Historic Building reopens as Downtown Valdosta’s only boutique hotel

The McKey had its grand opening on Tuesday and Valdosta leaders hope this gem can contribute to...
The McKey had its grand opening on Tuesday and Valdosta leaders hope this gem can contribute to the city’s economy.(Source: WALB)
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 12:38 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Something new is debuted in Downtown Valdosta but it has historical roots.

The McKey had its grand opening on Tuesday and Valdosta leaders hope this gem can contribute to the city’s economy. The owners of the only boutique hotel in Downtown Valdosta took WALB News 10 inside their newly renovated historic building to show what can happen when investors save a beautiful old building.

The building started as a hotel in 1906. Back then, rooms went for 50 cents a night. More than a century later, Daniel Bayman had a vision for The McKey and he tried to preserve as many of the original historic elements as possible.

“We went through a two-year process of restoring this to its 1906 origins and taking a lot of time to make sure that we honored that history, not just in the preservation of it but in the design elements of the hotel,” Bayman said.

If the walls in this boutique hotel walls could talk, they’d tell stories of Valdosta and Lowndes County that date back over 115 years.

“Also in the halls, we have pictures all the way from 1906 to the (1900s) that are blown up and fill in the old transoms and they just kind of tell the history,” Bayman said.

Bayman said the architects and designers kept the original flooring on the third and fourth floors. The windows were changed from one panel to two to allow for more lighting and better energy conservation.

“We pulled the side of a 1920s warehouse that was being demoed that was 1 by 12s. We painted those down and cut them into two and quarter to do our flooring for the first and secnd floor,” Bayman said.

As you walk through the hotel, you see the original flooring and doors. Bayman said it was important for them to preserve these elements since maintaining original structures also helps with energy conservation.

“The walls for the hotel rooms are actually original walls, so we had to design the hotel around t. Sometimes, the doors don’t open the way that you think they should, we had to keep them that way. So, we couldn’t take out any doors or remove any doors, so it made it a unique challenge from a design standpoint.”

The window paneling helps with energy conservation too. Something Bayman said is important when preserving the original structure of historic buildings.

“There are 15 AC units on this property. They are all timed with check-in and check-out. For instance, they go into eco-mode and when somebody books and says they’re 30 minutes from arrival, the air conditioner will turn on so it gets to a nice comfortable temperature and then when they check out, it will kick back into eco mode.”

City leaders said this hotel could help promote a “stay-cation” feel for residents and help boost the downtown economy.

Main Street Director Brandie Dame said The McKey is just what Downtown Valdosta needs.

“His vision is helping to develop downtown and what we need and what we’re looking for is more tourism to come, like Daniel has mentioned stay-vacations. you can stay and book a room and dine and shop in Valdosta and just shop small and support our local merchants,” Dame said.

Executive Director of Visit Valdosta David DiSalvo said the hotel can add to the economic development of the city.

“This can bring life to downtown. You can eat, work and play downtown, which I think is absolutely wonderful. It’s supporting the whole economic development of the downtown area,” DiSalvo said.

The Boutique hotel takes on an Airbnb Style with contactless check-in and it sits high in the heart of downtown with beautiful views of Valdosta. The McKey is now open to the public for booking and stays.