The expansion will add 302 guest rooms, featuring an enhanced, modern look, in a new tower located adjacent to the resort’s pools and connected to the current Everglades Atrium. The addition will bring the total room inventory to 1,718.
An additional 90,000 square feet of carpeted meeting and pre-function space will be added to the resort’s current 400,000 square feet. When complete, Gaylord Palms will offer nearly a half-million square feet of space that will firmly establish the resort as a destination for both large and small conventions, along with exhibitions, corporate functions, weddings, reunions and more.
The meeting space additions include a new 30,000-square-foot ballroom, 30,000 square feet of breakout space and approximately 30,000 square feet of carpeted pre-function space. Outside of the Convention Center, a new 12,000-square-foot event lawn also will be added.
Gaylord Palms’ current Cypress Springs Water Park also will grow with a new active river feature and expanded deck space for guests. These additions complement the more recent $4.2 million enhancement to the recreation facilities that included a Double FlowRider surf simulator, two racing waterslides and a tower drop slide.
The Gaylord Palms, operated by Marriott, is currently the only 4-star/diamond property in the W192 CRA district. The hotel spent $4.2 million in 2016 on a water park expansion to add waterslides and a surf simulator.
This project will be the largest expansion in the 17-year history of Gaylord Palms. The plans were first reported by GrowthSpotter in May 2018.
“We have long-believed that Gaylord Palms is situated in an ideal location for this type of expansion, and we would like to thank the Osceola County Board of County Commissioners for their continued support and enthusiasm for this project,” Ryman CEO Colin Reed said in a release. “This region remains one of the most vibrant convention and leisure destinations in the country. We are pleased to add this high-quality space to our existing resort portfolio which will enable us to continue meeting the strong demand we are seeing from group customers who want the all under one roof experience in this market.”
The additions at Gaylord Palms will continue the resort’s tradition of honoring the rich heritage of the State of Florida, including its unique place names, flora and fauna.
The project architect is Blur Workshop, which also designed the Gaylord Texan expansion and new Riverfront Ballroom at Gaylord National Harbor Hotel in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Earlier this year, a multi-story parking garage was completed at the resort to support the increase of rooms and convention space. The total expansion project including new meeting space, rooms tower and waterpark enhancements is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2021.
Osceola County Commissioners voted last year to amend its joint marketing agreement with Ryman, clearing the way for expansion. The agreement allows the hotel to keep 85 percent of revenue generated by the first four pennies on the hotel’s tourist development tax. The county’s TDT tax rate is 6 percent; revenues from the fifth and sixth penny go to the county for other tourism-related expenses.
County Manager Don Fisher said the amended agreement guarantees a return of $49.6 million through the TDT reimbursement, and it expires once the hotel collects that amount.