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DoubleTree by Hilton Atlantic Beach Oceanfront open for business

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One of the largest hotels on the Crystal Coast is up and running, for the first time in nearly two years.

The Sheraton hotel in Atlantic Beach has been closed ever since Hurricane Irene in August 2011, but Tuesday afternoon it re-opened as a DoubleTree by Hilton following a $5 million renovation.

"Oh, I think it's fantastic for Atlantic Beach. We need more things like that," said Betty Lou Brown, a part-time Atlantic Beach resident.

Three to four hundred people have already made reservations, and guests are checking in, said Marty Matfess, Vice President of Operations for the hotel's owner, Newport Group.

The hotel, formerly called the Sheraton, was an Atlantic Beach institution for years. It went into foreclosure after Hurricane Irene damaged it and the owner failed to make bank payments.

"The Sheraton had been gutted. It had been removed of all carpet. It had been left alone for about two years," said Matfess.

Ever since Newport group bought the hotel at an auction in December, they've been scrambling to get it ready for summer.

"It is a crazy madhouse here right now," said Matfess.

Crews are still finishing the roof and the ballroom's not ready just yet. But there are brand new carpets and furniture and, two restaurants now, not to mention 100 new jobs in everything from management to housekeeping and food service.

"Right now we've hired 75 employees. We'll probably add another 25 to 30 by the time we're done," said Matfess.

Each of the 200 hotel rooms has a balcony and waterfront view, said Matfess.

"I'm really excited. I think it'll be a great asset to Atlantic Beach," said Sabrina Mennella, the owner of Roma Pizza & Subs in Atlantic Beach.

Small business owners like Mennella say they suffered when the hotel closed. They're hopeful the new hotel will jumpstart the economy.

"The facility itself is beautiful, not just for tourists, but also for the local people here," said Mennella.

The hotel expects all renovations to be finished in one or two weeks.

A key improvement in the hotel is the roof is now waterproof, said Matfess, meaning when it rains, it doesn't rain inside the hotel anymore.

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Atlantic Beach's new DoubleTree by Hilton Atlantic Beach Oceanfront will open Tuesday following a $5 million renovation.

The former Sheraton closed in 2011 after Hurricane Irene and was later acquired by Newport Group in 2012.

The hotel offers a fresh and sophisticated setting, including:

  • A 300-foot pier to take in unparalleled views and set the scene for intimate wedding ceremonies
  • Over 9,000 square feet of meeting space ideal for conferences and events
  • The return of Molly's Beachside Bar & Grill with tasty bar bites, tropical frozen drinks and local craft beers
  • The introduction of a new restaurant, Prime 1079, an American steakhouse with Southern flair

"Travelers to Atlantic Beach these past two years have longed for an upscale hotel delivering the full-service accommodations, services and amenities they seek," said Tom Bowen, general manager-DoubleTree by Hilton Atlantic Beach Oceanfront. "With the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Atlantic Beach Oceanfront, we are proud to welcome guests back to the area, and give them the first-rate experience they expect, starting with the warm chocolate chip cookie greeting at check-in."

The hotel also features a special opening promotion, offering double Hilton HHonors points for stays completed through December 31, 2013.

Read more or make a reservation here.

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