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Create Memorable Meetings on the Paradise Coast
August 13, 2009
Meeting planners are increasingly choosing Southwest Florida’s beautiful Paradise Coast as a top meetings, conference and incentive destination.
JoNell Modys, CVB, email@example.com
Maria Sabale, BCF, firstname.lastname@example.org
CREATE MEMORABLE MEETINGS ON THE PARADISE COAST
Naples, Marco Island & the Everglades
Naples, Fla. (August 10, 2009)
– Meeting planners are increasingly choosing Southwest Florida’s beautiful Paradise Coast as a top meetings, conference and incentive destination. The Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades region is a diverse area that provides the perfect backdrop for corporate groups, conferences, association meetings and more. Planners are attracted to the many values available at the area’s excellent hotel and resort-based conference facilities, and the area’s small city charm is enhanced by world class amenities often found only in much larger destinations.
White sand beaches, golf, fishing, boating, kayaking, nature preserves and wildlife are all in abundant supply, and serve as perfect backdrop for leisure activities or for team building scenarios. There is also plenty of excellent shopping, dining, attractions, and world-class arts and cultural offerings to occupy meetings attendees and their families. Combine all that with the area’s excellent selection of meeting and conference facilities, and it’s easy to understand why the area is coming on strong as an increasingly popular meetings destination.
Convenient Air Service at Southwest Florida International
Just to the north of Naples in Fort Myers, Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) has a new midfield terminal that serves as an excellent gateway to the Paradise Coast. www.flylcpa.com
A new Airport to Hotel shuttle service is available for $39 per person, $10 each additional person from Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) to greater Naples area hotels from Naples Transportation, Tours & Event Planning
. Call 239-262-3006 or fill out their online form
to reserve in advance.
CVB Provides Info for Meeting Planners
The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB has a Meeting Planning Guide filled with information on area meeting and conference hotels, off-site venues, activities, services and more helpful information for planners. The CVB has also developed a CD video presentation for meeting planners showing the delights of the destination. To receive your free copy of the guide or CD, contact tourism sales manager Debi DeBenedetto directly at email@example.com
; (239) 252-2379; or call the toll free meeting planner line, 1-800-830-1760.
To facilitate meeting and conference planners, the destination’s visitor information Web site, www.paradisecoast.com
, has a Meeting Planners
section devoted to information on resort and hotel-based conference facilities, service providers and nearby off-site group activity venues. Visit now for a look at group specials and rates at area hotels and resorts, along with a photo download section to enhance your meeting promotional efforts.
Excellent Resort-Based Meeting & Conference Facilities
There are excellent resort and hotel-based meeting and conference facilities on the Paradise Coast, and most of them are located on or near the beaches of Naples and Marco Island. All provide access to some of the world’s top golf courses, and provide a wide range of group facilities and services. Top properties for meetings in Naples include The Ritz-Carlton, Naples; The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples; Naples Grande Beach Resort; Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club; LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort; Hilton Naples; GreenLinks Golf Resort & Conference Center; The Inn on Fifth; Bellasera Hotel, the new Hotel at Naples Bay Resort, and numerous name brand and boutique properties that can handle smaller group functions and overflow from the larger conference hotels.
Top properties on Marco Island include the newly renovated Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa (the Paradise Coast’s largest meeting and conference facility with over 225,000 total sq. ft. of event space); the newly renovated Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort, with a new spa opening December 2008; the elegant Marco Beach Ocean Resort; and Olde Marco Island Inn & Suites.
In Everglades City, the Ivey House B&B has capacity for small group meetings and their in-house guide service specializes in canoe and kayak tours (between November and April) of the Everglades region for unique team building activities.
A new Fairfield Inn & Suites
is coming to Naples September 1st. Located next to the Springhill Suites just off I-75 at the gateway to Naples, Marco Island and the Florida Everglades, it will boast 109 rooms and suites, an outdoor heated pool, complimentary hot breakfast and high-speed internet access. For more information visit www.marriott.com/rswfs
The new SpringHill Suites Marriott Naples
opened in November 2008. The 102-suite hotel is located just off I-75 at Collier Blvd. (Exit 101), the gateway to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades. The SpringHill Suites Marriott
features all studio suites, a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, free high speed Internet, a 24-hour business center, a 24-hour snack shop, a guest fitness center and a guest laundry room.
