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Themed hotel premieres in Gulfport’s downtown

David Krakow

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The Peninsula Bed & Cocktails, formerly the Historic Peninsula Inn. Photos by David Krakow.

The name of Gulfport’s new boutique hotel doesn’t exactly roll easily off the tongue. But like of most of what you’ll find inside, it is true to its philosophy.

The Peninsula Bed & Cocktails indeed celebrates mixology and the allure of drink. From the elevator that takes you to its second and third floors to the names of the rooms themselves, cocktail culture is never far away.

“We know Gulfport is an area that is really starting to evolve in the food and beverage game,” explained Property Manager Kayla Burch. “We thought it was perfect for the area.”

Located in the heart of Gulfport’s main strip at 2937 Beach Blvd., Peninsula recently started operations with a soft opening, greeting its first guests in early November. Grand opening is planned for mid-January. Guests up until now have booked via word-of-mouth and third-party resellers.

The ability to consume adult beverages greets you as soon as you step inside the 118-year-old building painted in muted yellows; straight ahead is a bar, not a front desk. The bar will be manned 4-10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday once the hotel opens for good. There is no front desk; the Peninsula will be an almost staff-free property including contactless check-in and check-out. Guests will be messaged the code for keypad entry to the hotel’s 16 rooms. There will be housekeeping and maintenance on property, but no overnight staff. Burch said there will be full messaging software for guests to utilize as needed.  

Adjacent to the lobby bar is an elevator that, naturally, contains a bar. There is a shelf with glasses and half-filled bottles. Unlike the consumables elsewhere, this is just a prop; everything is nailed to the shelf. Immediately to the left is a vintage 1960s poster with a very young Woody Allen hawking Smirnoff vodka.

The 16 guest rooms will range in price between $200-300 nightly. The Greyhound, one of two suites in the hotel, has free snacks and two pictures on the wall: One, the story of the drink and the second a recipe. The explanation/recipe pictures are displayed in each room including the Pina Colada – which features a pink throw blanket and pineapple wallpaper – the Negroni, the Mai Tai, the Manhattan and others. Each room has a flat screen television for streaming.

The Pina Colada Room.

The first floor also has a lounge where complimentary continental breakfast will be served each morning from 8 to 10 a.m.; there is seating for around 20 and an expansive outdoor patio. There will be on-site food and beverage sometime next year, Burch explained, with a yet-to-be-determined partner. There will, for now, be light bites served at the lobby bar.

The third floor features a guest lounge with tables and chairs, snacks and an antique desk. The retro modern aesthetic is everywhere, right down to the ’50s-era appliances in the first-floor lounge.

A hotel through most of its history, the building also housed a hospital during World War II. It was most recently The Historic Peninsula Inn, which closed in mid-2022. Florida House Reality LLC purchased it for just under $3 million, triggering the 18-month renovation.

Burch is excited to plant her flag on Gulfport’s main strip. “This is where the action is,” she said. “We want to be a pillar of the community. Everyone’s been wondering what’s been going on (since the previous hotel closed). People have a sense of investment in this building.”

Burch said that occupancy for 2024 is looking strong, with interest in everything from wedding blocks to groups asking about renting the entire hotel. She’s also had local officials inquire about hosting events.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Elizabeth Neily

    December 23, 2023at4:49 pm

    Actually it was named Peninsular Inn about 20 years ago. It’s original name was The Cedars. I was on the Historic Preservation Committee that oversaw its reopening as an historic property back then after it had been closed for many years before that.

  2. Avatar

    Sally Wilkinson

    December 23, 2023at1:13 pm

    Congratulation ! So happy to see it opening. Hopefully will be able to hang on the front porch soon!

  3. Avatar

    Carol Stolz

    December 23, 2023at1:05 pm

    Thus is to bad. Should have left it the Peninsula Inn which it’s been for a 100 yrs 😩

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