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  • Writer's pictureChelsea Susan Bednar

History Preserved: An Ode to The Coral Lee Motel

A Brief History of the Property:

Timeline: Coral Lee | Sunset Inn & Cottages

Built in the late 1950s, The Coral Lee Motel made a name for itself as one of Florida’s most sought after vacation destinations. Located directly across from the the sandy shores of the Gulf of Mexico, this Googie Style motel caught the eye of roadside travelers who would stay a night on their way through town… only to continue returning year after year. And hey, we don’t blame them! With the perfect location, enticing waters, and that Old Florida atmosphere, it’s hard not to return.

Sometime after World War II, two of the captain's quarters at MacDill Air Force Base were no longer in use and barged over Tampa Bay to Treasure Island. (They are The Captain and the Coral Lee!) Thus, the property expanded, eventually adding a total of five cottages across the street; these private bungalows provided an upgraded, more spacious option for guests to book. Through the years The Coral Lee was renamed, landing on the name today: Sunset Inn & Cottages.

Above: The origional brochure of The Coral Lee, a 50’s postcard, and a photograph of the propety in 2022.

Over the years, the original name of the building seemed lost to time, preserved only in postcards under a glass tabletop. In 2022, {verdigreen} hotels acquired the property making an intentional plan to restore this historical property to it’s retro roots. We renovated and redesigned the MidCentury motel in a 1950s style with Space Age interiors.

To heighten the nostalgic feeling, the courtyards were re-imagined to bring people together. Yard games, outdoor amenities, and ample outdoor seating encourages guests to commune and have a grand ol’ time.

A Nod To The Past:

Such a rich history deserved to be recognized for the Coral Lee and how far it’s come. To do so, we’ve dedicated the name of the coral-colored cottage (previously known as Sun Kissed.). In the Coral Lee Cottage, all the original postcards and brochures were custom framed and hung in the Living Room Area. Outside, a hand-painted mural of the original logo was added to the side of the cottage. From the roadside view on 79th Avenue, passerby’s will get a glance at history past.

We hope you’ve enjoyed a peak into the past of The Coral Lee | Sunset Inn & Cottages.

Thanks for reading, we hope to see you soon!

The Sunset Team

Partying it up in Key West? Visit our sister property Marrero's Guest Mansion with {verdigreen} Hotels.

Stay in touch! Follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and tell us about your stay over at Trip Advisor. Feel the ocean breeze yourself - come visit us at Sunset Inn at Treasure Island, Florida.

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