Updated: Fort Myers-area hotels post hurricane updates

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The Sanibel Causeway, before Hurricane Ian destroyed a section of it.
The Sanibel Causeway, before Hurricane Ian destroyed a section of it. Photo Credit: Martin Fiser/Shutterstock

With southwest Florida reeling from Hurricane Ian's destruction, hotels and resorts across Fort Myers, Sanibel and Captiva took to social media to provide limited updates.

The situation on the Sanibel and Captiva islands appears particularly dire. According to reports, the Sanibel Causeway, which connects both islands to the Florida mainland, has partially collapsed.

In a Facebook post, the Sanibel Moorings Resort acknowledged that the scope of damage on Sanibel Island remained unknown. 

"It may be several days until we are able to safely return to Sanibel to access the situation and open the office," the property said. "Based on what we are hearing and seeing, we do not believe we will be open for business until next week, at the very earliest.

Sanibel Moorings added that it would be reaching out to individual guests with reservations in the immediate future.
Captiva's South Seas Island Resort confirmed the causeway collapse on Facebook, while adding that it expected damage to the property to be "significant." 

"With no access to the island, we are unable to assess the condition of the resort and anticipate it will be several days before we have more information," said South Seas Island Resort. "We know it will be some time before we can welcome guests back to South Seas, and we will be in touch with guests with reservations in the days ahead."

Meanwhile, on its Facebook page the Margaritaville Resort Fort Myers Beach, which is currently under construction, called the storm's aftermath a "catastrophe of biblical proportions."

The Margaritaville, however, added that it was "undeterred" and planned to "do everything we can to help [Fort Myers Beach] rebuild."

Weekend updates

Melissa Schneider, marketing director for the Lani Kai Island Resort in Fort Myers Beach, uploaded a video to Facebook, showing the Lani Kai still standing but surrounded by debris.

The resort is one of Fort Myers Beach's oldest properties, dating back to the late 1970s.

According to Schneider, many Lani Kai staff members and their families rode out the storm at the resort, and all survived. The property's ownership has launched a GoFundMe to help support employees whose homes, cars and livelihoods have been lost due to the hurricane.

"What Ian did to our beautiful little island community is absolutely devastating, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching," said Schneider. "We are speechless."

Schneider added that although phone service remains spotty and booking systems are down, guests should reach out to the Lani Kai Island Resort. Those with upcoming reservations will be refunded.

Doug Babcock, CEO of Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, posted a statement online this weekend, acknowledging the "outpouring of love and support we've received over the past several days.

Babcock, who remained on Sanibel Island with his wife during the storm, said he was airlifted out via helicopter on Friday afternoon. He also reported that all Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts staff members were safe and accounted for.

A hospitality management and marketing group, Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts has a portfolio comprising the 'Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, West Wind Island Resort, Beachview Cottages and Castaways Cottages properties in Sanibel and Captiva, as well as the Sanibel Captiva Island Vacations vacation rental business and various restaurant and entertainment venues.

While on the island awaiting rescue, Babcock said that he was able to make preliminary assessments of four of the company's properties. Both Beachview and Castaways were heavily impacted, with "many cottages completely gone," according to Babcock.

'Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa and West Wind Island Resort were in "remarkably in good shape;" however, Babcock emphasized that with surrounding infrastructure needing to be rebuilt, the recovery process is likely to take months.

"Rest assured that Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts is ready and committed to rebuilding all of our four beach properties into a renewed, reimagined, reenergized form of themselves," Babcock said.

The Outrigger Beach Resort, located on Fort Myers Beach, also shared an update Sunday, confirming that all team members were safe. Outrigger Beach Resort added that it remains closed and that level of damage to the resort is still being assessed.

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