The Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Myers Beach was the first hotel in the area to receive Florida Green Lodging certification for its commitment to proactive environmental protection and conservation. Amenities include a 1,500-ft. private beach, 37,000 square feet of outdoor event space, a full-service spa, 10 meeting rooms, a 3,700-sq. ft. beachview ballroom and a 2,500-sq. ft. bayside ballroom. Team-building programs also are available. Other certified green properties include Sunstream Hotels & Resorts (Fort Myers Beach and Naples), Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa (Bonita Springs), Bridgewater Inn (Matlacha), Crown Plaza Hotel (Fort Myers) and Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa (Fort Myers). For a complete list of compliant properties, contact the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel can help groups offset their carbon footprint by making a contribution on the group’s behalf to the Conservation Fund’s Go Zero program.
The DiamondHead Beach Resort has 124 residential-style suites with kitchenettes; each one has 700 square feet and sleeps four. Meeting space includes an executive boardroom, a ballroom and an outdoor terrace overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Team-building programs, eco-tours and charter fishing or boating excursions are available. Sister property GullWing Beach Resort has an 800-sq. ft. conference room with views of Estero Bay and 66 residential-style suites. The Resort at Marina Village in Cape Coral offers condominium-style accommodations overlooking the Caloosahatchee River, San Carlos Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Meeting space includes two 3,150-sq. ft. ballrooms, a 1,368-sq. ft. conference room and an event terrace with water views. Additional amenities include a marina, waterfront dining facilities and a full-service spa..
The Seminole Gulf Railway offers a Murder Mystery Dinner Train. The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre’s mainstage and smaller 100-seat Café Cabaret are available for meetings and special events. The Laugh In Comedy Café also is available for private groups. The Sanibel Harbour Princess is a luxury yacht that offers for sunset dinner and Sunday brunch cruises.
The Prawnbroker in Fort Myers is one of Florida Trend’s top 100 restaurants; its parent company, the Prawnbroker Restaurant Group, operates several restaurants in Fort Myers and on Sanibel Island. Each table at Sanibel Island’s Mad Hatter has a view of the spectacular sunsets; off-site catering also is available. Roy’s Restaurant in Bonita Springs serves Hawaiian fusion and has private rooms for large and small groups. Cru Lush Wines and Pure Food is a local hot spot known for its organic foods and Australian wine selection.
The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall hosts touring Broadway shows and big-name concerts and performers. The 12,000-sq. ft. William R. Frizzell Cultural Centre is home to a 200-seat theater, an arts gallery and educational workshops, an outdoor amphitheater, the Theatre Conspiracy, the Film Society of Southwest Florida, the Lee County Alliance for the Arts (which manages the venue) and Lee County Art in Public Places.
The Minnesota Twins hold spring training at Fort Myers’ Lee County Sports Complex, also home to Class-A affiliates, the Fort Myers Miracle. The Boston Red Sox hold spring training in Fort Myers at the new $78 million JetBlue Park at Fenway South. Many characteristics of the new ballpark are taken from Boston’s Fenway Park, including a 37-foot high Green Monster in left field, seating both on top of and behind the wall, and the manual scoreboard used decades ago. The Florida Everblades play professional ice hockey matches from October through April at the Germain Arena; Florida Firecats Arena Football and Florida Flame National Basketball Development League games also take place here.
The recently renovated Edison & Ford Winter Estates have several venues, including a 20,000-sq. ft. museum and the Edison Caretaker’s House, which seats 32. Two event lawns, Edison’s Coconut Grove and Ford’s Riverside Lawn, accommodate groups of 200 or fewer. The 393-seat Arcade Theatre is a renovated Victorian playhouse in downtown Fort Myers and home to the Florida Repertory Theatre.
SoulMate Charters leads group fishing, shelling and sightseeing trips along the Lee Island Coast. Explore the Everglades with eco-safaris from Everglades Day Safari. Several quality golf courses are available. Groups can kayak, fish, bike, and go on bird-watching or photography walks through the 6,400-acre J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refugeon Sanibel Island. Sanibel, incidentally, has been named No. 1 on travel guru Arthur Frommer’s Top 10 Favorite Places to Travel in the World list. On Captiva Island, ‘Tween Waters Inn’s premium adventure packages take attendees on adventures that follow in the footsteps of historic guests such as aviator Charles Lindbergh and President Teddy Roosevelt, an avid fisherman. The Fort Myers Skatium has an NHL-regulation skating rink, an arcade and private rentals for groups up to 500.
Norman Love Confections can put corporate logos on hand-made chocolates. Sun Harvest Citrus creates colorful gift baskets of locally grown oranges and grapefruits. Paradise Gardens Preserves sells gift baskets of preserves, salsas, dip mixes and hot sauces. Eden Vineyards is the southernmost winery in the U.S. and has wines for sale by the case and half-case; wine tastings also are available. In addition to coffee, Sanibel Island Bean also sells travel coffee mugs, apparel and other knickknacks. Leoma Lovegrove calls herself Pine Island’s “painting princess”; her gallery sells original paintings, giclée prints and postcards.
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The area specializes in serving small to midsize corporate, association, incentive and special market groups. In addition to the Harborside Event Center, indoor and outdoor meeting and event space is available at resorts, museums, historical sites, sports venues and state parks. The area is rich in cultural and natural attractions (especially remote barrier islands), and many resorts offer spa packages for groups. Travel guru Arthur Frommer has named Sanibel Island No.1 to his list of Top 10 Favorite Places to Travel in the world. TripAdvisor ranks Fort Myers as the No. 3 on-the-rise destination in the United States. The largest amount of event space under one roof (73,000 square feet) is available at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa.
Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers has 130 daily non-stop flights to and from 40 domestic and international destinations. The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (aka The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel) is not a membership bureau; contact them for unbiased advice about local vendors.
For more information or planning assistance, contact the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.