Clearwater hotel pays tribute to a dolphin turned movie star

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The new Winter the Dolphin Beach Club in Clearwater will feature jetties on its beach shaped to suggest a whale's tail.
The new Winter the Dolphin Beach Club in Clearwater will feature jetties on its beach shaped to suggest a whale's tail. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

The Quality Hotel Clearwater Beach resort on Florida's Gulf Coast is being rebranded as Winter the Dolphin's Beach Club Hotel.

Winter is the star attraction at the nearby Clearwater Marine Aquarium and was the subject of an inspirational 2011 movie, "Dolphin Tale," starring Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman. Winter, who was disabled after becoming entangled in fishing equipment, was given a prosthetic tail -- the only such prosthetic in existence.

Page Development Group, owner of the 91-room, beachfront hotel, said decorations themed to Winter and other marine life will be added everywhere from the lobby to the guestrooms. A wild dolphin webcam will let guests keep an eye on Clearwater marine life.  Some of the proceeds from each room rental will go to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to support its mission of education, research and conservation of marine mammals.

The hotel, which will be operated by McKibbon Hospitality under Choice Hotels' Ascend flag, is expected to complete its conversion to the new theme this spring.

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