Amid its place along Florida’s west coast, the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach has shifted its wellness and dining slate with its on-site offerings.
Opened in 2017, this Wyndham Hotels & Resorts property near its namesake stretch of sand celebrates its fifth year by introducing plant-based meal portions and new health and fitness offerings.
“The property has continued to grow and receive more leisure activities; it’s a really good trend to see,” said Taylor Eckard, the hotel’s chief marketing officer. “And we also continually try to improve the customer experience in the establishment.”
Families are among his guests. According to Eckard, the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach allows them to experience the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which is less than a mile from the hotel, in a unique way. In 2017, the Wyndham property and the aquarium partnered to create six aquatic themed rooms whose decor is inspired by the aquarium’s famous resident, Winter the dolphin, and other marine life.
Now doubled in number, the 12 rooms are intended for families with 12% of their bookings going to the aquarium. Among a total of 343 rooms, these “Winter & Friends Room Bunks” contain a bunk bed, a king bed and other room amenities. Images of aquatic animals decorate the surroundings.
“And we encourage those guests to come and visit the aquarium and learn about this important organization that’s right next to us,” Eckard said.
In addition to supporting the aquarium, Eckard noted that the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach has implemented eco-friendly measures such as refillable water pitchers in place of plastic bottles at meetings. Customers are also encouraged to use coffee mugs.
Along with meals, plant-based menu options are available across the hotel’s F&B offerings, such as at Dock’s Pool Bar & Grille and eSKPades, a take-out spot in the lobby. Their main restaurant, Hai Oceanoffers a vegetarian menu in addition to its portions for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Ocean Hai’s vegetarian menu begins with entrees ranging from edamame balls to crispy tofu to crispy Brussels sprouts. He then lists a Thai coconut soup and an Asian green salad. Entrees include crispy tofu lo mein, a plant-based burger, and sautéed vegetables.
Ocean Hai is under the direction of Executive Chef Nana Darkwah, a Ghanaian-born chef who began her career in a restaurant in Pennsylvania.
In 2012, Darkwah moved to Florida after accepting a cook job at Caretta on the Gulf at the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach. In this complex, through his work at the restaurant’s sushi bar, Darkwah has introduced new flavors and concepts.
Darkwah has worked at the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach for about five years now. At Ocean Hai, Darkwah draws on her experiences helping her grandmother in the kitchen to adjust the restaurant’s Asian dining concept. He is now introducing fusion cuisine of African and Asian flavors to the restaurant menus.
“When he came to our house, he quickly showed us his passion for involving the guest in the [dining] experience and really offer something special to the guest,” said Eckard.
In addition to the Ocean Hai, the hotel’s Dock’s Pool Bar & Grille serves up small plates, salads, sandwiches, and flatbreads amid its poolside setting. eSKPades serves coffee and other beverages from morning to mid-afternoon, then switches to cocktails in the evening.
The addition of Recess beverages, a line of sparkling waters infused with hemp and adaptogens, coincides with other wellness initiatives at Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach. The hotel has entered into a partnership with 1Fitness team, which will offer private retreats and group fitness activities to guests; there is also a new Wellness Experience Package.