NAPLES — The first major renovation of the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club's beachfront ballroom is completed.
The resort recently opened The Everglades Room, a 5,000-square-foot ballroom, featuring a wall of windows that provides a panoramic view of the Gulf.
Located where the resort's Everglades Dining Room had been, the Everglades Room features vaulted ceilings covered with draped fabric. The 10-foot ceiling was transformed into a 17-foot-high vaulted ceiling in the center.
"It's a dramatic difference," said Jason Parsons, the hotel's general manager. "It's really a spectacular room now."
The new ballroom off Gulf Shore Boulevard accommodates corporate events, banquets, weddings and social events, resort managers said.
For the past 11 years, the Forum Club of Southwest Florida has held its luncheons at the hotel with an estimated 350 people attending. So far this season, the organization has held two lunches at the renovated ballroom.
"It's absolutely beautiful and the members of the Forum Club are so thrilled," said Ellie Krier, the executive director of the Forum Club of Southwest Florida. "It's a night-and-day difference."
Krier said the remodeled ballroom is more open, airy and has a spacious feeling.
Renovation went beyond the beachfront ballroom. The $5 million project included a makeover of two Gulf-side meeting rooms — the 1,097-square-foot Gulfbreeze North and 1,159-square-foot Gulfbreeze South — and the remaining guest rooms in the resort's Florida Wing.
With the renovation of the guest rooms in the Florida Wing, the resort now features two new suites, which also can be used as hospitality suites for groups.
The Everglades Room opened at the end of December 2012. For weddings, the ballroom can accommodate about 250 people with a large dance floor.
"We are very proud of it," Parsons said.
Every off-season the hotel gets some sort of renovation; Parsons said this particular project started in early June 2012 and finished in late December.
This latest phase of improvements brings to $40 million the total spent by the resort during the past five years, resort managers said.
The multi-phase project included the renovation and remodeling of other guest rooms and suites, enhancements to the golf course, renovation and expansion of The Sunset Beach Bar & Grill, and the addition of a beachfront pool complex in 2010. All of the resort's 317 rooms and suites have been renovated within the past three years.
The 125-acre resort offers 34,000-square-feet of meeting space plus outdoor venues. The Southwest Florida resort is directly on the beach with an on-site golf course, spa and tennis center, according to a statement.
Other venue options at the resort include the 6,283-square-foot River of Grass Ballroom, the 2,457-square-foot Mangrove Ballroom, and outdoor venues such as the Watkins Lawn and Ocean Lawn.