PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - Leaders in Bay County celebrated the grand opening of a new hotel on Panama City Beach.The Holiday Inn Express and Suites is the first hotel built directly on the beach in almost 30 years.
"A project like this is very important. It just shows that the economy is still growing, that Panama City Beach is evolving," said Holiday Inn Marketing Director Phillip Colvin.
The hotel officially opened on May 23rd before Memorial Day weekend. Bay County Commissioner Griff Griffitts says the 147-room hotel adds value to the area.
"The property is really an asset to Bay County and the beach," said Griffitts.
In addition to a beach-front view, Holiday Express has some special amenities. "It's the only Express that has a food bar grill right on the ocean," said Colvin.
On Monday night, guests also honored the memory of one the owners of the hotel.
The Hilton Family and business partner Cody Khan, hosted the reception for the 'Chip Hilton Celebration of Life Charity Golf Classic.
"My best friend, like my brother passed away from cancer, blood cancer. So I started a charity tournament right after that," said Khan.
Hilton died in 2011, and the tournament over the past six years has raised $145,000 to support youth golf.
"Chip will always be in our hearts, he will always be in our hearts and we will always remember him," said Khan.
Proceeds will go toward the charity, First Tee of Northwest Florida.
Those funds are used for equipment and training education for local organizations, and some Bay District Schools.
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