Destination: Florida’s Chalet Suzanne

Destination: Florida’s Chalet Suzanne
A World Class Getaway, Chalet Suzanne is a Treasure in Central Florida



The Chalet Suzanne is a historic country inn and restaurant tucked away in Central Florida, between Orlando and Tampa. And it has enchanted all who have crossed its threshold since 1931.

The magical and romantic getaway destination has been visited by celebrities from Hollywood; dignitaries from around the world; and became the place where the Apollo astronauts got their favorite soup, which they took on their trips to the moon!

The Chalet Suzanne has also been enjoyed by regular folks on vacation. It is a unique spot to have an unforgettable experience, as my husband and I discovered during our recent trip to Central Florida.

It is off the beaten track, but easy to get to, located east of US Highway 27, just north of Lake Wales. And it is a cozy place with just 28 guest rooms, each delightfully different in design and décor.

For more than 75 years, four generations of the Hinshaw family have owned the charming inn, and have welcomed guests with gracious hospitality. The feeling that a caring family is in charge of the resort’s operation is unmistakable. It is a joy to see the attention to details around the property. Much thought goes into selecting items as large as a bedroom set or as little as tea cups. Antiques and collectibles are all over the place.

When you arrive and see the main building, painted glorious pink, you expect to see elves around the folkloric property creating the magical atmosphere.


Everywhere you look there are whimsical spots– the courtyards, the picturesque private lake, autograph garden, spa, ceramic salon, vineyard, and the airstrip, which some regular patrons use just to fly in for lunch or dinner.

Chalet Suzanne’s award winning restaurant had Apollo astronaut Jim Irwin flying in regularly when he was training at Cape Kennedy in the early 1970s. He enjoyed the cuisine, and especially the “Romaine ®” soup served with every meal. So the Hinshaw family provided their soup for the Apollo 15, 16 and the Apollo-Soyuz space flights.

Nowadays, new generations are enjoying the tasty “out of this world” treat. There is the Chalet Gourmet Soups canning plant next to the inn, which gives tours and provides some fascinating history about developing soups for NASA.

Other legendary fare from original family recipes include the delicate Swedish pancakes served with wild lingonberries, part of their traditional country inn breakfast, complimentary for their guests.

When you stay at the inn you also get complimentary sherry, fruit, candy and fresh flowers, making everyone feel like a VIP.

It easy to see why Chalet Suzanne has been selected as Florida’s “finest and most romantic restaurant and Country Inn” by the authors of “The Best Romantic Escapes in Florida, Volume One.” It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has received many awards.

It is a place where a family tradition of excellence in field of hospitality started in 1931, with Bertha Hinshaw, a widow offering food to travelers in her unique home. The place grew, and now four generations later the Hinshaw family– Vita, Dee and Eric, continue the legacy. They make visitors feel like part of their family at their world class vacation destination.

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Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.