VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — “I was planning on going to Pensacola, Florida for about three weeks and I said nah, once I found out it’s being torn down. It’s sad to see it go.”
Dennis Olaughlin worked at the Belvedere Hotel for 20 years as an evening manager. As crews continue to tear down this historic hotel, Olaughlin came by to say his final goodbye.
“It’s kind of like going to a funeral of a good friend, you just really have to say goodbye,” Olaughlin said.
As he watched the crew tear down this place he once called home memories started to pop up.
“The very last two rooms were the owner of the hotel's rooms, room 201 and 202, they're still attached for some reason. I expected to see the ghost of the previous owner," Olaughlin remarked.
He started to remember the best part of working at the Belvedere.
“I love this hotel, I loved working here, the guests were wonderful, it was generation after generation. I mean I watch people come in with their babies and by the time I was leaving, those babies were bringing their babies," Olaughlin reminisced.
Even though Olaughlin hasn’t worked at the Belvedere in years he can still remember certain guests.
“I can tell you all the rooms of all of our guests that would specifically ask for certain rooms every year. That’s 20 years of memories.”
Olaughlin has so many memories with this hotel that he says choosing a favorite one is just too hard.
“Like every place you accumulate many memories, that’s one of the things we used to do at the end of the season before we closed down for the winter is that we would all gather together for a party and talk about our favorite memories and there’s just too many of them.”
The Oceanfront has changed a lot and this is one change Olaughlin is sad to see.
“The saddest thing about watching this place being torn down is that a lot of these hotels went from being 'mom and pops' and you worked for a family and it was like your family and now they're all corporate and they lost that charm, that southern hospitality that you get with these smaller hotels.”