New resort to bring jobs to South Walton

rosemary beach
MARK KULAW / Daily News
Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 11:42 AM.

This beachfront community’s first hotel hopes to bring a new level of luxury to the South Walton area.

The Pearl will be Rosemary Beach’s first hotel and will feature 55 luxury guest rooms, two restaurants, a pool deck and a full spa when it opens in mid-July.

“We have a focus. Our vision is ‘you centric,’” said Michael Votta, general manager of The Pearl. “Everything we do here at the property is focused around our guests. If they want to go the beach, we’re going to have beach chairs. If they’re into technology, we’re going to have individual iPads in each of the rooms that they can take to the beach.”

“We believe we will create a guest experience unlike any other in America,” Votta added.

Havana Beach will be the cornerstone restaurant for the new hotel, with a fine dining menu that draws inspiration from Caribbean, Mexican and New Orleans influences and will seat 110 people. The hotel will also have Sol Luna, a rooftop bar and restaurant that will overlook the Gulf of Mexico.

Although The Pearl is still about two months away from opening, the building already has an interesting history.

Construction on the building that would become The Pearl started about seven years ago as a hotel and restaurant project developed by Joe Malugen, the owner of the Movie Gallery chain of home video rental stores. After the downturn in the economy and the near collapse of the boxed movie rental business that followed, Movie Gallery closed in 2010 and the unfinished hotel building fell into receivership.

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