On the southern most-tip of Florida’s West Coast, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, sits
the majestic and pristine sub-tropical Marco Island.
Gateway to the awesome land of Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island is about 4 miles wide, 6 miles long, and a
mere 90 miles west of Miami and 157 miles south of Tampa.
History informs us that probably around 4000 BC the Calusa
Indians, who may have been the descendants of the Mayans, inhabited the island. These Native People had built
large mounds using millions of shells that offered them protection from hurricanes. The mounds were also used for
religious temples and burial sites.
The Calusa were crafty and intelligent woodworkers, who constructed canoes, beams and planks for their houses,
docks and piers. Due to disease brought to the island by the Spanish explorers, the Calusa were wiped out by the
mid 1700s, later replaced by the Seminole. Until after the Civil War, there was little population occupying southwest
In 1870, W.T. Collier brought his wife and nine children to Marco Island. His son, William D. “Captain Bill”
Collier, opened a 20-room hotel in 1896 that is today known as Olde Marco Inn. In 1922 Barron G. Collier (no relation
to the other Colliers) purchased most of the island.
Unfortunately, the depression took its toll and development of the island was postponed until 1962.
It was at this time, when brothers Elliott, Robert and Frank Jr. Mackell developed a master plan for the island,
after purchasing it from the Collier estate for the paltry sum of seven million dollars.
Not surprising, prior to its development in the mid-1960s, the population was a mere 550, as the only way to
reach the island was by crossing a narrow, wooden, hand-operated swinging bridge. A trifle frightening!
Marco Island today has a permanent population of 15, 000 swelling to 35, 000 during the winter months.
Western entrance to the Everglades, and only 30 minutes away from world-class shopping, entertainment, fine
dining and the cultural scene of affluent Naples, Marco Island offers plush accommodations to the discerning visitor.
This is quite evident with the recent addition to the lodging scene of the luxurious and romantic five star
boutique hotel, Marco Beach Ocean Resort.
Reportedly costing $40 million to creatively build, the hotel’s décor with its marble floors, hand-painted
murals, and antique furnishings, creates an aura reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance.
Striving to surpass the criteria of a five star establishment, the resort’s motto is that nothing is to be spared
in providing an ultra-luxury retreat for their guests.
When you consider how the resort quietly pampers its guests with magnificent spacious surroundings and meticulous
service, you understand why it is a member of the Preferred Hotels and Resort Worldwide organization.
This exclusive organization represents the world’s finest and most distinguished independent hotels, resorts
and spas. In order to qualify, a resort must pass, among other rigorous requirements, an annual unannounced inspection.
This consists of a 1, 600-line item and a 5, 800 point standards and practice audit.
The relaxing setting and breathtaking natural surrounding include 87 luxurious one-bedroom and 14 elegant two-bedroom
suites. All units are equipped with rich wood furnishings, equipped kitchens, multiple telephone lines and
cordless phones, luxurious marble showers with separate bathtubs, and floor-to-ceiling glass doors. In private,
spacious balconies from many suites command sweeping panoramic views of the blue green water of the Gulf of Mexico.
A concierge is on duty 24 hours a day, and maid service is provided twice daily with turn down service.
Guests are invited to enjoy the fitness facilities, personal fitness training, sauna and steam rooms, as well
as an array of massages, body therapies and facials.
On the fifth floor sunbathers gather around the beachfront swimming pool set within a rooftop garden with a
tropically landscaped sun deck.
It is no wonder why guests have called this “la dolce vita.”
Formal dining at the resort is truly a transporting experience. The recently opened and
popular well-loved Sale e Pepe transports guests from the ancient hills of Tuscany to the savoury regions of the
Southern Italy. It truly is the ultimate dining experience providing impeccable service, a romantic atmosphere,
and an Italian accent on culinary extravagance.
The enchanting Toulouse Lounge enables guests to relax with cocktails and to dream about turn-of-the century
Paris, while admiring the reproductions of this great French artist.
Beachside and poolside bars are never far away dispensing cool refreshments.
The resort also serves as an ideal jumping-off point for various excursions.
You may embark on an exploration of the uninhabited barrier island, where exotic seashells may be discovered.
You may even be lucky and come across another important archaeological find, comparable to Frank
Hamilton Cushing's expedition of 1896. Apparently, this was one of the richest finds of Native American artifacts
in North America uncovering more than 1000 articles dating back to the Calusa culture.
For those who are more daring, there is parasailing and jet skiing. Seven golf courses lie within less than
a half-hour drive. If golfing is not your “cup of tea,” you may want to try your hand at backcountry fishing among
the barrier isles.
If you are into eco-travel, a short drive will take you to Briggs Nature
Center that offers an elevated boardwalk for wildlife viewing and a butterfly garden. There is also the Caribbean Gardens, where you can see all four of Africa’s top predators,
lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, African wild dogs, and the rarest tigers in America, the Indo-Chinese tiger.
Marco Beach Ocean Resort embodies the ultimate in detail, where peace and
quiet serves as the most potent ingredient for that special romantic escape.
Marco Beach Ocean Resort
480 South Collier Blvd
Marco Island, FL 34145
Tel: 1-800-260-5089: 1-800-715-8517:
Web Site: www.marcoresort.com
Norm and Lily Goldman are a unique husband and wife team, writer and water colorist, who write and paint about romantic destinations. You can see more of Norm and Lily's work at their website sketchandtravel.com