grab-and-go” section, where patrons can get daily made items or fresh-squeezed orange juice when the kitchen is closed.

Ferguson said IHG made the $6 million investment to renovate the already successful Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch primarily to attract more corporate business. The 128-room Holiday Inn, which opened in 2001, was Lakewood Ranch’s first hotel.

Room nights at Even Hotel start around $150.

Locally, IHG owns the Fairfield Inn and Suites Lakewood Ranch.

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