RLH Corporation opens its first Hotel RL resort

The Island by Hotel RL. Photo credit: RLH Corporation

RLH Corporation opened The Island by Hotel RL in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., the first resort destination for the upscale boutique brand. This agreement is part of a franchise expansion operation, and marks the opening of the eighth Hotel RL with a pipeline of resort and urban destinations pending. Guests will have access to fully renovated public spaces including multiple restaurants, bars and a market offering a selection of snacks, beverages and souvenirs. Newly designed guestrooms will debut in 2019.

“Hotel RLs are culturally immersive destinations and our vision has always been to bring that guest experience beyond our existing urban offerings into resort environments,” Paul Sacco, chief development officer at RLH Corporation, said in a statement. “The Island by Hotel RL is a great addition to our RLH Corporation family, symbolic of our commitment to expanding the brand for leisure and business traveler enjoyment.”

A staple on Okaloosa Island since 1966, the newly converted property will offer the Hotel RL signature experiences while embracing the legacy of its locale. Located in Florida’s Emerald Coast, the beachfront resort has 335 rooms, 14,000 square feet of event space with a penthouse ballroom, two swimming pools, a grotto with a swim-up bar, a beach bar, a kids' splash garden and a beachside coffee truck serving Victrola coffee.

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This summer, along with unveiling its signature restaurant, Nineteen66 Southern Grill & Tap House, the resort will launch Hotel RL’s first poolside Living Stage, providing local musicians, poets, authors, public speakers, artists and more with a community platform to showcase outdoor performances and live acts. Additional programming and amenities include fire pits, yoga on the lawn, art classes, dive-in movie nights and more.

"The resort has become a special place for our guests since 1966. I am thrilled and honored to continue my parent's vision of creating an iconic beachfront resort," Tripp Tolbert, CEO of Tolbert Group, whose family originally developed and operated the resort, said in a statement.

Tolbert recently partnered with Jay Odom, CEO of The Jay Odom Group, who added: "We look forward to aligning ourselves with RLH Corporation whose innovative ideas and guest management systems will mesh perfectly with our mission to maintain The Island as a landmark to generations of fun at the beach.”