Marco business news

compiled by QUENTIN ROUX

Diamonds mean resort sparkles

They may pick it up regularly, but it's not for lack of continuing effort that the manager and staff of the Marco Island Hilton Resort have done it again.

Beach side view of the Marco Island Hilton Resort.

They've been awarded the AAA Four Diamond rating, which they've indeed done for the past 16 years since 1999.

Hotels at this level are committed to providing every guest with a personalized experience and attentive service in comfortable, high-quality surroundings, according to AAA. They typically offer an extensive array of amenities and guest services.

Currently, just 1,544 hotels and 689 restaurants hold the AAA Four Diamond Rating.

This rating acknowledges the hard work and dedication of our staff," said Mac Chaudhry, General Manager.

Michael Petrone, director of AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings said these establishments are attentive to guests needs and consistently deliver memorable travel and diningexperiences. Judging is done by professional AAA inspectors.

Tour de France with a difference

Local restaurateurs Lisa and Denis Meurgue have rekindled a guided European tour with a difference, placing the gastronomic aspect level with the sightseeing one.

They've called it the La Vallee de la Loirce Gastronomique tour, which celebrates the abundantly fertile Loire River Valley and its beautiful array of chateaux.

The Aug. 31 through Sept. 8 tour takes in famous chateau Chambord, the largest in the Loire Valley, with its wooded park and game reserve; Samur and its vineyards, with a guided tour of the French National Riding School, a wine tasting, a local museum, a boat ride on the river Loire; an old market that takes the form of a large ship, a river Cher boat ride; assorted other winetastings, a famous re-enactment theme park; a historical stage show; the Museum of the oils of Anjou, the Combier Distillery, lunch in a "troglodyte cave," just to name some.

Full details and the whole itinerary are available by contacting Lisa Meurgue at Price is $4,200, excluding air fare airport taxes and health or accident insurance. Prices are for double occupancy, and cut-off for reservations is this coming Monday, March 30.

Disney dream realized

A family became a trip richer to Disney recently when the Law Offices of William G. Morris selected the Santanas for their annual give-away.

They receive four multi-day passes to Disneyworld, along with hotel accommodations and meals. This year, a group of Islanders chipped in an additional $250 as part of the gift.

Attorney William G. Morris, left, is seen with the Santana family.

Roberto Santana and his wife, Fatima are in the process of adopting a 4-year old son whom they have raised since he was only a few months old. He has spina bifida and has undergone several operations on his back and legs and struggles to walk with braces. He will need more operations to continue to improve.

Roberto has worked at Kretch's Restaurant as a cook for many years and also works several odd jobs to make ends meet. The family not only works but also lives on Marco Island. The Santana family has never been to Disneyworld and hope to travel to Disneyworld once Marco's busy "season" is over.

"We received many worthy nominations and all employees of the firm voted to select the recipient," Morris said.

Model example

Panorama Homes, along with Lisa and Ken Gandy of Keller Williams Realty, recently unveiled its Sandshire model along San Marco Road down from the Shops of Marco. Pictured are the Gandys.

Builder Roy Lansdown stands with his wife Bobbi.

Fitness spa cuts the ribbon

Xcel Fitness Spa has been open for more than a year, but recently made it official with a Chamber ribbon cutting celebration. Pictured are members of the Chamber as well as XL supporters. Owner Eddy Hoyo is center.

Eddy Hoyo, center, does the honors at his gym.