Daytona Beach’s Grand Resort was built in 1888 as a beach cottage for Charles Ballough and his family. In 1895, Ballough partnered with local businessman and fellow hotel owner C.C. Post to produce an impressive hotel boasting a casino, stables for horses and carriages, and grand porches overlooking the Atlantic Ocean
A new “Grand Resort" opened on New Year’s Day in 1911. The seven-story hotel featured a Turkish bath, barbershop, manicure parlor, an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, and horseback riding facilities.
February of that same year, hotel management and local leaders hired well-known airplane mogul and pilot Glenn Curtiss to perform flying exhibitions on the beach as a tourist attraction. Curtiss and other prominent pilots like John A.D. McCurdy and the Wright Brothers performed similar exhibitions throughout the county.
Hotel guests enjoyed exhibitions and airplane rides until the early 1920s. One notable pilot, Ruth Bancroft Law, was the first woman to pilot a plane in Florida. She was also the first woman in the world to loop an airplane. This historic event took place right in front of the hotel.
The resort’s reputation as a chic winter playground for American and International travelers spread rapidly, and steady stream of guests continued to pour in year round. In 1925 it became the first resort hotel on the east coast of Florida to remain open throughout the year.
During WWII, the hotel closed down for the war effort. It served as a barracks for the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) for two years. In June of 1944, it reopened under a new name with amazingly modern amenities for the era – the Sheraton Plaza including central air conditioning throughout; refurbished lobby, Ocean Room and main dining room; a new cocktail lounge and Camelot Room; and AM/FM radio and televisions in every room.
Today “Daytona Beach’s Grand Resort" stands as a charming reflection of “Old Florida" with all of the amenities of a modern resort. A beautiful marriage of the past and future, the Plaza Resort & Spa continues endear guests from around the world. One stay and you’ll understand why.