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Create Memorable Meetings on the Paradise Coast
October 1, 2008
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.
JoNell Modys, firstname.lastname@example.org,239-252-2425
Maria Sabale, BCF, email@example.com, 757-497-4811
CREATE MEMORABLE MEETINGS ON THE PARADISE COAST
Naples, Marco Island & the Everglades
Naples, Fla. (October 1, 2008)
– 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.
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 a wealth of excellent shopping, dining, attractions, and world-class arts and cultural offerings. 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
New Transportation Options
Naples Municipal Airport has several new regularly scheduled service providers. Yellow Air Taxi offers direct service with three flights daily from Thursday through Monday each week to Key West and regular service between Naples and Ft. Lauderdale. Naples Municipal is now a DayPort for DayJet, offering customized service and routes aboard Eclipse 500™ jets. www.flynaples.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; (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.
The Hotel at Naples Bay Resort is an 85-room hotel that opened February 29, 2008, part of the new Naples Bay Resort mixed use development on the Gordon River, with direct access to Naples Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Naples Bay Resort also includes 3,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, condos, a spa, vacation cottages, a marina, restaurants and shopping. www.naplesbayresort.com
Hotels Going Green in Collier County:
Hotels along the Paradise Coast are not wasting time in getting certified by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Lodging program. Ten hotels have received their official Green Lodging certification to date. They 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 and Hawthorn Suites of Naples
Marco Island: Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort
Everglades City: Ivey House Bed & Breakfast
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
Bellasera Hotel 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. Guestroom and penthouse renovations now complete the $15 million project. A new spa is under construction will be open by December 2008. 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 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
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.net
Big Cypress Market Place is the newest and most exciting venture in Naples. This 87,000-square-foot flea shopping, entertainment and event venue opens 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 scientific research. . www.rookerybay.org
The Naples Princess and Marco Island Princess yachts are available for group charters or for public sightseeing or dinner cruises. These elegant large yachts offer 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 email@example.com. 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 opens in November 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.
Hobbies & Pastimes
Golf 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.
Fishing 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 – call to arrange for larger groups. www.evergladesareatours.com
Poker 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. www.theseminolecasino.com
Naples Water & Land Tours offers guided Segway tours in addition to its small boat tours. Departing from the Charter Club Resort on Naples Bay, Segway riders follow their guide through the beautiful streets of Old Naples, to Naples Pier, Cambier Park and the shops at Tin City. Segway obstacle courses and other scenarios for groups and teams can easily be arranged. Groups from 15 to 40 can be accommodated with 48 hours notice. . 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 new Naples Segway tour zips participants throughout the downtown area. In addition NTTEP also offers —The Wedding Navigator,” a full service wedding planning and event production service. 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.