The iconic Desert Inn in Daytona Beach is about to get a 20 million dollar facelift. Owner Abbas Abdul Hussein bought the hotel with plans to fix it up and make it a sparkling jewel for conventions at the beach.
"This hotel has had a lot of people visit it over the years, but it's never been taken care of, and now it is ready to get a major facelift."
The hotel was once rated the 2nd dirtiest hotel in all of America, but Hussein is excited to make all of that change.
"We're basically going to be going down to the slab concrete space. Everything else is going to get replaced."
Hussein has already finished a 10 million dollar makeover of what is now the Hampton Inn two blocks away. That hotel is now the top rated stay in Daytona on Tripadvisor.com. Jim Cameron with the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce says this is just the kind of facelift beach side in Daytona is looking for.
"New investment is going to mean more quality hotel rooms though, which is going to compliment the expansion of the Ocean Center"
Cameron admits the image of Daytona Beach has suffered because of the quality of its hotel rooms.
"I think what you are going to see is a resurgence"
Abbas Abdul Hussein says that image was a factor when his family considered whether or not to buy hotels in Daytona, but he believes that over time, the investment will pay off.
"We see an upside here. I mean when you're at rock bottom there's only one way to go, and Daytona hit rock bottom."
The move comes as the Hard Rock hotel is poised to build a brand new hotel in Daytona Beach, something Cameron says is desperately needed.
"Very much excited about the Hard Rock coming to Daytona because it is a new flag."
Those investments give leaders in Daytona Beach new hope that it can shed the image of a city that's growing too old.