Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades
Florida’s Paradise Coast
The Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa has completed the first phase of a $250 million transformation that will ultimately result in its rebranding to the first JW Marriott Beach Resort in the continental U.S. The resort now has 716 newly renovated and enhanced guestrooms, new dining options, a re-imagined lobby and lots of amenities while work continues on a new resort tower. The new Tiki Bar opening winter 2016 offers a retro-cool setting, an extensive menu of rums and rum-based drinks, all just steps from the pool and the beach. When all work is complete, the resort will debut on January 1, 2017 as the JW Marriott Beach Resort Marco Island. A new tower will feature celebrity chef driven restaurants, new meeting space, a luxurious new adults-only pool deck and much more.
The new Hyatt House Naples/Fifth Avenue opened in March 2016 along the picturesque
Gordon River section of Naples Bay. Naples architect Matt Kragh designed the 186-room property with an Old Florida feel with modern touches, featuring an off-white exterior plus parapets and cornices. The hotel will have 3,315 sq. ft. of meeting space and a dock/marina complex, including a large waterfront bar. Online reservations for individuals and group stays are now able to be booked online from May 3, 2016.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida has added a new 99-room hotel at its casino and entertainment complex in Immokalee just northeast of Naples featuring modern décor
with a fresh Florida feel. The entire Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee complex is now
175,600 square feet, up from its previous total of 75,600 square feet. The casino floor expansion now totals more than 51,000 square feet, with more than 1,300 slot machines and 38 live table games. The 99-room hotel features 19 suites and 80 deluxe guestrooms on four stories, plus a swimming pool with adjacent private Seminole Chickee cabana huts.
The Edgewater Beach Hotel recently completed a full property renovation and has also introduced a new custom-designed Serenity Suite. The Serenity Suite is a supremely comfortable luxury accommodation with custom amenities intended to create a tranquil, soothing and transformative experience. The suite offers a view of the Gulf of Mexico, is equipped with serene lighting on dimmer switches and includes exclusive features such as a PranaSleep® mattress, a NutriBullet Pro® juicer; an in-suite massage table and News yoga mat; a selection of meditation, yoga and wellness CDs, DVDs and books; and complimentary set of aromatherapy lotions and oils.
Southwest Florida’s Paradise Coast is comprised of the Gulf Coast area of Florida that includes the resort cities of Naples and Marco Island, along with Everglades City as well as several national, state, local and private parks and nature preserves. Everglades City is known as the Stone Crab Capital of World, and with many local seafood companies and markets, the Paradise Coast boasts a variety of restaurants where freshly caught stone crabs, along with Gulf shrimp and fish, are plentiful. The region is 2 ½ hours from Tampa, an hour and a half from Fort Lauderdale and two hours from Miami. Most visitors use the Southwest Florida International Airport in Ft. Myers, located about 30 miles north of Naples.
Naples is a charming resort city on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. The area is famous for its beautiful white sand beaches, golf courses, fishing, boating, water sports, arts and culture and spectacular sunsets. Naples is growing in popularity with families and as a
romantic retreat for younger couples and families. Naples is home to approximately 100
area art galleries featuring local artists as well as museum quality collections available at the retail level.
Flanked by nearly 100 miles of islands, bays and estuaries that will never be developed, Marco Island is a nature lover’s retreat. Access to this nearby wilderness is possible through the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Ten Thousand Islands
National Wildlife Refuge, Collier-Seminole State Park, Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park. These conditions provide a paradise for families, nature photographers, anglers and outdoor adventurers.
Lovers of adventure can enjoy an exciting excursion in Everglades City, Florida, located in southwest Florida’s Paradise Coast. Hiking trails, nature boardwalks, scenic drives and paddling routes provide excellent access to the cypress forests and upland prairies of the western Everglades. Waterway trails including the Wilderness Waterway in Everglades National Park and the Paradise Coast Blueway through the Ten Thousand Islands provide paddling routes through America’s only subtropical mangrove wilderness.
Enjoy the Outdoors Dolphin Explorer – this boat takes passengers out twice daily for a trip that is WAY more than a dolphin sightseeing tour. Naturalists working on the 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project allow passengers to participate and help identify, photograph and log photos and behavior data about all the dolphins spotted. All this material from the 5-plus years of the study is being used to create a new website that will allow schools and the public to News access this fascinating dolphin data.
Everglades Area Tours – if you enjoy eco exploration by kayak, but don’t relish the idea
of really long endurance paddles, this outfit has the perfect solution. Specially outfitted
skiffs (one is called the Yak Attack) carry up to six people and six kayaks into the
Wilderness Waterway section of Everglades National Park, departing from Chokoloskee
Island. You can do either half or full day trips. You’ll paddle around beautiful islands with deserted white sand beaches then back into lush creeks rich with bird life, fish and other sea creatures. Multi-day kayak camping expeditions and kayak fishing are also available. http://www.evergladesareatours.com
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary – Considered the “crown jewel” in the National Audubon Society’s sanctuary system, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is the largest old growth virgin bald cypress forest in North America. A 2.25 mile boardwalk winds through a variety of ecosystems that serve as a magnet for numerous native and migratory bird species and
a variety of native Florida wildlife. The sanctuary is also home to a rare ghost orchid, visible via viewing scope from the boardwalk when in bloom during the summer months.
The natural environment in and around Marco Island provides the perfect backdrop for both relaxing and adventurous activities. Marco Island’s beach and surrounding sand bars offer some of the best shelling in the world. A casual stroll along Marco Island
beaches will reward the shell seeker with a wide variety of shells including whelks, olive shells, scallops and hundreds of other gems of the sea.
The western portion of the Everglades, which includes the Big Cypress Swamp ecosystem, is on grand display in the Paradise Coast region. Explore the Gulf Coast entrance to Everglades National Park in Everglades City, which takes visitors via boat tour or canoe or kayak expedition into the Ten Thousand Islands – the saltwater portion of the national park. Watch for bottlenose dolphin, sea turtles, manatees and
many varieties of birds in this watery ecosystem. Or, explore the upland portions of the big cypress by taking an adventurous hike through a cypress swamp in either Big Cypress National Preserve or Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.
Naples Botanical Garden
The garden includes cultivated “gardens with latitude” from the 26th parallel north and south around the globe, including Florida, Asia, the Caribbean and Brazil. An interactive children’s garden provides many opportunities for kids to delight in experiencing and learning about plants and the natural world. There are miles of nature trails through native Florida preserve lands. http://www.naplesgarden.org