NOTE: The Kenilworth Lodge has closed due to a code violation. What follows is a previous story.
I love the historic hotels of Old Florida — not so much the exclusive ones, like the Breakers in Palm Beach or the Boca Hotel and Club, but the ones you’ve never heard of, that are hanging on, preserving a vintage feel while competing against the chain hotels most Americans can afford.
That’s why I was happy to discover the Kenilworth Lodge in Sebring.
The hotel was built in 1916 by George Sebring, who founded the town with dreams of a utopian community of happy people. It was a seasonal hotel, open only in the winter. Sebring was friends with the president of the Seaboard Atlantic Railway, and every train stopped in Sebring.
The Mediterranean Revival hotel with a grand staircase and a 4,000 square foot lobby is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and working hard to keep its rooms filled.
Today, a quick look around the Internet shows you can book a room for as little as $65 a night. Commenters on Yelp and TripAdvisor have lots of positive things to say, though a few call it “not just old but tired.” (For our stay, we loved everything about the place.)
We took our bikes to Sebring on a very hot weekend. The hotel overlooks Lake Jackson and there are lovely views and a road with minimal traffic that takes you around its 6-mile perimeter. At the end, it was a welcome relief to hop into the lovely 80-foot pool at Kenilworth Lodge and cool off.
Bicyclists will find many other routes through the rural countryside, including an annual opportunities to ride in the bicycle events that offer routes, markings and support for rides ranging from 12 miles to 64. Here’s bike event info
863-385-0111 or toll-free 1-800-423-5939
1610 Lakeview Drive (Mailing address)
Sebring, Florida 33870
For GPS navigation systems enter 836 SE Lakeview Dr, Sebring, FL 33870]