The Hotel at Naples Bay Resort
is an 85-room hotel that opened in 2008, part of the new Naples Bay Resort
mixed use development on the Gordon River and Naples Bay with direct
access to the Gulf of Mexico. Naples Bay Resort also includes condos, a spa, vacation cottages, a marina, the Olio on Naples Bay and Bonefish Grill restaurants and shopping. Starting in winter 2009 the resort hosts free entertainment on Wednesday evenings with opera and other musical entertainment, gondola rides and more. www.naplesbayresort.com
Hotels Going Green in Collier County:
Hotels along the Paradise Coast continue to achieve designation as Green Lodgings by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Fourteen hotels have received their official Green Lodging designation to date with five properties, the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa, the Hilton Naples, Doubletree Guest Suites, Naples and both The Ritz-Carlton, Naples and The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples having achieved the Two Palm designation due to their elevated level of conservation and other green initiatives.
The Florida Green Lodgings in the region are:
Naples area: Hilton Naples; the Doubletree Guest Suites Naples; Bellasera Hotel; Inn at Pelican Bay; Naples Grande Beach Resort; The Ritz-Carlton, Naples beach resort; The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples; Hawthorn Suites of Naples; Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club; Courtyard by Marriott Naples and Greenlinks Golf Resort & Conference Center. Marco Island: Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa and Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa. Everglades City: Ivey House Bed & Breakfast. Several of the hotels have initiated innovative practices to conserve energy. Hilton Naples has planted a rooftop Confederate jasmine vine garden atop its ballroom, to reduce heat absorption. The DoubleTree Guest Suites Naples has a designated parking space for hybrid vehicles right outside the front door.
What’s Happening with Meeting & Conference Resorts
The newly renovated Naples Grande Beach Resort
, formerly known as The Registry Resort & Club, invites guests to discover a chic, newly modernized lobby and sample sophisticated cuisine at the hip lobby restaurant, Aura. The resort brings the first Golden Door Spa to the United States east coast, along with a new Strip House steakhouse. The Naples Grande Golf Club continues to offer excellent options for group tournaments and recreational outings. Sister hotel Edgewater Beach Hotel is offers reciprocal privileges and helps to facilitates large groups. www.naplesgranderesort.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
has added the Naples Beach House
, the newest addition to the traditional, elegant and classic Five-Star, Five-Diamond resort located on pristine white sands of the Gulf of Mexico. The $4.5 million dollar beach house is a complete reconstruction of an older structure located at the same site when the landmark resort opened in 1985. The Naples Beach House is a 3,000 square foot, two-story multi-use facility designed to accommodate business and leisure guests with the versatility to stage elaborate dinners, festive receptions, ornate weddings or high-energy parties. The beach house can host 120 people for a sit down dinner or 150 for cocktail receptions on either floor. The Naples Beach House features mesquite hardwood floors, Caribbean wicker ceiling fans and plantation shutters throughout.
The first floor Shore Level is conducive for ceremonies, upscale meetings, cocktails or afterglow parties. The second floor Sunset Level, accessible by elevator or stairs, is perfect for sit-down or buffet style dinner events. The upper level also allows for live entertainment and dancing. This state-of-the-art facility also boasts a full service kitchen for on-site catering needs complete with a black granite bar looking out to views of the serene Gulf of Mexico. www.ritzcarlton.com
LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort
offers casually elegant tropical décor directly facing Vanderbilt Beach in north Naples. New fire pit seating areas facing the beach add to the ambience for evening social gatherings. www.laplayaresort.com
Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa
emerged last spring after a multi-year renovation that totaled over $200 million. In celebration, the resort is giving meeting planners the gift of a once-in-a-lifetime experience if they book a meeting at the resort between August 1-October 31 2008 or 2009. Planners may choose from the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby, the Masters Golf Tournament and more unforgettable experiences. For more information and to register to win a trip to the resort on Marco Island, log on to www.searching4paradise.com
. The luxury property has recently completed the construction of a brand new 24,000-square-foot Balinese spa, redesigned The Rookery Golf Course at Marco and opened a new clubhouse with additional function space, refurbished 32 Lanai suites, restored the Island and Capri ballrooms and redesigned the resort’s lobby. The resort has recently unveiled guest room and penthouse upgrades, a new upscale retail area and a beachfront Italian restaurant. In addition, the Quinn pool has been transformed into a large free-form fantasy pool complete with outdoor function space, tropical landscaping and enticing water features. www.marcoislandmarriott.com
GreenLinks Golf Resort & Conference Center
in Naples opened their new conference center in early 2008 with 3,000 square feet of planned meeting space. The resort now handles direct booking of golf play at the neighboring Mustang and Flamingo Island courses. www.greenlinksnaples.com
was recently named by TripAdvisor.com as among its —Top Ten Hidden Gems in the U.S.” Visitors rave about the better than home comfort, appointments and amenities they find in Bellasera’s 100 studio and one to three-bedroom suites. The flexibility of Bellasera’s design makes it a popular choice for meeting groups. Its 4,000 sq. ft. of function space seats up to 200 in a classic Italian setting. Verde, the Bellasera’s new spa, uses all organic products and the spa’s philosophy complements the hotel’s new status as a certified Florida Green Lodging.
Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort
has completed an expansive upgrade and renovation project to its meeting space, lobby and restaurant areas featuring floor-to-ceiling windows in the main entrance lobby of the hotel and new scenic ambiance and a revamped menu at the Paradise Café. A new spa debuted in December, 2008. Guestroom and penthouse renovations now complete the $15 million project. www.marcoisland.hilton.com
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club
completed guestroom renovations in late 2007, which complement the property’s new $5 million lobby. A majority of the lobby’s back wall was replaced with large glass panes to provide guests with a spectacular view of the Gulf of Mexico. A new lobby bar takes advantage of the view. The new lobby completes a full property renovation including the addition of a new conference center, golf clubhouse and spa. www.naplesbeachhotel.com
The Inn on Fifth
, Old Naples' elegant boutique hotel, features a rooftop pool and terrace perfect for events along with The Spa on Fifth. The boutique hotel property in the heart of downtown Naples has just completed room renovations. The Spa on Fifth is shaped by Feng Shui elements and mixes Asian influences with tropical accents, providing an extensive array of anti-aging and rejuvenating treatments. The Inn on Fifth has meeting and banquet space both indoors on its rooftop pool deck. www.naplesinn.com
As a complement to the sophisticated meeting facilities at Marco Beach Ocean Resort
, a glass-walled ballroom is now overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, offering an exceptional venue for general sessions, banquets, and receptions. www.marcoresort.com
Adventure Training Concepts
is an adventure-based team training facility utilizing authentic U.S. Army strategies to facilitate curriculum-based training, team spirit, fitness and bonding experiences for corporate, youth and other groups. ATC now has a public ropes course and training facility located near Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary between Naples and Immokalee, and also stages various event scenarios throughout the surrounding area. Indiana Jones and Survivor themed-events are growing in popularity.www.adventuretrainingconcepts.com
The Dolphin Explorer
cruise boat, with departures from Marco Island and Naples, allows teams of participants to serve as citizen scientists dolphin researchers. Teams work with a naturalist on board to collect data, photograph and log activities of the resident bottlenose dolphins that live in the estuaries surrounding Naples and Marco Island. This rewarding and challenging experience provides education, fun and team challenge opportunities. www.dolphin-explorer.com
Out’nback Nature Tours
specializes in non-motorized outdoor activities with minimal impact on public recreational areas. The company has a walking tour of the Old Naples historic area using handheld GPS that can be turned into a team activity with progressive clues. This tour can accommodate five teams of up to ten members each, with a GPS unit for each team. The company also can arrange Everglades Guided Walking Tours and bicycle tours in both downtown Naples and the Everglades for groups of up to 30 cyclists.
