Imagine sleeping in the treetops, in a lavishly-decorated suite in downtown Ocean Springs, along Washington Avenue and its quaint shops and in easy walking distance to the many restaurants and nightlife.
That’s the experience now available to tourists and locals who want a getaway at The Hemingway boutique hotel.
The ribbon cutting Tuesday was for more than The Hemingway, which officially opened April 1.
“It’s really about the transformation of the building,” said Joe Cloyd, also a partner in The Roost boutique hotel, which is closer to the beach and on the parade route in Ocean Springs.
For years the former bank building at 929 Washington Ave. has housed office space downstairs and a couple of long-term rental apartments on the second floor, Cloyd said. The transformation brings it to its “highest and best use,” he said.
The exterior is restored with sparkling white paint, charcoal trim and a brilliant red door. Mimi Reinke Designs, a retail shop featuring home decor, gifts and antiques — and a section of Hemingway memorabilia — is moving into the downstairs along with office space.
Four lavish hotel suites share the second floor, accessible by a staircase.
“We think the uses all complement each other very well,” Cloyd said.
It’s been decades since people could live atop businesses or within walking distance of a busy downtown Biloxi.
Hemingway may not be one of the many authors identifiable with Mississippi, but his wives now are.
“Hemingway had four wives and we have four suites,” Cloyd said.
“We named a suite after each wife,” he said, and gave each room its own personality.
His wife, Jessica Cloyd, is the interior designer and decorator who Cloyd says creates “excellently-appointed, well crafted, high designed places.” She also designed the rooms at The Roost.
The Hadley, named for Hemingway’s first wife, boasts a seating area that invites guests to curl up and relax. The price midweek in June is $175 per couple per night.
Being a small hotel and a small town has its advantages, Cloyd said.
While the large hotels in bigger cities were largely empty during the coronavirus pandemic, occupancy was pretty high at The Roost, he said, and now at The Hemingway.
“We’ve seen that through COVID,” he said, in part because guests feel safe.
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The Roost is getting an 8-room expansion that’s due to open this summer, keeping it small at 15 rooms but allowing more people to stay.
“There’s so much to see and do in downtown Ocean Springs,” he said, “Great shopping, restaurants, bars, festival, opportunities to look at art, and pretty public spaces.:
People like having smaller and relaxing getaways, he said, and the town is surrounded by water for boating, fishing and bird watching.
At festival time, visitors are right in the middle of the action for Cruisin’ the Coast and the Peter Anderson Festival.
Cloyd said he’s still got more projects he wants to bring to Ocean Springs.
“I’m certainly interested in pursuing some other short-term rental opportunities in town,” he said.