Condo-resort to open Oct. 1 on Marco Island

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MARCO ISLAND, Fla. -- The 103-suite, 12-story Marco Beach Ocean Resort is to open here Oct. 1, just south of Marriott's Marco Beach Resort.

This will be the first hotel venture for the privately held Gulf Bay Group of Cos., based in Naples. The firm launched a subsidiary, Gulf Bay Hotel Co., to oversee the rentals of the one- and two-bedroom hotel condominium units on behalf of their owners.

Hotel management will be shared with Naples-based Freni Hospitality Consultants, led by Joe Freni, a former Ritz-Carlton executive.

A rendering of the upscale Marco Beach Ocean Resort opening this fall. Aubrey Ferrao, president and chief executive officer of Gulf Bay Group, said that until now Gulf Bay has been involved in shopping centers and upscale residential developments.

The latter include the 3,700-acre Fiddler's Creek residential community in Naples, located a few miles from the hotel.

Fiddler's Creek will have five golf courses (one 18-hole course will be used by the resort's guests). The first course opens July 1.

Guests also will have access to yacht, ecotourism and fishing services at Fiddler's Creek.

Ferrao said he envisions a five-star Mobil rating for the property, which will recreate "a small, intimate European hotel" experience and will likely house VIPs attending conventions at the Marriott.

The $35 million Marco Beach Ocean Resort will have 200 employees who will cater largely to leisure guests, Ferrao noted. There will be 24-hour room service.

There also will be two meetings rooms with food service.

Restaurants on the site include the 350-seat Sale e Pepe, serving Italian cuisine; the 120-seat Chanterelle, featuring French cuisine, and Gaspirilla's, a beachside bar and grill.

Also on site will be a health spa, a fitness center and a business center.

By spring, the hotel will have its own toll-free number and golf and fishing packages, according to Freni.

The property also can be booked through Utell.

Freni brought in Inge Niden as the director of sales development. Niden formerly was a sales consultant for the Ritz-Carlton chain. Earlier she was national sales manager for the Ritz-Carlton Naples.

For information, agents can call the hotel's sales office at (941) 592-0057 or fax (941) 594-9365.

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