Off-Site Venues Provide an Exotic Array of Choices
Within convenient reach of Naples and Marco Island’s hotel-based conference facilities, there is an eclectic array of off-site group function venues. One of the most striking is NGALA
, a private game reserve with a luxurious tented facility where live African animals, fine food and spirits, music and adventure bring your group dinner functions to a whole new level of unforgettable experience. In addition to the African Safari theme, an Everglades adventure theme is also available.www.ngala.com
Naples Botanical Garden
is in the process of creating a world-class tropical garden paradise that will include cultivated gardens of Brazil, the Caribbean, and a hands-on interactive Children’s Garden along with 90 acres of beautifully restored natural habitats. The Garden will open to the public in November 2009. Starting January 2010, Naples Botanical Garden will be available as a venue for meetings, conferences, receptions and dinners. The lush backdrop of the beautiful Garden with vibrantly colored flowers makes a picturesque tropical paradise backdrop, all just ten minutes from downtown Naples. The newly remodeled Windstar Garden Room, a 4,000 square foot air-conditioned space, can accommodate up to 125 guests. Also available is The Garden Lecture Room that can accommodate up to 60 guests www.naplesgarden.org
Big Cypress Market Place
is an exciting venture in Naples. This 87,000-square-foot flea shopping, entertainment and event venue opened October 10, 2008 and will be open year-round Friday-Sunday to the public, with special events planned on weekday evenings. Located on U.S. 41 four miles east of Collier Boulevard (CR 951), the Market Place features an indoor flea market with more than 100 retail vendors, a food court with entertainment stage and second-floor mezzanine seating, an outdoor produce market and Tiki Bar, a winery and a large event center. The 7,000-square-foot food arena features a second-floor mezzanine and a stage for live entertainment, student performances and cooking demonstrations. A 13,000-square-foot EXPO event center can be rented for trade shows, car shows, parties and other large gatherings. Vendor and event center leasing information is available at (239) 262-3210. www.bigcypressmarketplace.com
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
is building a resume of corporate and social group functions that incorporate the property’s extensive botanical gardens as well as the AZA-accredited zoo’s animals and programs. Set up a tent for a formal dinner event in Rain Forest Grove, or provide ride aboard the zoo’s Primate Expedition Cruise, with two pontoon boats that tour the zoo’s cage-free primate habitats on islands within Lake Victoria. The recently opened Leopard Rock exhibit features glass walls that allow visitors to be eye-to-eye with the big cats. The new fosa exhibit displays two rare fosas, a native predator from the island of Madagascar.www.napleszoo.com
The Philharmonic Center for the Arts
, including a concert hall and the Naples Museum of Art, offers culturally significant events and exhibits as well as an interesting choice of unique meeting venues. www.thephil.org
The Naples Art Association’s von Liebig Art Center
at Cambier Park in downtown Naples has free public art galleries along with classes and workshops. The art center’s facility is also available for special functions. www.naplesartcenter.org
North Collier Regional Park
, home to the new Sun-N-Fun Lagoon water park, also has new exhibit space available for groups. This facility in north Naples has two exhibit halls for a total of 5,400 square feet of space with half and quarter hall divisions available. There is a kitchen to accommodate catering and dining tables and chairs are available. Contact Sue HeBee at 239-254-4060.
Edison Community College’s Collier County Campus
just east of downtown Naples has a conference center that accommodates 234 people with several breakout rooms on site. This site is very convenient to Marco Island as well as Naples. Call 239-732-3707.
There are numerous museum facilities that offer interesting locations – such as the Collier County Museum
locations in Naples, Everglades City and Immokalee. www.colliermuseum.com
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
has a wonderful interactive educational center. Included in this space is a state-of-the-art auditorium, break out meeting and classrooms, and reception spaces with views of the mangrove estuary surrounding the Reserve. Nature walks and boat tours of the reserve are available, as are volunteer opportunities to participate in reserve maintenance. www.rookerybay.org
offers sightseeing cruises on the double-decker Double Sunshine boat departing from the docks at Tin City. Every Friday evening there is a public Sipn’Sail sunset cruise, with an extensive wine tasting experience onboard. Planners may also work with Sipn’Sail’s own master sommelier and staff to create their own exclusive wine tasting experience, along with wine tasting receptions, dinners & cordial finales, at any location on the Paradise Coast. www.cruisenaplesflorida.com
The Naples Princess
yacht is available for group charters or for public sightseeing or dinner cruises. This elegant large yacht offers inside seating in spacious air conditioned cabins as well as decks for enjoying the sea breezes. www.naplesprincesscruises.com
