There’s a building boom going on along South Florida’s Atlantic coast, includ- ing Miami, the Palm Beaches, and Fort
Lauderdale, while on the Gulf Coast, in the
Naples and Marco Island area, virtually all the
work is wrapping up. The Keys will take a little
longer, but the area is mostly up and running.
While Naples and Marco Island were among
the hardest hit by Hurricane Irma, the damage to the resorts was not nearly as bad as the
national news outlets made it out to be, notes
JoNell Modys, public relations and communication manager for the Naples, Marco Island,
Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau. The
main delay was with now-finished power and
infrastructure repairs, she adds.
“People still assume our beach was destroyed,
but we did not get that 16-foot storm surge they
were predicting,” she says. “It never happened.
But everyone saw the hysterical pre-storm cover-
age, and the national media never comes back
In fact, the hotels and resorts are 98 percent
back to normal, Modys says, with the Naples
Grande Beach Resort reopening this month. The
only other holdout, the Hilton Marco Island
Beach Resort & Spa, was renovating before the
storm and will reopen in March. The newly re-
branded JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
& Spa will open its new adults-only, 94-room
Lanai Tower in March, bringing the room count
to more than 800.
Still, if the Island area came through the ordeal
smiling, it’s not only because the damage was not
as bad as predicted. For the second year in a row,
the Gallup-Healthways State of the American
Well-Being Community Rankings put the
Naples, Marco Island, Immokalee metropolitan
area at No. 1: the Happiest and Healthiest City in
the United States. So, it shouldn’t be very surprising that the area is working on reinventing itself
as a wellness destination.
Down in the Keys, about 70 percent of the
hotel and resort properties are open, includ-
Two weeks after Hurricane Irma, the Naples beaches were as sandy and inviting as ever
Naples is open for business while the Atlantic Gold Coast
undergoes a building boom
— BY LEO JAKOBSON —
Tucked away in downtown Naples,
the Tuscan-themed Bellasera’s 100
suites and 5,000 square feet of meeting and event space are surrounded
by Olde Naples’ shopping, galleries,
and dining. Amenities include the
luxurious Spa Bellasera.
The Brightline train service connecting
Miami to West Palm Beach in 60 minutes, and Fort Lauderdale in another
30 minutes, will begin service soon in
American-made cars offering spacious
seating, wide aisles, free Wi-Fi.
Philip and Patricia Frost
Museum of Science
This 250,000-square-foot venue in
Downtown’s Miami Museum Park
includes a 250-seat, full-dome
planetarium, living rooftop, and three-level aquarium, as well as a variety
of conference and classroom spaces.
Capacities range from 36 in the Frost
Planetarium Courtyard to a 600-per-
son banquet in the Special Exhibition
Gallery to 5,000 for a full buyout.