A Pink Palace in New Port Richey, the Historic Hacienda Hotel, Has Been Brought Back to Life




In the heart of New Port Richey, FL’s quaint little downtown, a historic hotel built in the 1920s in the Spanish Mediterranean style has been renovated and reopened. On the west coast of Florida, north of St. Petersberg, the Hacienda Hotel survived the recent Hurricane Ian largely unscathed.

Restored by the owner of Mount Dora’s Lakeside Inn, Jim Gunderson, the Hacienda Hotel once hosted Joseph Kennedy, Gloria Swanson, and Charlie Chaplin. Although the 40-room hotel has been brought back to its original layout, eighty to eighty-five percent of the internal structure is new, says Gunderson. However, as many historical details as possible have been kept, including chandeliers, moldings, and corbels in the lobby, and new touches were added, such as the front desk, which is made of reclaimed cypress from 1927.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, “Unique among Florida’s pink hotels, the outside walls have fish-shaped bumps that evoke mullet jumping in the nearby Pithlaschascotee River.” Whether this was on purpose, or is a nice interpretation of a motif just meant to texturize the walls and make the building look a little more Spanish and a little more authentic, it does look good.

The hotel has a restaurant, event room, and verandah that overlooks the nearby riverfront park. The only suite, with a separate sitting area, is called the Joseph Kennedy Suite, while a block of three rooms located on a mezzanine floor is collectively and jokingly called the “bordello” because women and bootleg liquor were purportedly smuggled in through a tunnel from the river during prohibition.

All images via the Hacienda Hotel.

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  1. Bootleg and women smuggled through a tunnel? Even in Florida time marches forward, thank God we can now walk through the front door with a woman on our arm without raising an eyebrow.


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