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What’s New in Naples, Marco Island and the Gulf Coast Everglades
June 16, 2010
Check out the latest in what's new with attractions, hotels, restaurants and activities in Naples, Marco Island and the Gulf Coast Everglades.
USA: JoNell Modys, firstname.lastname@example.org, 239-252-2425
USA: Maria Sabale, email@example.com, 757-497-4811
USA: Angela Bryant, firstname.lastname@example.org, 239-252-6298
(June 15, 2010) – The vibrant communities of Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City, Immokalee, and Ave Maria comprise the Paradise Coast region of Southwest Florida. The area ranges between over 30 miles of white sand beaches, along with natural mangrove coastal areas, to vast expanses of pristine inland wilderness preserved as park or conservation land, with vibrant and growing urban areas in between. If you haven’t visited the area recently there is plenty to explore that’s new since your last visit.
For more information on where to stay, things to do and information about visiting the Paradise Coast, visit the convention and visitors bureau’s official visitor information Web site, www.ParadiseCoast.com
, or call
1-800-688-3600 for a free visitors guide. From outside the United States, call 1-239-225-1013.
The Coast is Clear
Beaches in Naples, Marco Island and the Gulf Coast Everglades are clean and clear and have not been
affected by the oil spill created by the accident on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in Gulf of Mexico waters
south of Louisiana. Even though tar balls from the spill have reached the shores of the Florida Panhandle
in Pensacola, the Paradise Coast beaches are on the Southwest Gulf Coast, over 700 miles from the Florida
Panhandle. Officials are monitoring the movement of the oil and are ready to take preventative action should
the oil become caught in currents that would bring it south. Wind and currents are currently keeping the oil far
away from Southwest Florida. If current do bring the oil south, emergency managers predict the oil will
remain several hundred miles offshore. Daily beach conditions, informational updates and live beach Web
cams are available at www.ParadiseCoast.com
How to Save
The Paradise Coast wants to help you Find Your Summer Paradise
. This new destination promotion offers visitors dozens of ways to save during a trip to Naples, Marco Island and the Gulf Coast Everglades, including resort credits, low nightly rates, free golf, great packages and more. As well as listing great deals, the Find Your Summer Paradise page includes a digital Summer Fun Guide and the Days of Summer events calendar, along with information on picking up your V.I.P – Values in Paradise savings card once you arrive.
The Paradise Coast V.I.P. – Values in Paradise savings card is available through December 15, 2010. It offers visitors thousands of dollars in savings at participating restaurants, attractions, tours and shops. Some of the savings for 2010 include attraction discounts, buy-one-get-one-free or half-off offers and other great discounts and deals. The VIP card is free to all visitors, can be used immediately upon arrival and is easily found at four convenient visitor center locations: the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, the Downtown Naples Association Visitor Center, Marco Island Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center and the Everglades Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.
Visitors that would like to take in the atmosphere on a budget have some excellent choices. Many hotels offer value-priced rates throughout the year that leave plenty of room in your travel budget to splurge on dining, spa treatments, shopping, fishing, eco tours and more. Also, prices on hotel rooms and golf course greens fees drop by as much as one third to one half the rates peak winter season rates during the slower months of May through December.
Getting Here & Getting Around
Air service is available to Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Ft. Myers just north of Naples via most major air carriers. There are 39 non-stop routes available.
For international travelers, Air Berlin offers direct service between Ft. Myers and Dusseldorf; Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing fly direct to Toronto; and Air Canada also flies direct to Montreal. For visitors flying in to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, it is a two-hour drive to the Naples area, and from Orlando it is a four-hour drive.
Naples Trolley Tours provides narrated two-hour tours with stops at most area resorts, shopping centers and districts and attractions. Riders may purchase a ticket good for an entire day to hop on and off as many times as they like. The new Naples Bay Water Shuttle service provides fun, low cost transportation between the main waterfront locations of Naples Bay Resort, Bayfront, Tin City and Naples City Dock, with access to the Third Street South area of downtown Naples. The water shuttle operates on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the summer months, with expanded days and times in the fall.
Make Getting there a Party with the Marino Group
The Marino Group has added all sorts of fun packages to their area transportation services. There’s the
Marino Casino, which is a game table and dealer on board a VIP limo coach. You can have a Scavenger
Hunt with all maps, lists and prizes provided fit to any theme. The NonCash NonCab has been very popular.
Similar to the television game show, you must answer questions correctly to win coupons, gift certificates and
other noncash prizes. You can also let everyone know what a big deal you are with the new Star Treatment.
When you sign up you get a limo, "bodyguards", and "paparazzi" for your grand entrance to anywhere, with
the whole experience captured on video.