Shopping is an art form in Naples and Fifth Avenue South, known as Naples MainStreet, offers boutiques, galleries, jewelry and wine shops, restaurants, bars and more. www.fifthavenuesouth.com
. Nearby, Third Street South provides the world’s only full time street concierge to provide information and assistance amidst the old Naples Historic District, featuring upscale shops, art galleries and restaurants. www.thirdstreetsouth.com
. Elite Personal Shoppers
is a personal shopping service in Naples providing customized shopping excursions based on an individual’s or group’s needs. Navigate your way through Naples’ many upscale designer boutiques, interior design stores, galleries, restaurants and more. Contact Bernie Gant at 239-290-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org
. Waterside Shops at Pelican Bay
continues to evolve with the opening of new luxury retail stores, including Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Hermes, Gucci and more. Mall managers will work with groups to create unique shopping themed experiences, scavenger hunts or other activities, or assist with events at one of the five restaurants on site. A Nordstrom’s department store opened in Fall of 2008. www.watersideshops.net
Arts & Culture
If culture is your focus, there are over 100 art galleries in Collier County headlined by the Naples Museum of Art at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts, as well as a variety of fascinating historical and cultural museums. In fact, Naples has recently been named the Number One Small Art Town in America. From the many retail galleries downtown to centers including the von Liebig Art Center and Marco Island Center for the Arts, there are many programs with art as a backdrop that can be developed for groups. www.uaccollier.com
Hobbies & Pastimes
is a passion for many visitors to the area, and with nearly 90 courses, the choices are many and varied. All of the major meeting and conference hotels are affiliated with top courses – so planning a golf tournament or golf-themed event is convenient and a perfect fit for many corporate events.
in the Naples, Marco Island, Ten Thousand Islands and Everglades areas is world-class, and includes adventurous backcountry fishing as well as deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Visit the fishing section of www.ParadiseCoast.com
for a list of charter captains and guide services. One of the fastest growing segments of saltwater fishing is kayak fishing. Capt. Charles Wright in Everglades City offers custom guided kayak fishing and kayak eco adventures through Everglades Area Tours within the saltwater portion of Everglades National Park. Capt. Wright is able to put kayaks and passengers in his —mother ship” the Yak Attak, which ferries passengers and kayaks to areas perfect for catching snook, redfish, tarpon, permit and other popular gamefish. If fishing doesn’t appeal, just book it for a group eco paddling experience. Groups of six are ideal but larger groups can be arranged. www.evergladesareatours.com
You And A Kayak
is a kayak guide service providing customized tours departing from City Seafood restaurant in Everglades City between November and April. Half day, full day and multi day trips are offered at all skill levels with extensive interpretation of the natural environment. Two of the more unique trips are the Cowgirl Kayakers half and full day trips for women, along with the women-only Cowgirl Kayakers Camping expedition, with all equipment and instruction supplied for a 2-day, 1-night camping and kayaking adventure. www.YouAndAKayak.com
is the latest craze with the advent of numerous televised poker tournament events. The Seminole Casino
in Immokalee near Naples recently expanded its poker playing area to accommodate the growing interest in the game. Frequent public poker tournaments are held at the casino, and the staff will develop customized poker tournament for groups to include transportation and refreshments. The casino also just added blackjack tables and Las Vegas style slots to its gaming lineup.www.theSeminoleCasino.com
Naples Water Tours
offers guided small boat tours of Naples Bay departing from the Charter Club Resort on Naples Bay, www.napleswatertours.com
Naples Transportation, Tours & Event Planning
offers full group transportation and event planning, as well as several popular local tour options. Everglades Excursions are guided half or full day Everglades guided van tours; the Naples Trolley has public stops throughout the greater Naples area, and trolleys are available for charter for private events; and the Naples Segway
tour zips participants throughout the downtown area. www.nttep.com
Marco Island Ski & Watersports
has a 49-passenger power catamaran, the Calusa Spirit, perfect for group shelling trips to nearby deserted islands or private cocktail receptions and buffet dinners onboard. The company provides a unique, eco-friendly guided Waverunner tour of the Ten Thousand Islands mangrove forest, departing from the beach in front of the Marco Island Marriott and Hilton Marco Island. www.marcoislandwatersports.com
The Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official tourism marketing and management agency for Collier County, Florida, funded entirely by the Collier County tourist development tax. The CVB provides meeting planning assistance, guides and support materials online at www.ParadiseCoast.com or by calling the meeting planner’s hotline at 1-800-830-1760.
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