The name comes from the 150-year-old Jacaranda tree growing where the hotel was to be built in 1923 - the Florida Boom Era. The tree was a landmark in town and there was much ado that it had to be felled to make room for the building. In fact, local citizens tried to replant the giant tree elsewhere, but it failed.
For several years, the hotel was known as the "Queen of the Ridge," thanks to its elegant accommodations and fine dining. The Great Depression of the 1930s and the War Years of the 1940s robbed her of her youth and sparkle. A series of loving owners tried their best to maintain her but the new trend toward highway hotels was just too much and the downward spiral continued. By 1988, the Jacaranda teetered on the edge of being closed down; but South Florida Community College came to the rescue. The college got into the Jacaranda act because of (1) its expanding programs in culinary arts, hospitality management and historic building restoration; (2) the need for student housing; and, (3) the desire to improve the economy of the community.
An enthusiastic crew of college staff, students and volunteers began the tedious jobs of scraping off all the accumulated coats of paint, patching, sealing, repainting, restoring the brass hardware and china fixtures, refinishing the wood floors, rewiring and re-plumbing.
Today, the "Jac" offers guests a choice of restored guest rooms, mini suites, master suites and grand suites, with the grand suite featuring a living room, two bedrooms and two baths. The restored lobby readily lends itself to relaxing, reading, conversing, card playing or working puzzles. And there's a heated, enclosed swimming pool.
Except in the summer, the dining room is open for lunch and dinner, with a southern-style buffet, salad bar and an a la carte menu. A grand buffet is offered on Sundays. It is closed Saturdays and Mondays.