Luxe race experience gets checkered flag at the Daytona
Race fans gained one more reason to put Daytona Beach on their bucket list when the speedy and stylish The Daytona hotel opened directly across the street from the iconic Daytona International Speedway.
The Daytona’s customers embrace the race at every turn at this hospitality headquarters for every type of motorsports fan. The Marriott Autograph Collection hotel opened in June and earned AAA’s Four-Diamond rating.
Fun elements delight from the giant rotating gear wheel over the front desk to the impressive contemporary and classic rides on display throughout the hotel’s public spaces. An elegant coolness factor here sets a spirited tone.
On a recent visit, Denny Hamlin’s 2019 Toyota Cup No. 11 Daytona 500 winner sat side-by-side with the all-time Daytona lap record-holding 2013 Ford EcoBoost Endurance Racer driven by Colin Braun, in the main lobby area affectionately known as “The Grid.”
Land-speed racer Sir Malcolm Campbell’s legendary Bluebird is the hotel’s gem and proudly sits adjacent to the hotel’s restaurant that bears his name. Campbell drove the Bluebird on Daytona’s hard-packed beaches in the 1920s, harnessing the power of its supercharged 12-cylinder Rolls-Royce R engine in his record-setting speed runs here, helping put Daytona Beach on the world racing map.
General Manager Michael Melendez noted, The Daytona plans to frequently rotate the cars on display.
“Daytona Beach is well known for [its] race culture,” Melendez says. “Whether it’s Supercross, Rolex 24, Xfinity, Truck Series, the Daytona 500, our community has a love for racing and its history. We celebrate this culture at The Daytona and want to create an environment that is welcoming, fun and unique.”
Small details, big impressions
Small details make big impressions and the Daytona is quick on the track to provide customers with a high-touch experience.
A refreshing pineapple-lemon-mint-basil cooler at check-in is only the first of many small pleasures hotel customers encounter. Rooms are spacious, well-equipped and carry the race theme through, including Daytona-logoed barware, custom duvets and even a trioval-shaped desk that mimics the famed 2.5-mile track at Daytona International Speedway. In-room libations feature Sugarlands Shine, the official moonshine of NASCAR, and Stillhouse Black Bourbon, a favorite among drivers.
Customers can enjoy custom cocktails and the signature flaming moonshine ritual at the Blue Flame, The Daytona’s lobby bar and casual-chic dining at Sir Malcolm, a contemporary American bistro, where whimsy aligns with comfort food under the direction of executive chef Jason Ward. Corn dogs with miso mustard, Fiery Cheetos-crusted mac ‘n’ cheese bites and Chislehurst roast chicken are just a few of Ward’s creations not to be missed.
A terrace rims the hotel and overlooks the Speedway and high-voltage Victory Circle, a large plaza with a Vegas-like kid-welcoming synchronized fountain, outdoor performance space for concerts and events and the best people watching in the city. The Daytona is the centerpiece property anchoring the newly developed One Daytona, a 300,000 mixed use development featuring retail, entertainment and luxury living.
Get Your Race On
While Daytona International Speedway boasts the most diverse schedule of racing on the planet, including the legendary Daytona 500 and Rolex 24, every day is race day in this town. Here’s where you can get your race on all year long:
NASCAR Driving Experience
“Your life is about to change forever,” exalts Richard Petty, nicknamed “The King” of NASCAR, on a training video aspiring drivers watch before their own run on the track via the NASCAR Driving Experience.
Enthusiasts drive a genuine NASCAR race car solo on the most storied track in sports—Daytona International Speedway. Drivers receive instruction from a “crew chief” and are coached by their own personal spotter throughout their eight-minute racing session.
In-car videos record the experience for bragging purposes and drivers receive a certificate of completion indicating their top speed—somewhere in the vicinity of 160 mph.
Thrill-seekers looking for an adrenaline rush without getting behind the wheel can opt for a ride-along and experience the fabled 31-degree banks with a professional driver.
There are only three rules to focus on here: Go fast, turn left and have fun.
Daytona International Speedway Track Tours:
Get behind the scenes at this venerated track and explore what makes Daytona the world’s center of racing and home to more than 101,500 fans on race day.
Get up close with pit road, the garages, the Daytona infield and Victory Lane. Customers also experience the stadium’s new “neighborhood concourses” and sponsored “injectors” (themed display areas) completed recently as part of a $400 million renovation and upgrade.
VIP tours include a special stop at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, which features all manner of motorsports including stock cars, sports cars, open-wheel racers, drag racers, land speed cruisers, power boats and aviation.
VIP fans get the chance to visit the International Speedway Corporation Archives. Located off-track in a nondescript low-slung building, the ISC Archives house a treasure trove of photographs, videos, trophies, race cars and ephemera associated with Daytona International Speedway from its origins.
Historians and archivists here work with researchers and media outlets to provide images (10 million+) to make stories come to life. Visitors find special tribute collections honoring racing legends such as Dale Earnhardt, who won the Daytona 500 in 1998, and his son Dale Jr., who matched his dad’s feat in 2004 and again in 2014, and a spot-on recreation of Bill France Sr.’s NASCAR office. Archivist Herb Branham, who covered motorsports for the Tampa Tribune, is usually on hand to walk visitors through this vast collection like no other.
With 23 miles of powdery beaches, championship golf, adventurous dining and the epicenter of things racing only a two-hour drive up Interstate 4 from the Tampa Bay area, the “world’s most famous beach” puts visitors into overdrive.