As thousands of Floridians were affected by the devastating damage of Hurricane Ian, hotels across the state opened their doors to provide accommodations and support.
Visit Florida has worked closely with authorities and travel brands, such as Expedia, Airbnb and hoteliers throughout the state to connect displaced Floridians with resources for finding suitable short- and long-term accommodations.
Earlier this week, the organization learned of 23 families who evacuated from their homes in Lee County while their newborns were in NICU care, and were urgently in need of temporary housing in Broward County as their infants were being transferred to nearby hospitals. Thanks to the Broward hospitality industry, Visit Florida was able to secure accommodations for every single family in need of assistance.
The donated rooms, spanning across 19 hotels in Broward County, will be provided to the families free of charge while their babies receive life-saving medical care from Broward Health, Joe Dimaggio, Memorial Miromar and Memorial West Hospital.
Hotels donating rooms:
- Bahia Mar
- Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach
- Costa Hollywood
- Diplomat Beach Resort
- Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale 17th Street
- Four Seasons Ft. Lauderdale
- Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa
- Hilton Garden Ft. Lauderdale Airport
- Hollywood Beach Marriott Hotel
- Maren Curio Collection by Hilton
- Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort
- Marriott Ft. Lauderdale Airport
- Renaissance Fort Lauderdale West – Plantation
- Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale Riverside Hotel
- Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
- The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
- The Pelican Grand
- W Fort Lauderdale
“We are humbled to be able to help Floridians recover from the devastating impact of Hurricane Ian,” said Dana Young, president/CEO, Visit Florida. “This incredible act of generosity from our hotel partners ensures that some of Florida’s most vulnerable residents are still able to get critical medical care despite being displaced by the storm. We sincerely thank these hotels for their donations to Florida’s NICU families and making such a positive impact on our state.”
“When Dana Young contacted us to help these Southwest Florida families in need, the answer was an immediate ‘yes!’ and we mobilized,” said Heiko Dobrikow, EVP/GM, The Las Olas Company/Riverside Hotel, said. “Within less than 12 hours, the Broward County Hoteliers committed to take care of our fellow residents and provide a small sense of peace during their difficult times.”
TradeWinds Island Resorts—the Island Grand and RumFish Beach Resort—have created a new “Shore to Shore” give back program supporting response and recovery activities for communities impacted by the hurricane. Through Dec. 22, TradeWinds will donate $20 per room, per night to the Florida Disaster Fund, the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they recover during times of emergency or disaster.
“Being a coastal community, we empathize with our neighbors to the south and understand the hardships so many are dealing with right now,” said Bob LaCasse, managing director, TradeWinds Island Resorts. “This new initiative is our way of helping, from our shore to their shore.”
Meliá Orlando Celebration has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist the Osceola County community and its hotel employees in the days following the hurricane.
“We are extremely grateful for our team who stayed at the hotel prior to and throughout Hurricane Ian to assure all our guests were safe and that hotel operations resumed,” said Antonio Baez, senior operations director, U.S. Hotels, Meliá Hotels & Resorts and GM, Meliá Orlando Celebration. “Thankfully the hotel suffered no damage and is fully operational along with all the major theme parks nearby. With the hard work of our team, we remain on track for the October 8th grand opening of the hotel’s new restaurant, The Wilson. Along with providing service for those traveling to the Orlando area, our team is dedicated to providing relief and assistance to the celebration community effective by the hurricane.”
Through its partnership with FEMA, the hotel is offering families and individuals affected by the hurricane a discount of up to 55% off the best rate of the season and a waived pet fee. Along with shelter, guestroom refrigerators will also be stocked with essentials including milk, bread, cereal, juices and eggs.
The hotel has also extended its preferred hotel nights agreement with Advent Health Celebration whose associates work nearby, along with providing accommodations for hotel employees and their families displaced due to flooding. As it finalizes its plan to adopt a school as part of the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging (CFHLA) Adopt A School program, Meliá Orlando Celebration and its employees have been volunteering their time at the Elementary K8 Celebration School.
In addition to all the support the hotel is providing to its community, during the month of October, Meliá Hotels International will donate $5 for every new www.melia.com booking to the Florida Disaster Fund in association with the Volunteer Florida Foundation.