New and Updated Attractions
Naples Botanical Garden re-opened to the public as a world-class tropical garden paradise called —Gardens With Latitude,” in November 2009, featuring the plants and cultures found along 26-degrees latitude North
and South. The attraction includes cultivated gardens of Brazil, the Caribbean, and a hands-on interactive Children’s Garden along with 90-acres of beautifully restored natural Florida habitat with hiking trails and a
birding tower. In November 2010 the new cultivated gardens of Asia and Florida will be complete.
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.
Seminole Casino Immokalee has undergone a 35,000 sq. ft. expansion that includes additional gaming,
dining and nightlife to the attraction. New gaming options in place now include blackjack, several
varieties of poker and Las Vegas-style slot machines. Immokalee is located 40 minutes northeast of Naples.
Public transportation is available to the casino from several Naples area locations.
Dolphin Transportation Specialists, Inc. have created the Historic Naples Trolley Tour on board a classic,
turn-of-the-century style trolley that is fully modernized for air-conditioned comfort. The historic tours take
place Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays with multiple pick up locations throughout the
Naples area. The quick wit and down home charm of Conductor Gene Ratliff are the mainstays of this
unique narrative of Naples’ early history. With an unrivaled insight into local lore, Gene paints a vivid yet
simplistic portrait of Naples’ character and characters. Join him on this exceptional tour of the city's
growth, from early cattle drives and the conquest of the Everglades to Glen Sample’s creation of Port
Royal, the area’s first enclave of the rich and famous.
Sea Excursions offers custom team building and learning experiences about the scientific research vessel Dolphin Explorer as well as daily cruises for the general public. Work alongside naturalists gathering data for the 10,000 Islands Dolphin Project to spot, observe, photograph the area’s resident bottlenose dolphin, and then evaluate and log their behavior patterns.
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, a classic area attraction that has recently become a non-profit zoo, is the only zoo in the Southeastern United States to exhibit the fosa, a rare predator from Madagascar. Naples Zoo also has a large population of Madagascar lemurs, the main prey for the fosa. Of course, the Naples Zoo lemurs will be safe from the fosa, which will be visible through a glass pane while they stalk their rocky habitat. Other new state-of-the-art exhibits include Black Bear Hammock, the largest black bear exhibit at an Association of Zoos & Aquariums accredited zoo east of the Mississippi, with Florida black bears. Leopard Rock features a floor to ceiling glass window that allows visitors to get eye to eye with the carnivorous cats.
The zoo has recently announced plans to bring in giraffes in 2011. Newly paved pathways provide ease of passage for walkers and strollers through the zoo’s old growth botanical garden environment. Visitors continue to enjoy the unique primate expedition cruise, a boat ride to view the cage-free island homes of the zoo’s many primate species.
Swamp Explorers is a new Everglades adventure tour company with the slogan: GOT MUCK? We do!
Swamp Explorers specializes in unique Everglades eco-tours including swamp walks, kayaking, dry hikes, photo safaris and more. Lead by experienced nature photographer Rick Cruz, you can count on an educational adventure into the watery wilderness.
Saltwater Sports recently opened new kayak launch and rental locations at Little Bar Restaurant in the village of Goodland on Marco Island and in Naples at the Village on Venetian Bay. They also offer guided
kayak tours from the beach behind the Capri Fish House on Isles of Capri, from the Glades Haven Marina in Everglades City, and from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Naples Nature Center.
Everglades Area Tours is now headquartered at JT’s Island Cafe & Gallery on Chokoloskee Island and has added multi-day kayak fishing/camping tours in the Everglades, along with sunset and full moon paddling tours, as well as half day and full day motorboat assisted kayak eco tours and fishing excursions. In addition, they now offer motorboat-assisted kayak eco and fishing tours from Calusa Island Marina in the village of Goodland on Marco Island. The new location provides easier access to the western 10,000 islands and Rookery Bay National Marine Estuarine Research Reserve.
Everglades Rentals & Eco Adventures, the guide service operating out of the Ivey House B&B in Everglades City, now offers guided canoe and kayak adventures year round.
Opening in spring 2011, C’mon, the Children’s Museum of Naples will be an inspiring environment where children and their families play, learn and dream together. Under construction at North Collier Regional Park in Naples, the 30,000 sq. ft. Children’s Museum of Naples will feature ten spectacularly designed, child-scaled exhibits to invite sensory and intellectual exploration. Children’s museum specialist Mary Sinker and acclaimed exhibit designer Jack Rouse Associates conceived each exhibit as a model of three interrelated principles: an appreciation of children’s play behavior, knowledge of how an environment can influence play and learning, and an understanding of children’s developmental milestones. These three core beliefs enabled them to transform the learning landscape so that serious learning looks like play…for those who know how to look.
