The Jacaranda Hotel, pictured above, is an historic hotel going back to the early 1920s. The “Jac” is located in Avon Park about 300 ft. from the Avon Park Shuffleboard courts at 109 East Main St. If you are shuffling in Avon Park, why not consider a visit OR an overnight stay at the “Jac”!! Their Lunch is excellent. In fact, why not devote a day, enjoy the Hotel, enjoy the Lunch, and then visit your favorite spots identified in the para in blue, below!!
The Jacaranda is the Perfect choice when you participate in the Juanita Harlow National early in December of each year. Click
Choose to attend the Juanita Harlow National and learn the fascinating story which led to the naming of the event!!!
The Jacaranda is close enough to Sebring to make it a great option as to where to stay for the Orange Blossom held early in January each year. Check the Preview or the FSA Website for dates for the current year. Read the article below and decide if you too would like to experience the JACARANDA.
Nestled in a quiet corner of Florida’s Heartland, The Hotel Jacaranda is the picture of Southern repose. Built in the 1920s and listed on the National Historic Register, Avon Park’s “gracious lady” boasts high ceilings and quiet hallways. In years gone by, the Jacaranda played hostess to the likes of Babe Ruth and Clark Gable. Today, the hotel radiates unequalled elegance, with a lobby that invites visitors into the warmth of its green, mauve, and beige furnishings. Guest rooms are comfortable and spacious. A sprawling veranda overlooks tree-lined Main Street and serves as a favorite gathering place for avid card players. The Jacaranda lies within easy driving distance of Cypress Gardens, Historic Bok Sanctuary, and Orlando’s numerous theme parks. After a day of sightseeing, guests can relax in the hotel’s swimming pool or hot tub.
History: As a true example of living history, The Hotel Jacaranda is one of the oldest continuously operating hotels in Highlands County. When the “Jac” opened in 1926, it took its name from a 150-year-old jacaranda tree that had been removed to make way for the hotel. Among its first guests were members of the St. Louis Cardinals, who came to Avon Park for spring training from 1927 to 1929. Photos of its famous guests, from Babe Ruth to Hollywood celebrities George Burns and Gracie Allen, adorn its dining room. During World War II, the grand hotel played a hand in the war effort by housing hundreds of servicemen who had come to the area to train as military pilots.
In 1988, the South Florida Community College Foundation, Inc., purchased the Jac with an eye toward preserving its historic character. As part of that ongoing effort, the Foundation has undertaken a major restorative project that is returning a street-level business mall to its original design. Through a partnership with South Florida Community College, culinary students perfect their talents by training in the Jac’s modern kitchen.
Lois and I were motivated to stay as we were shuffling in the Orange Blossom Florida State Tournament at Sebring in 2011 01 03. To travel from Lakeland, FL where we lived, to Sebring was just too early!! Lol Accordingly we decided to work at making a pleasant day, a pleasant week-end out of the event. We invited the Browns, Larry and Ruth, and the Tates, Max and Ruth to join Lois and I for the Jacaranda Brunch on Sunday, January 02, 2011. We did; they joined with us and we had both good food and more significantly, a great visit. From November through May, pianist Jeff Klein entertains with his musical favorites and special requests.
The Hotel Lobby is vintage; it is always clean and well maintained. The Lobby sets the stage; the Lobby is the STAGE! At this time of year, November, December and January, Christmas decorations adorn the lobby. The decorations are all donated and installed by a women’s group from Winter Haven.
AND NOW TO OUR ROOM: To get from the Lobby to your room requires the service of the old style elevator; the style used by Eatons and Simpsons some 60 years ago; the type which must be operated by a staff member of the Hotel. This person kindly operated the elevator and also guided us to our room, explained where the xtra bedding was, pointing out that we had no individual control of room heat, but rather the Hotel was on one thermostat! Room was clean; ample supply of towels was on hand and we were told that should we wish anything else, it was only necessary to call the office. We had a very large shower, although the shower head was “not the most effective”! Our sink was of the original style, utilized 1920-1930, open in the main bedroom. The light above the sink was also of the earlier time. Although it appeared they had attempted to have vintage furniture, in fact I believe the furnishings were copies.
Finally to the Bed: Acceptable is the most positive descriptive word we could apply. This may be by design, that is, it too may be from the same era as the Hotel!!
In summary it was an experience, an interesting experience and we are glad that we stayed in the JACARANDA HOTEL OF AVON PARK!
Stan McCormack writing first in 2011 and later on 2015 11 17.