Key International tops off St. Augustine Beach resort

Coastal resort celebrates pinnacle construction milestone with summer soiree


Key International – a real estate investment and development company specializing in hospitality – has topped off the first phase of construction on Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort. The resort, which will serve as a business, leisure and event destination, is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018.

An exclusive, on-site topping off celebration was held July 18 in the resort’s oceanfront ballroom. Local city and state officials, business leaders, as well as representatives from the owner, brand and operator were on-hand to celebrate this milestone in construction.

“We are thrilled to see this St. Augustine Beach resort come to life,” said Diego Ardid, co-president of Key International. “Reaching this monumental construction milestone brings us one step closer to filling the need for a family-friendly resort product in this market, an unmatched beachfront location that couples an extensive collection of active and leisure amenities with modern finishes and dependable guest services.”

Set adjacent to Anastasia State Park and steps from the sand, Key International represetatives say the property will be one of the only upscale beach resorts in the St. Augustine market and one of only five beach-front properties with a resort designation under the Embassy Suites by Hilton flag. Boasting 535 feet of ocean frontage, it is intended to be a wedding, vacation and business destination.

“Adapted to blend seamlessly into St. Augustine’s majestic coastal skyline, this resort is a testament to both the rising demand for suite-style hotels in prominent leisure and business event destinations, and the overall flexibility of Embassy Suites’ prototype,” said Alan Roberts, global head, Embassy Suites by Hilton. “We are proud to add this oceanfront property to our growing portfolio of All Suites by Hilton hotels, and look forward to delighting guests with our modern value-added amenities and one of a kind upscale all-suite experience.”

The resort will have 175 keys, including king, studio king, two-bedroom and queen-queen suites, and several picturesque outdoor venues with ocean views. Each suite is equipped with a separate living area, private bedroom and wet bar. In-room entertainment will be provided by two high-definition, flat-screen televisions. The second phase of construction will add an additional 90 to 100 accommodations to the resort.

Guests will enjoy a wide selection of offerings and lifestyle amenities, including 7,500 square feet of indoor meeting and social gathering space, an oceanfront pool bar, an expansive resort pool, direct beach access, multiple dining options and a fitness center. The hotel will also offer guests Embassy Suites’ signature amenities, including free made-to-order breakfast each morning and a complimentary two-hour evening reception with drinks and snacks.

As a licensed Starbucks® franchise, the resort will also include a full-service coffee experience, serving as a gathering place for guests and locals seeking a caffeine fix, cold-pressed juice, pastry or on-the-go snacks.

The resort offers an intimate outdoor dedicated wedding lawn, complete with a pergola framing the St. Augustine Beach pier, as well as an indoor ballroom. The site will feature a simplistic, flexible design that can be altered to fit any style or occasion.

J. Banks Design, the award-winning team behind the new Embassy Suites by Hilton interiors, was selected for their expertise in coastal hospitality design. A symphony of colors and textures can be found in every room, using local materials like Coquina from neighboring beaches, coral stone, wood ceilings and over-scale driftwood sculptures.

Designed by the architects of PFVS Architecture, the new Embassy Suites by Hilton will pay tribute to the “Nation’s Oldest City,” pairing the charm of a Mediterranean villa with the elegance and amenities of a beachfront destination.

The property occupies a 6.5-acre enclave stretching from A1A Beach Boulevard to the Atlantic Ocean, allowing for maximum ocean-view accommodations. Its location next to Anastasia State Park prevents any development to the north, preserving the views of St. Augustine Beach from the lobby, outdoor terrace, ballroom windows and pre-function terrace.

Key International has partnered with hotel operator Hospitality Ventures Management Group – an Atlanta-based, fully-integrated hotel management and ownership company – to manage the resort. The new property, which Key International acquired for $4 million in 2015, joins the firm’s portfolio of hospitality, commercial and residential real estate projects throughout the Southeast U.S. and in Spain. Key International owns and manages a diverse collection of hotels, several of which are under the Marriott, Hilton and IHG flags.