Photo: A mock-up of what the hotel would look like after renovations
First opening under the name, Riu Orlando Hotel in 1988, they claimed to have been a 3-star hotel with the luxuries of a 4-star luxury resort. Over the years though, the building required remodeling as guests complained of mold in the showers, outdated decor and bad service.
In late-2007, Marcus Hotels and Resorts announced it was taking over management of the property which was undergoing a $22 million renovation, with plans to reopen in mid-2008 under the new name, Venturella Resort and Spa.
The property was abandoned mid-renovation.
Photo(Bullet, 2009): Up to this day, the hotel remains in this state of disrepair.
Year Taken: 2009
Website: Abandoned Florida
Photo: A postcard depicting how the motel looked decades ago.
Since the 1940s, U.S. Highway 301 has been used by many as a way to travel between Sarasota and Jacksonville, and everything else in between, quickly. The Underwood Motel was just one of many other motels along the stretch of highway, but one of few still standing. The old neon sign which stood outside the dilapidated motel became a landmark for those traveling up and down the 301, many stopping to take a picture of it. Sadly, the sign went missing last year, possibly to be sold as scrap metal.
Other than the postcard image, I was not able to find much history on this motel so please, if you have any experience and any stories you would like to share regarding this site, leave a comment below.
Photo(Michael J. Scranton, 2010): Without the sign outside, there’s no sense of uniqueness about it anymore and it’s just another abandoned motel.