December 29, 2009

It's In Our Nature

Many guests ask what to do if the weather is a little cool to enjoy the beaches in Naples. There are many nature preserves that are located within a 40 minute drive of the Hilton Naples Hotel.  This past Saturday was a beautiful day with a definite chill in the air so we decided to grab our cameras and head over to stroll along the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Boardwalk.  Not much wildlife to be seen during the first part of our stroll, however, the scenery was lush & green.  Then a hawk was spotted that gave us our first camera-opp followed by three Black Crowned Night Herons and a Little Blue Heron.  For special sightings, such as the Swamp Lily in bloom, the volunteers put up telescopes with the names of the wildlife we are looking at as well as signs with ribbon along the Boardwalk.

Also of interest, Rookery Bay's 6th Annual Southwest Florida Nature Festival takes place January15-18, 2010.  The Hilton Naples is offering "It's In Our Nature" package that you might want to take advantage of with very low rates and lots of added value.

December 28, 2009

Chef Cesar Fernandez of Hilton Naples was voted Manager of the Year

Executive Chef Cesar Fernandez of Hilton Naples was voted Manager of the Year by the team at Hilton Naples.  Chef Fernandez oversees Shula’s Steak House, banquets, private dining at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts as well as catering offsite events.

Coming to the Hilton Naples in 2009, Chef Cesar is no stranger to the kitchen of chic, luxury hotels and restaurant. He has more than 20 years of culinary experience manning the stoves at some of the most posh hotels in South Florida, Puerto Rico and Dallas.

Chef Cesar’s passion for fresh and natural cuisine is a perfect reflection of Hilton Naples culinary philosophy.

December 23, 2009

Hilton Naples Team Members Have Pride

The Hilton Naples Holiday Party was held in the Royal Palm Ballroom yesterday.  It is a wonderful event courtesy of Mr. Clark Hill, General Manager, Hilton Naples and Cooper Hotels.  This year we were able to share the excitement with Mr. Pace Cooper, President & CEO of Cooper Hotels.  Each year our team nominates a member of the staff who has gone above and beyond.  This year the Employee of the Year was Kholdor Inogamov.

From left to right: Evi Lyski, Guest Services Manager, Tom Donahue, General Manager Shula's Steakhouse, Tony Palamaro, Catering Manager, Kholdor Inogamov, Hilton Naples Employee of the Year, Clark Hill, General Manager of the Hilton Naples Hotel.

Congratulations and Thank You to
Kholdor Inogamov
for being a true Hospitality Professional

December 17, 2009

Snow Fall in Naples is Predicted to Happen In 2009

While dining out at Sea Salt Restaurant on Third Street South, I witnessed a peculiar phenomonon that isn't a common sight around Southwest Florida.  Snow started falling throughout Third Street South, exciting visitors & residents alike.  The prediction is that there will be more snow blanketing the streets of Third Street South tonight around 7:30pm.  And, Third Street South Concierge Extraordinaire, Susan Becker, told me personally that there is a snow fall in Naples predicted to happen on Christmas Eve at 7:30pm and again, one more time on New Years Ever at 8:30pm. 

There is something magical about spending the holidays in Naples.  Experience snow in Naples yourself and treat yourself to the many retails shops and restaurants (Ridgway Bar & Grill is one of my personal favorites) as well as live entertainment.  A picture in front of the glowing Christmas Tree makes a great holiday souvenir.  For guests staying at the Hilton Naples, Third Street South is just a quick 5.7 miles south of the hotel.

Also worthy of mentioning, AirTran Airways inflight magazine, GO has completed an in-depth editorial piece on Southwest Florida for their December issue called: On the Town - Southwest Florida Special.

Images courtesy of Third Street South

December 15, 2009

Cold Winter Weather is for The Birds

I have a renewed appreciation for the sunny warmth we are having in Naples after experiencing 18 degree rainy weather in Norristown, PA during a trip back to visit friends and family.  The weather is perfect in Naples and even the birds can't get enough of it as evidenced in a recent picture I took near Clams Pass.  Several direct flights have been added to RSW's schedule including one from Air Canada who just made it easier for our Canadian friends to visit.  They added a new weekly nonstop service to Montreal, Canada from Southwest Florida International Airport. This flight is the second nonstop destination offered by Air Canada to/from Southwest Florida International Airport. Currently, the airline offers year round nonstop service to Toronto, Canada.  The Hilton Naples encourages you to escape the cold winter weather and experience the beautiful beaches and wildlife you'll find in abundance in Naples.  Paradise is waiting for you!