SummerJazz on the Gulf is back with its 25th annual tradition of one free concert per month during June, July, August and September at Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club.
The first annual Naples International Film Festival took place last November at the new Silverspot Luxury Cinema at Mercato in north Naples to rave reviews. For four days, NIFF showcased the extraordinary on
Silverspot’s screens, showing the finest films, shorts, and documentaries from around the world, with a
special focus on Southwest Florida’s filmmakers. The festival’s opening night feature, The Cove, was awarded the Oscar for Documentary Feature at the 2010 Academy Awards. Plans are already underway for the 2nd annual event November 4-7, 2010.
The Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa has a new luxury destination spa offering full service spa treatments including massage therapy, skin care, body treatments, hair and nails and a retail boutique.
The 10,000 square foot spa has 10 treatment rooms and also includes a state of the art fitness center.
Bellasera Hotel in downtown Naples recently opened Esterra Spa featuring massage therapy, specialty message and skin care.
A new Fairfield Inn & Suites opened in Naples September 1st. Located next to the Springhill Suites is
located just off I-75 at Collier Blvd. (Exit 101), the gateway to Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.
It has 109 rooms and suites, an outdoor heated pool, complimentary hot breakfast and high-speed
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 includes condos, a spa, vacation cottages, a marina, the Olio on Naples Bay and Bonefish Grill restaurants and shopping.
Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club opened a new $5 million swimming pool complex in early 2010 with two
beachside pools, one a large recreational pool and the other a more secluded quiet pool. The pool complex
also includes private cabanas and a bar with food service. This area is also an appealing tropical event space close to the Gulf of Mexico for evening sunset events. The resort also has completed an extensive upgrade of guest rooms and guest bathrooms.
LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort recently refreshed the luxurious guest rooms with new bed linens, decor and fresh paint, including the addition of an accent wall. The poolside cabana furnishings have been completely updated, and upgraded package options are available. The resort's signature fine-dining restaurant Baleen boasts new furnishings including new chandeliers, chairs and a large group dining table. Baleen was recently awarded the prestigious "Award of Excellence 2009" by Wine Spectator magazine. In addition to updates to the resort’s rooms and restaurant, an extensive landscaping project is in progress to add to the lush tropical landscaping already in place at the resort.
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples beach resort has added $6 million worth of new venues and enhancements. vue, or Virtual User Experience, is a state-of-the-art interactive entertainment lounge featuring all of the latest and most popular interactive virtual-reality games played via consoles hooked up to 40” LCD TVs, from Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite® game stations with wireless controllers, to Sony Playstation 3 and the latest from Nintendo Wii. In addition, vue boasts a 63” LCD with Blu-ray player controlled via remote touchpad and a top-of-the-line Bang and Olufsen surround sound system. The new Sushi Bar features a stunning 150-gallon fish tank. The tropical ambiance of the Gulf-front Gumbo Limbo casual restaurant was enhanced by the addition of a roofed
area and an expanded boardwalk. The Sand Bar opened with a hip Tiki roof, a specially hand-carved wooden bar and unique cypress-stump chairs for guest to enjoy spectacular Gulf of Mexico views and tropical beverages. Nature’s Wonders offers children an interactive sanctuary complete with eleven aquariums including two touch tanks and a lab complete with microscopes. The Poolside Café has a recently added roof for a shaded, cooler experience to accompany its light fare menu, full bar and six new HD TV’s. The Beach House is a two-story, multi-purpose facility located overlooking the beach, the perfect setting for weddings and corporate and social events. The resort’s traditional Lobby Lounge has been updated with elegant hardwood flooring and new furnishings, and becomes Bites in the evenings, serving globally-inspired small plate cuisine.
The Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa recently renovated guestrooms and meeting space and now has a luxurious new 10,000 sq. ft. spa.
The Marco Beach Ocean Resort has renovated all 98 of its luxurious guest suites. The resort is located on the beach on Marco Island.
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. Seventeen properties have received their official Florida 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: Bellasera Hotel; Courtyard by Marriott Naples; Doubletree Guest Suites Naples; Greenlinks Golf Resort & Conference Center; Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Naples; Inn at Pelican Bay; Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club; Naples Grande Beach Resort; Ramada Inn Naples; The Ritz-Carlton, Naples and The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples.
Marco Island: Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa, Marco Beach Ocean Resort, Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa and Marriott’s Crystal Shores.
Everglades City: Ivey House Bed & Breakfast.
The Shopping Scene
Marissa Collections on trendy Third Street South has added Loquita scarves to its extensive collection of designer fashions.
It’s All About Me by Patchington is a new specialty boutique offering resort fashions and accessories for women, located on Fifth Avenue South just went of The Inn on Fifth.
