Located in southwest Florida near sunny Naples, the 737-room Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort & Spa is easily one of the Gulf Coast’s most modern and group-friendly resorts following a recent $225 million renovation. There’s a new level of sophistication here, but they still know how to have a good time here too in true barefoot beach fashion.
We flew over for the 1st Annual Marco Island Beach Festival, complete with a “Best Burger” contest, a surf contest, silent auctions, fireworks and an electrifying live concert on the beach.
And what a big, beautiful beach it is, facing the dreamy sunsets nightly. This is the only resort in the county where you can sip a coconut rum libation while burying your toes in the sand. As the first hotel constructed on the island, the Marriott was built before city ordinances put the kabosh on beachfront resorts. So planners can go to town with large special events year-round by the sea.
From the moment you step on-property, the lavish portico, lush greenery and a $1 million stone waterfall set the scene with a fun, retro Balinese vibe that brings a touch of whimsy to any group event. Inside off the lobby, the new $2.5 million Korals restaurant and mangrove-inspired bar serves sushi and cocktails with live entertainment and lovely water views. For fine dining, the Kurrents restaurant added two private VIP dining rooms, serving a menu that states: “chic, provocative and trendy ocean cuisine.” We fully concur. Our group got all worked up over the jumbo scallops with lobster risotto, as well as the teriyaki-soaked Nieman Ranch organic pork chops.
The best part is that Marco Island Marriott feels like its own little beach town with a colorful yet laid-back local flavor.
“The great thing is that it’s a favorite spot for locals, not just hotel guests,” says Tracy Tirell, Destination Sales Manager.
BEACHSIDE GOLF + SPA
The Paradise Charities golf tourney during the festival started off at the new $8 million clubhouse at The Rookery at Marco Island Golf Course. Can’t say enough about the serene natural beauty here. This Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary course stretches for three miles between the Gulf beaches and quiet cypress wetlands, sawgrass lagoons and pine forests.
Love the blackened mahi-mahi fish tacos at Rookery Grill overlooking the 18th green. The space is available for private rental for 150 inside, or 400 on the adjacent driving range.
The new 24,000-sf Spa at Marco Island with 24 treatment suites and six seaside terraces is a signature highlight of the 3-year renovation. The tropical South Pacific motif continues with lots of darkwoods, louvered shutters, candles, orchids and a series of Balinese bath and massage treatments.
During the renovation, the hotel added the new 10,000-sf Palms Ballroom and refurbished the Capri and Island Ballrooms. Total indoor meeting space is now 65,000 sf with 33 breakouts, plus a fun bunch of outdoor lawns and patios for alfresco events within earshot of the ocean surf. For smaller 70-pax events, the presidential suite is tricked out with marble floors, a pool table, wraparound terrace and wet bar.
The standard guestrooms all feature balconies, a work desk, new high-def TVs and 300-count linens. There are also 63 suites, including Terrace units with large penthouse patios, and Lanai suites with direct beach access. Luckily, all the balconies come with views of the breathtaking sunsets over the sea.