In 2011, the Pink Shell Beach Resort began to enjoy the fruits of an expanded Gulf beachfront courtesy of the Estero Island Restoration Project. This year, the four star resort at 275 Estero Boulevard has changed its name and has plans in place to branch out farther into the Back Bay waters this fall.
Formerly known as the Pink Shell Beach Resort and Spa, the all-new Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina should be fully constructed by year's end. The marina portion will feature 41 floating ADA-accessible slips that can accommodate up to 100 feet of length overall. Each slip will have power pedestals offering 30, 50 and 100 amp service, water, high definition Direct TV and wireless Wi-Fi.
Pump-out services, a full-time Dock Master (a job posting should be posted by September), trained service personnel, a Ships Store with marine supplies, ice and beverages and snacks will also be available for Marina guests. Spa services are still available.
Demolition of the existing docks at Pink Shell Beach Resort is expected to begin the week of Sept. 10. The new marina will be built soon after.
"We think there is a market out there for boaters who want to enjoy their boats and also take in the amenities of a full service resort like the Pink Shell," said Ellis Etter, regional director of sales and marketing. "There are other marinas around, but they don't have the upland amenities that the Pink Shell has."
The name change from Spa to Marina was adopted at the beginning of the year, but a slow procedure in acquiring all the necessary paperwork and a request delay in changing from stationary docks to floating docks extended the anticipated date of the rebuilding process. What was targeted to begin in April/May will now begin in September.
Now that all permits from the Town of Fort Myers Beach, Lee County and Department of Environmental Protection have been obtained to move forward with constructing the new marina, Pink Shell Beach Resort officials are excited about the addition.
"We believe this will be another big asset to the resort," said Etter. "We figured that since we are going to be out in the boating and marina community, a change to our name was needed."
Etter stated the expected date for the demolition of the aging wooden docks is the week of Sept. 10, with delivery of pilings and dock materials the following week. The target date for construction completion is early December.
The marina will be located at an ideal spot just off San Carlos Bay into Matanzas Pass. The GPS coordinates are as follows: Latitude 26 degrees 27' minutes 40.8132" seconds and Longitude -81 degrees 57' minutes 54.7272" seconds.
"We are situated at such a perfect location being a quarter of a mile inside Estero Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. It's a great stopping off point for boaters coming down from the Florida Panhandle or the Tampa/Clearwater area that are headed to the Keys. They can stop half way and do a little resort vacation at the same time," he said.
Since there are fuel docks just one half of a mile away from the Pink Shell on the Back Bay side, management didn't see the necessity of having one on its premises.
"We talked about having a fuel dock at the Pink Shell, but Moss Marine has one and so does Salty Sam's and there's one by the Coast Guard Station," said Etter. "We have neighbors real close that can provide that service."
Etter stated the marina would be a great location for boat clubs to have different rendezvous events. The Colgate Offshore Sailing School will remain as a partner as well as Holiday Watersports, which has one of its three locations at Pink Shell and provides boat rentals, fishing charters, wave runners, dolphin tours, parasailing, and assorted watercraft as well as beach services.
"The new marina will also be a great venue for fishing tournaments as well," said Etter.
Pink Shell has been the site of the Caloosa series Summer Slam fishing tournament, a qualifier in the Caloosa Tournament Series Grand Championship and will be the site of the Little Cracker fishing tournament in August.
"We are anxious to get the marina open. It'll be like having another hotel for us," said Etter.
Prior to the marina blueprint, Pink Shell was known as a well-respected resort and spa for its 214 gulf-front accommodations (from studios to one and two-bedroom suites) and Aquagene Spa, a full-service health and beauty spa. Its facilities also included JoJo's At The Beach, a casual, al-fresco dining setting; Bongo's, its tropical poolside bar and grill; Jack's, its daily breakfast buffet restaurant; and an Octopool, its undersea fantasy pool.
"Anyone coming and staying over night will have full resort amenity access," added Etter.
Another child-friendly service is KiddsKampp for potty-trained toddlers up to age 11. The resort camp gives parents a chance to relax while their children are being entertained.
"KiddsKampp provides a venue for the children. They get to do a lot of crafts, watch movies and nature walks. It's fun and entertaining at the same time with an educational element to it," said Etter. "We have children that come back here every year. They rave about it."
The resort also offers beachfront weddings as a service as well. With the restored beach on the Gulf side, wedding planners at the resort no longer have to worry about high tides for larger services.
"Word has gotten out that the beach is re-nourished. That's a great addition to the resort and this end of Fort Myers Beach," said Etter. "We had so little beach here. If you had a high tide and the wind was coming out of the southeast and a full moon meant the tide was going to be higher, it didn't provide us with a whole lot of beach at some locations. Thirty or 40 feet for a wedding of 100 people is not much room. It was getting quite challenging."
From sunrises on the east side of the resort to sunsets on the west side, Pink Shell has served the Fort Myers Beach community for close to 65 years.
Check Pink Shell's website at www.pinkshell.com for marina dockage rates and special offers.
--information provided from website www.pinkshell.com