Naples Soap Company in the Tin City Waterfront Marketplace offers more than 70 handmade artisan soaps custom crafted with natural ingredients. Each bar contains beneficial ingredients like aloe, honey, olive oil, goat’s milk, herbs, spices, and natural clay for color. They recently introduced Beer Soaps, with rich, conditioning anti-bacterial lather perfect for men’s skin. Choose from from Corona, Dos Equis, Guinness, Sam Adams, Stella Artois, Blue Moon, Red Stripe and many more selections. Naples Soap Company also offers custom branding for personal, special events and corporations. Soaps are custom stamped with event or company name or logo to create a uniquely personalized gift.
The Local Restaurant Scene Continues To Expand:
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples Lobby Bar, while continuing to serve guests throughout the day, took on the identity of Bites, a tapas restaurant, in the evening beginning December 1. Bites will serve small tastes from an innovative global cuisine menu, along with live contemporary music with an accent from Latin America.
Sea Salt opened in late 2008, bringing a fresh new dining choice to the Third Street South area. Chef Fabrizio Aielli, a former Naples Winter Wine Festival celebrity chef, is inspired by the Southwest Florida seafood repertoire and uses organic and local produce, wild caught seafood, poultry and meat raised naturally along with fresh and seasonal ingredients. A Chef's Table that seats 11 is now available for multi-course tasting dinners or regular menu selections with close interaction with the chef and his team. Sea Salt was recently named one of the Top Twenty New Restaurants for 2009 by Esquire magazine.
The Jolly Cricket brought the gastro pub concept to Naples main street, Fifth Avenue South. The popular pub offers food a step above regular pub fare but still in the moderate price range.
Always on the culinary cutting-edge, Naples Tomato was the first Florida restaurant to introduce the —mozzarella bar,” a cheese tasting concept already popular in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and throughout Europe. The mozzarella cheese tasting concept is the same as with Naples Tomato’s approach to wine in that many varieties are available in small portions by the glass from its self-serve Enomatic system, which allows the taster to compare flavor, texture and style. Naples Tomato also recently added a full Sunday brunch from 10 am to 2:30 pm.
A taste of Napa Valley has arrived on the Gulf Coast with Olio on Naples Bay at Naples Bay Resort, which opened February 28, 2008. The menu blends simple Italian flavors with inspiration from California wine country in a contemporary and casual setting with waterfront views and both indoor and outdoor seating. Under the direction of Chef Scott Sopher, Olio guests can expect heirloom ingredients and regional produce creatively paired with grilled meats and poultry, and the freshest local seafood.
M Waterfront Grill is now serving at the Village on Venetian Bay, specializing in cutting edge continental cuisine utilizing fresh and organic ingredients, all with a view of Venetian Bay. Also new at the Village, Mira Mare, featuring authentic Italian dishes with a lovely view of Venetian Bay.
The Capital Grille’s first Southwest Florida location is in the Mercato development, a center for upscale condominium homes, retail, restaurants and entertainment in North Naples that is fast becoming the new hot nightlife spot in the region. Also new at Mercato are AZN pan-Asian restaurant and The Pub at the Mercato, an authentic English Pub, a restaurant and lounge for pre and post-film dining at Silverspot Luxury Cinema, Bravo! Cucina Italiana featuring fresh Italian cuisine, Piola wood fired brick oven pizza, Stage 62 Delicatessen and the innovative Pure Urban Oasis.
Naples Originals is an organization of locally-owned, non-chain restaurants that lend an air of uniqueness and authenticity to the Naples dining experience. Naples Originals restaurants hold restaurant weeks the third week of each month between May and October 2009 featuring 3-course fixed price meals. To find a member restaurant, log on to.
North Naples -
The area north of downtown Naples continues to expand. Waterside Shops at Pelican Bay welcomed a new Nordstrom’s department store and a newly expanded Saks Fifth Avenue. The contemporary German fashion house Basler opened its first boutique in the United States at Waterside. Other new shops include
Kate Spade, De Beers, Juicy Couture, Van Cleef & Arpels and Salvatore Ferragamo. Also in North Naples, the new Mercato development continues to welcome new restaurants and shops, including the Whole Foods natural and organic market, PURE Urban Oasis, Capital Grille, AZN, McCormick & Schmick’s seafood, The Pub (an authentic English Pub), Bravo!, Blue Martini and more. A new movie theater, Silverspot Luxury Cinema, opened in summer 2009 featuring independent and art films along with general release movies.
For more information on Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades – The Paradise Coast, call 1-800-688-3600 for a free visitors guide from within the USA, or dial 1-239-225-1013 from outside the USA; or go at the area’s official visitor information Web site, www.ParadiseCoast.com.