El Governor hotel reopens in Mexico Beach after five years

The Hotel has a history of locals and tourists visiting for more than 20 years.
The hotel sustained immense damage after Hurricane Michael and has been rebranded.
The hotel sustained immense damage after Hurricane Michael and has been rebranded.(WJHG)
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 9:46 PM CDT
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MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - For decades the El Governor was a place where people came back year after year. It was a staple in Mexico Beach until Hurricane Michael gutted it.

Now the hotspot in Mexico Beach is making its return.

Owner Kathy Sloan’s father built the El Governor in 1989.

“My dad built this building and did an outstanding job, or it would not still be standing,” Sloan said.

What was left has now been rebuilt and rebranded as the El Governor Beach Resort and RV Park.

One local couple remembers staying at the hotel in years past.

“For the last 22 years, we’ve been coming down here for our anniversary in October,” Kim Carriger said. “We were here for our anniversary, and we knew a storm was coming.”

They had no clue that within 24 hours, it would be the last time they saw El Governor standing for years.

“We got in our car, I guess a week or so after the storm hit, and we come down to see,” Carriger said.

After seeing the immense damage, Carriger says the only emotion she felt was sadness.

“All you could do was cry. I mean it was just devastating.”

Now that couple is among the first to stay in the newly built hotel.

Sloan says she wasn’t even sure she wanted to rebuild it after the storm. It was her father’s hard work on the building that motivated her.

“I just couldn’t see it go down like that,” Sloan said. “So, we went through the long and tedious journey of bringing it back, and we’re very proud.”

As for repeat customers, many have been waiting years to see it reopen.

“I’ve been calling every two days, just waiting,” Carriger said. “And as soon as they said we could make reservations, we made reservations. We were the last ones out; the first ones back.”

The hotel is only partially opened for now, and it’s hiring workers.

If you want to apply, all you have to do is drive over to El Governor in Mexico Beach and visit the front desk.