If you prefer a more leisurely pace of holidaying in Florida, you’ll want to avoid the urban metropolis and head to the picturesque Gulf town of Punta Gorda. Situated in Southwest Florida, it is the county seat for Charlotte County and is a region that exudes small-town charm and effusive hospitality. But where to stay? The Wyvern Hotel is well-connected on Retta Esplanade with numerous restaurants and bars just a short walking distance away. LLM’s Baldwin Ho checked in to find out more.
Since its opening in 2008, Wyvern Hotel has been a focal point for locals and tourists alike and is a short 10-minute stroll to Peace River. The hotel works closely with The Visual Arts Center of Punta Gorda to help local artists gain more exposure for their masterpieces and upon entering the reception area, you’ll spot artwork from local artists. Thid displayed artwork is purchasable and adds a distinct Floridian vibe to the hotel.
The Art Deco design is reminiscent of the style of hotels you’ll find in Miami Beach. It pays homage to a glamorous period of Punta Gorda when it was the pineapple capital of the country before Hawaii took over in the 1930s. The hotel offers a compact snack shop for those looking for extra treats during their stay where you can purchase items ranging from canned Cutwater cocktails to hotel logo caps to protect you from the omnipresent Floridian sunshine. Guests can also expect complimentary national newspapers on weekdays, local newspapers on weekends and self-service parking.
The hotel has 63 plush rooms split into seven categories and the views on offer are either of the palm-lined streets of Punta Gorda or the popular yachts moored in Charlotte Harbor. The rooms are extremely spacious and decorated neutral in tone with mostly shades of white and beige. You are guaranteed a quality night’s sleep with their Serta well-cushioned, pillow-top bed, it is both supportive to the body and provides a cooling effect as well.
The generously spaced bathroom contains a separate shower and deep-soaking tub with polished marble floors complemented by a glistening granite countertop. Here, you’ll find Tarocco bath products that focus on notes of Sicilian blood oranges.
Food and drink
Wyvern Hotel offers two full-service restaurants: Perch 360 and 88 Keys Florida. The former is their hugely popular rooftop bar with uninterrupted views of the surrounding area. They specialise in mimosas and bloody Marys and offer a $20 bottomless option, including a powerful fiery maria – bloody maria and a floral bloody orange mimosa. 88 Keys Florida is where you will find breakfast served during weekdays, local favourites include lox and bagel along with biscuits and gravy.
If you are looking for a hidden gem to discover, head to Peace River Seafood. It is widely regarded as one of the top five seafood restaurants in Florida and is a simple, fuss-free restaurant serving the freshest of seafood, as they own an on-site market. You are given a hammer to tackle their signature local blue crabs and don’t be surprised to see shells just discarded on the floor. You’ll find steam middleneck clams from Horseshoe Beach and their world-famous gator gumbo is sourced from nearby Tippencanoe.
Most tourists head to Fishermen’s Village for a spot of retail therapy or a pint of cold beer whilst admiring the breath-taking views of the waterfront. You’ll find a fantastic selection of olive oils and spices at Bella Balsamic and The Pressed Olive, while the Village Brewhouse offers a wide selection of artisanal draft beers.
For a city with less than 20,000 residents, they have a surprisingly wide selection of museums and tourist attractions. If you want to mix nature with art, then head to Peace River Botanical and Sculpture Gardens. Despite just opening in 2017, they have some of the finest collections of plants, trees and bamboo in Florida, with over 4,500 varieties, including unusual collections like the rainbow eucalyptus. Additionally, they have a world-class display of sculptures from the likes of sculptor Carole Feuerman. Her life-like sculptures have won fans from the likes of Bill Clinton to the Emperor of Japan.
In a nutshell
If you want to explore a lesser-known side of Florida, make sure you head out to Punta Gorda, and Wyvern Hotel is a great base for you to explore this hidden gem.
Punta Gorda is Florida’s best-kept secret of a charming natural paradise located on the idyllic Southwest Gulf Coast. This coastal community surrounding the state’s second-largest harbour sits conveniently between Tampa and Naples. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have daily direct flights to Tampa.
Wyvern Hotel, a Choice Ascend Hotel collection member offers rooms from $142 per night.
Address: 101 E Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda, FL 33950, United States
Phone: +1 941-639-7700
Imagery provided by Wyvern Hotel