Now Accepting Reservations for the Newly Named Hotel Effie Sandestin

The First Full-Service Hotel Owned and Developed by Sandestin Investments Opening Summer 2020 

Click here to view and download rendering photos.

MIRAMAR BEACH, FL (August 1, 2019) – Ushering in a new era in aspirational vacationing to Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast, Sandestin Investments, LLC announces the name and launch of its exquisite family-owned hotel, set to debut in early summer of 2020. Hotel Effie Sandestin is now accepting leisure and group reservations. The hotel features 250 guest rooms with multiple room types, a delectable three-meal restaurant, craft cocktail lobby bar, and in-room dining all curated by celebrity Chef Hugh Acheson. It also boasts a luxury spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, the only rooftop pool on Florida’s Emerald Coast and 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space including a 13,000-sq. ft. ballroom.

Named after owner Tom Becnel’s grandmother, Hotel Effie exemplifies all the charm and personality of its namesake. Best described as the ultimate hostess, Hotel Effie creates a personalized experience that surrounds each guest with a welcoming environment and authentic style of service that defines genuine southern hospitality. Hotel Effie welcomes guests as part of the family and looks forward to fostering that relationship for years to come.

Tom and his daughter, Sara Becnel, vice president of development for Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, worked closely on this project together. Sara’s high attention to detail and experience in luxury business development, construction management and interior design fused with her father’s grace, humility and real estate proficiency has set the tone for the relaxing, yet fiercely modernized ambiance that the hotel will exemplify. As such, the name, branding and website preview were designed to mirror Hotel Effie’s sense of refined southern taste, feminine charm, savvy social grace and authenticity, which resonates with the family’s core hospitality values.

Celebrity Chef Hugh Acheson is developing the food and beverage outlets throughout the hotel including a three-meal restaurant, coffee bar and market, lobby bar, rooftop pool bar and in-room dining. Chef Acheson, a Georgia chef and owner of nationally celebrated eateries including Five & Ten, Empire State South and the National, is a James Beard award winner who has competed on “Top Chef Masters” and served as a judge on “Top Chef.”

Hotel Effie’s design is a fresh take on a coastal Florida hotel. Design Continuum, Inc., an interior design firm with over 40-years of experience in the hospitality industry, worked closely with Sara to conceive the thoughtful interiors for Hotel Effie featuring smart solutions for the modern traveler. Taking inspiration from the locale, sandy limestone floors and a palette of natural textures form the neutral envelope while bold chartreuse highlights interior features. Linear grained grey wood is utilized as a contemporary framework throughout and is paired with classic linen and mixed maritime metals, as displayed in the lobby pilasters with large-scale sconces. Movement in the floor patterning echoes dunes and water upon shore grounded by substantial cleft-face stone slab walls. Light fixtures are inspired by naval lamps and will be elevated with crystal and glass accents.

Highgate, a premier real estate investment and hospitality management company, will manage the newly developed hotel. Hotel Effie is being constructed by Batson-Cook, a company that builds a wide range of commercial projects for multi-family residential, office and private development clients throughout the Southeast. Internationally recognized design firm, Cooper Carry, which specializes in the design of hospitality, residential and restaurant projects, is the architect for the hotel project.

Starting today, Hotel Effie’s booking website is open for reservations for stays beginning early summer 2020. Visit to learn more about how to book a vacation or group event and stay social on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Hotel Effie, eloquently situated on Florida’s Emerald Coast, features 250 guest rooms with multiple room types, a delectable three-meal restaurant by celebrity Chef Hugh Acheson, craft cocktail lobby bar, in-room dining, luxury spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, the only rooftop pool on Florida’s Emerald Coast and 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including a 13,000-sq ft. ballroom. Within the community, travelers have access to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort amenities. Sandestin was named the #1 Resort on Florida’s Emerald Coast and offers more than seven miles of pristine beaches and bayfront, four championship golf courses, 15 world-class tennis courts, 123-slip marina, fitness center, spa and an additional 65,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Additionally, The Village of Baytowne Wharf, a charming pedestrian village with events, shopping, dining and nightlife, is located within minutes of Hotel Effie. With an abundance of amenities, activities and entertainment just a short walk or bike ride away, travelers will be tempted to leave their cars in park. For more information visit and follow on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Highgate is a premier hospitality investment and management company widely recognized as an innovator in the industry. Highgate is the dominant player in U.S. gateway markets including New York, Boston, Miami, San Francisco and Honolulu. Highgate also has an expanding presence in key European markets through properties in London, Paris, Barcelona, Vienna and Prague. The company provides expert guidance through all stages of the hospitality property cycle, from planning and development through recapitalization or disposition. Highgate also has a proven record of developing bespoke hotel brands and utilizes industry leading proprietary revenue management tools that identify and predict evolving market dynamics to drive outperformance and maximize asset value. With an executive team consisting of some of the industry’s most experienced hotel management leaders, the company is a trusted partner for top ownership groups and major hotel brands. Highgate maintains corporate offices in New York, London, Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle.

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