Fla.'s Marco Island Marriott gets in the swing


MARCO ISLAND, Fla. -- The Marco Island Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa sank $5 million into its 18-hole golf course, the Rookery at Marco, as part of an overall $58 million resort renovation.

What makes this course different from most others, according to a Marriott spokeswoman, is its five tee boxes, placed at progressive distances from the green, making the course "play-able for everybody in the family and as challenging as you want it."

The golf course, located seven minutes from the resort by free shuttle bus, opened last month.

Plans are in the works for familiarization trips, but they probably will not happen until the entire project is finished, according to the spokeswoman.

"Stay tuned for a special travel agent rate to be released shortly," the spokeswoman said. "We'll have vouchers for them to play a round of golf and have a complimentary breakfast."

The refit of the hotel's 727 rooms and 54 suites (down from 735 rooms and 62 suites to make room for more meetings space) should be completed by November, and the new, 24,000-square-foot Balinese-style health spa should be ready by the end of the year, the spokeswoman said.

The upgraded lobby with its atrium and "massive windows" overlooks what the spokeswoman called "the focal point of the hotel," the $2 million outdoor Tiki pool area that abuts the beach and the Gulf of Mexico.

The pool features waterfalls and a children's slide and is surrounded by lava rock formations. Fast food for breakfast and lunch is available poolside at Quinn's.

Also for the youngsters, Marriott's Compass Kids Club, an activities program for ages 5 to 12, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The cost for the first child in a family is $30 for the day and $25 for each subsequent child. Lunch and ice cream are served. Hourly rates are available.

The resort's two restaurants also underwent redesigns. Kurrentz, the more formal of the two, has a contemporary ambience with a Pacific Rim menu that features "exotic" seafood and prime steaks, according to the spokeswoman. The more casual Tropiks serves hamburgers and the like.

Golf packages include accommodations in a guest room with a partial Gulf view, 18 holes of play per day, breakfast for two at the Rookery Grill at the Club or the breakfast buffet at Tropiks and a golf gift item.

Package rates per night for two golfers, commissionable at 10%, are $535 through April 20; $455 from April 21 to May 31; $290 from June 1 to Sept. 30; and $375 from Oct. 1 to Dec. 25. Rates for one golfer also are available.

Call (800) 438-4373 or (239) 394-2511 and ask for package code GLFA (two golfers) or GLFB (one golfer).

For more information on the resort, visit www.marcoislandmarriott.com.

Play school a family affair

MARCO ISLAND, Fla. -- At the Rookery at Marco, kids get into the swing, too.

"We're seeing a lot of parents bringing their kids in early to learn how to swing a golf club and not hurt anybody with it," said a spokeswoman for the Marco Island Marriott Resort, Golf Club and Spa, which owns the Rookery.

The teaching staff offers skills enhancement classes for the accomplished player along with programs designed for the novice golfer, including children.

"There's no better way to learn than to go to an instructor who is used to teaching children," said the spokeswoman.

The resort encourages family participation, she said.

"It's kind of cool if mom and dad join in. Remember miniature golf? It was fun to play against your parents -- and beat them," she added.

The practice facility's menu of packages, which include lodging on instruction days, refreshments and video swing analysis, is as follows:

• Three-day game improvement school. Offers breakfast and lunch on days of instruction and the use of a golf cart. Package prices start at $1,175 per person.

• Two-day weekend /short game school. Offers breakfast and lunch on instruction days and use of a golf cart. Prices start at $675 per person.

• Two-day selection session package. Starts at $500 per person.

For more information, call (888) GO FALDO.

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