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The Restoration Story

Work to fully restore Lakeside Inn, Florida's most historic hotel, has been underway since January of 2011, just weeks following its purchase by Jim and Alexandra Gunderson, and it is estimated that work will continue non-stop for the next several years. The first large rain stop showed approximately 75 separate roof leaks throughout the five buildings in additional to water flowing through the countless rotted window sills. There was crumbling stucco, missing siding, a collapsed pool deck, a broken irrigation system, broken air conditioning systems, rotting docks and an overgrown lakefront, plumbing leaks and a staff that had simply given up. What this historic Inn did have however was, and is, a rich history and an ideal lakefront location in downtown Mount Dora. A hotelier with experience in the renovation of old facilities, Jim moved up from Naples and the work began. Often the surprises discovered while renovating were discouraging and often quite humorous. The pool and deck were rebuilt, along with the irrigation system, ice machines and a whole host of other key items. LI-aerialTrees that were overtaking the buildings were trimmed in order to open up the beautiful views of Lake Dora and prevent their further damaging the buildings. Work on the building exteriors began almost immediately. The first priority was to make the buildings water tight and to prevent any further deterioration of building structures and interior finishes. So the scraping, painting, wood, stucco and roof work began and still continues. Slowly but steadily the progress being made began to show itself in positive and meaningful ways. Step by step the restoration and revitalization of the Inn continues. Most of the leaks have been secured, termites have been contained, structures and the infrastructure are being steadily and carefully rebuilt. A commitment to the guest experience and spirit of hospitality have been restored.

Work is now solidly underway on all of the interior spaces of the five buildings. Guest rooms, corridors and all public spaces are experiencing transformation. Always mindful of the historic significance of the spaces and buildings, only National Historic Trust colors are being used throughout. Surprisingly, there were very few historic images of the property on hand, as most must have traveled with ownership changes throughout the years, so a painstaking search for historic images of the Inn was launched and continues. A great many of these images now line the walls of the lobby and are starting to be used in the guest room and corridor renovations. The next big undertaking is the replacement of the entire air conditioning and heating network throughout each of the buildings. Again, this work is steadily progressing and should be completed within this next year and will undoubtedly yield very positive long term results in both guest room comfort and energy efficiency.

We invite and encourage you to come and experience the truly unique experience of staying in Florida’s Most Historic Hotel. The floors will often creak and you will surely see areas that we have not yet been able to fully address. But you will also experience something uniquely real and indeed very special. Certainly a piece Florida history that is well worth saving and preserving. We are committed to this effort and if you approve of what we are doing, would encourage you to become a Friend of the Inn and follow our progress through occasional visits and through our monthly newsletter.