After an unprecedented shutdown for 90 days, the Marco Island Marriott resort is due to reopen Saturday this week to a limited number of guests.

That’s because the hotel’s full transformation into a luxury JW Marriott property is still 16 months away, and the $270 million renovation is being done in phases.

The opening phase began May 4, and since then has seen an outdated south wing being demolished, the façade and entrance being remodeled, and an expansion to the over-the-road parking lot. Inside work has included the construction of a new banquet kitchen, and also the revamp of one of the restaurants, Tropiks. It has been renamed Maia.

The resort has two towers with 350 rooms apiece. This week’s guests will occupy the north tower, said Sales and Marketing Director Bob Pfeffer. The south tower is having renovations done to all bathrooms, and occupancy will switch to that tower upon their completion.

“The mood is good,” said Pfeffer. “Most key staffers, managers and housekeeping staffers are back, and they say the time flew by,” Pfeffer said.

Phase two, which runs Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2016, includes the creation of two ballrooms and meeting spaces; the construction of a 94-room “adults only” tower (with rooftop pool, restaurant and a 12,000 square-foot entertainment center open to all resort guests except young children); a yet-to-be-named celebrity chef.

Throughout phase 2 of the project, all amenities on the property will be open to guests and functioning, Marriott officials told reporters at an April this year briefing.

Pfeffer said in essence, guests won’t really notice the construction going on to the south.

At the April briefing, GM Rick Medwedeff said once completed, the resort would be the only oceanfront JW Marriott in the continental U.S, enabling the Marco facility to attract larger conventions and business meetings and compete with other conference venues.

Pfeffer said that’s already beginning to prove true.

“I’ve just returned from a hotel planner meeting in Chicago said, and there were lots of inquiries. So far bookings for 2017 are strong. We also have bookings going out to 2020.”

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