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They didn’t actually do this, but to advertise their new day pass program, the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa could have erected signs by the scores of chaise lounges around the pool deck saying “your tush here.”

While workers work to complete the repairs and renovations that will allow the hotel to reopen for overnight guests, they are taking advantage of the assets they have available. Chief among those is the property’s prime location along the island’s sugar sand beach, and the pool deck, outside bar and dining, and extensive swimming pool behind the hotel.

General manager Steve Falciani announced that starting this past weekend, the Hilton is offering a “day pass” program, giving locals and visitors – anyone, in other words – the opportunity to come and lounge around, just as if they were staying in a fancy suite, without having to pay the hundreds of dollars that entails. The only catch is, the program runs only through sunset each day, so you will need somewhere to crash for the night.

“We think this offers a real value,” Falciani said. He noted that the package, which costs $35 per person for a day, comes with a pool chair – actually a lounge – and a towel, complimentary parking at the hotel, and includes two beverages at the bar. Tickets may be purchased at the hotel’s front desk.

More: GM Steven Falciani says Hilton will reopen sometime this summer

In a release, the Hilton noted that those under 21 may receive non-alcoholic beverages only, which excludes the hotel’s delicious and deceptive Marco Beach Tea. If you don’t always pack your photo ID in your beach togs and could conceivably pass for under 21 – which for most of us on the island, is a problem only to retrospectively long for – you will not be served.

You still have the pool, the spa, the food items from The Deck at 560, and the beach with the Gulf of Mexico at your disposal. Rentals of everything from kayaks and stand up paddleboards, banana boats and water hammocks are available, along with parasailing and rides on the Calusa Spirit catamaran. Extra charges apply.

Chelsea and Ryan Perry, who live in Tallahassee but grew up in Fort Lauderdale, enjoyed the beach, the bar, and everything else on Sunday, including the fact that there is no additional charge for children five and under, which got their daughter Emma in, and even enjoying a complimentary Maraschino cherry from a smitten barmaid. Kayla Martin of Indiana, visiting local Kayleigh Aykar, and looking like twins in mirrored shades and big floppy hats, hit the bar before strolling on the beach.

Meanwhile, Falciani said the timetable for reopening the hotel to overnight guests remains late summer – “August or September. We are working, everything is moving forward, ad we feel pretty confident in that timetable.”

So if you ever wanted to have a great big pool pretty much to yourself, here’s your chance.

More: Five tips to see a perfect Florida sunset

More: 22 places to eat, drink while watching the sunset in Southwest Florida


Valerie Harbin was aboard the Naples Princess when she filmed the sunset and captured a green flash. (Video courtesy Valerie Harbin) Naples Daily News


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