MMI Hospitality Group bought the Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. property in December 2022. The first wave of changes taking place include a new irrigation system for the El Campeon golf course, a new pool, and new food and drink options. A new “resort-style” pool is expected to be 10,000 sq. ft., dwarfing its roughly 2,000- or 3,000-sq.-ft. existing pool, which will remain with changes to make it a quieter, “relaxation” pool area.
Mississippi-based MMI Hospitality Group bought the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. with plans to spend $10 million in upgrades over the next couple of years in the hope of improving the golf-focused resort’s appeal, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Club + Resort Business reported on the sale at the time.
The 500-acre resort features two golf courses, three restaurants and 176 hotel rooms, the Sentinel reported. MMI Hospitality Group CEO Micajah Sturdivant sees opportunities to improve occupancy in its slowest summer months and offer amenities to guests who aren’t golfers.
“There are lots of interesting things people will travel to this area for,” Sturdivant said, such as nearby Yalaha Bakery and downtown Mount Dora. “We think we can really widen the customer base.”
The first wave of changes taking place include a new irrigation system for the El Campeon golf course, a new pool, and new food and drink options, Sturdivant told the Sentinel. The El Campeon course dates back to 1917.
That first slate of projects should be done by 2025, the Sentinel reported, but the company is also planning additional upgrades that will focus on golf club member spaces as well as guest room renovations.
The resort had been owned and operated by the Beucher family since 1964 when Nick Beucher bought it from town namesake William J. Howey, the Sentinel reported. It is about 40 miles northwest of downtown Orlando in the Lake County town of Howey-in-the-Hills, home to about 1,640 residents.
MMI, also family-owned, has been well received by the community, Howey Mayor Martha MacFarlane told the Sentinel.
“The Mission Inn has been a cornerstone of the town for a very long time,” MacFarlane said. “They want to continue to have the same sort of relationship with the town as … we had with the Beuchers when the Beuchers owned it. … It was such a nice collaboration.”
Sturdivant declined to say how much his company paid for the business, the Sentinel reported. Two deeds provided by the Lake County Property Appraiser’s Office each say the land was acquired for $10 and “other good and valuable consideration.”
The new “resort-style” pool is expected to be 10,000 sq. ft., dwarfing its roughly 2,000- or 3,000-sq.-ft. existing pool, the Sentinel reported.
“It’s going to be much larger with all sorts of bells and whistles,” Sturdivant said.
The current pool is also expected to remain, Sturdivant told the Sentinel, with changes to make it a quieter, “relaxation,” pool area.
Landscaping work will also take place to improve the property’s backdrop for wedding photos and take the wedding business to the next level, Sturdivant told the Sentinel.
There will also be a shakeup in the resort’s restaurants, including new bar and grill options at the outdoor pools, the Sentinel reported. The resort’s existing La Margarita and El Conquistador restaurants will be combined and redesigned in order to add a dedicated bar area.
La Hacienda will shift from a breakfast buffet to a morning restaurant and event space, the Sentinel reported.
In addition to casting a wider net of visitors, the changes can enhance the stay for golfers’ spouses or children and as well as the golfers themselves when they’re not on the course, the Sentinel reported.
“[For] today’s golfer and today’s family the bar is forever rising in terms of expectations,” Sturdivant said. “When you’re done, you want to have spaces that people can come together.”
The Mission Inn brings people to Howey-In-The-Hills, the mayor told the Sentinel, adding golfers have experienced the town’s quiet hometown feel and decided to move there.
“It’s always wonderful to know people see us as a community that is open and accepting of new things,” she said. “But still we want to remain a very community-based small town … where people can work and live and pray and play.”
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