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"This is like my baby:" Owner finally opens Port Charlotte Hampton Inn after Ian

The hotel was closed for 16 months and needed more than $5 million in repairs to reopen. The reopening came at the same time as tourism started to rise again in Charlotte County.
Posted at 12:25 AM, Apr 06, 2024

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — The Port Charlotte Hampton Inn has finally reopened after it took extensive damage during Hurricane Ian, just as the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach reported tourism numbers in Charlotte County are up compared to last year.

The Hampton Inn has been locally owned by Milit Amin for nearly eight years. During that time, he and his team of hospitality specialists have made it one of the best reviewed hotels in Charlotte County.

“I can’t take credit at all, it's all them” said Amin.

When Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida in September 2022, the hotel, which was full of people attempting to evacuate and/or shelter-in-place, suffered extensive damage and had to close.

“It took my breath away,” said Amin, remembering when he first saw the damage.

Employees like Chris Brucci were inside the hotel during the hurricane.

“It was terrifying in here. I’m a Desert Storm veteran, I worked at Charlotte Correctional for seven and a half years, the day of the storm was the scariest moment of my life."

Chris Brucci, Port Charlotte Hampton Inn employee

Amin told Fox 4's Port Charlotte Community Correspondent Alex Orenczuk the hotel was closed for 16 months, and needed more than $5 million in repairs to reopen.

“This is like my baby, my bread and butter for me and my family,” said Amin. “There was no way that I could walk away from this.”

Now, the 71 room hotel is once again welcoming guests. This comes as the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB) reported that tourism increased 7.7% in January and 13.9% in February compared to the same time last year.

Sean Walter from the VCB told Fox 4 that businesses reopening in Charlotte County, like the Hampton Inn, Sunseeker Resort, and the return of the Tampa Bay Rays for Spring Training contributed to the increase.

“Now that they have done these renovations and had staggered openings, it's really helping for the season quite a bit,” said Walter.