December 9, 2009

An Unlikely Musical Scores Big in Naples

Hope Haworth (Hilton Naples Journey Ambassador at the left of the picture) and I had the honor of attending the opening performance of The Color Purple at The Philharmonic Center for the Arts.  I've seen the movie countless times and was really looking forward to how it would play out in a live performance.  Kenita R. Miller plays Celie, the main character (the woman with the great smile all the way to the right of the picture) ...she is very deserving of the many strong reviews & accolades she has received as Celie in the touring production.  Other notables were the Felicia P. Fields who played Sofia (the same role Oprah Winfrey played in the movie) as well as the humerous Church Ladies.  The Phil, as it is commonly referred by,  has brought in many world class performers and this one certainly ranks at the top of the list.  I urge current guests of the Hilton Naples and any other reader's to go see The Color Purple as it  runs in Naples through December 13th.

December 8, 2009

Naples Boat Parade...Don't Just Watch...Be A Part of It

A great opportunity just came across my desk for the 20th Annual Naples Bay Christmas Boat Parade being held on December 12th.  Cruise Naples operates the M/V Double Sunshine out of Naples Bay and is inviting you to be part of the parade.  If you plan to be staying at the Hilton Naples  over this coming weekend, this is a "Must-Do" event!
For a great price of $25 per person (kids are HALF PRICE) you can join the Captain & crew of the M/V Double Sunshine and enjoy the parade festivities up comse.  This is such a cool way to experience the parade.  The M/V Double Sunshine will depart at 6:20pm sharp from their Tin City Dock so they are requesting you get there at least 20 minutes before departure time.  Reservations are necessary & being accepted now!

December 7, 2009

Hilton Naples Supports Innovation

Plan to attend the next event program for Project Innovation at the Hilton Naples on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 8:00am.

Project Innovation, the Economic Development Council of Collier County (EDC) award winning initiative to create and execute a plan for economic sustainability announces the next Community of Innovation event.

Project Innovation is a means for creating a culture in Collier County that will attract high wage employees and an environment that will support world class talent. Project Innovation is about action to power our local economy and has two simple, but critical goals:
  •  TO CREATE A SHARED VISION and action plan for a strong and innovative economy, using the power of our entire community.
  • TO STIMULATE INNOVATION among businesses, schools, government and the community.

December 3, 2009

What to Do, Where to Go

Mark your calendars and plan to attend:

Christmas Walk & tree lighting on Fifth Avenue South - 6pm - Tonight!

Mercato First Friday - December 4th - 6-10pm - Moony Man Band & Brandon Anthony will be performing

Free Admission at Germain Arena for the Blades' Snow Day - Saturday, December 5th - 12-5pm.  Get your photo taken with Santa & Mrs. Claus, take a Zamboni Sleigh Ride and meet some of the Everblades Players

Set Sail - Join Port O Call Marina for fun, food, drinks, live entertainment and much more from 11am-3pm.  Take a sightseeing cruise aboard the Naples Princess from 1-2 pm for $10 - call 649-2275.

16th Annual City of Naples Christmas Parade - 6pm Tuesday December 8th.

What is Aqua & Orange & Has Steak all over?

Shula's Steakhouse is open for Christmas Dinner from 11am - 9pm.  Chef Cesar and General Manager Tom Donahue put together a fantastic holiday menu that is sure to make you feel Merry & Bright!  Choices like Premium Black Angus Beef Blackened Tenderloin Tips, Filet Oscar-8oz Shula Cut Filet with Jumbo Lump Crab, Pan Seared Swordfish with Braised Spinach, Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic Broth, "Perfect Season" Chocolate Cake...Make your reservations now by calling 239-430-4999. (If you are stumped by the question above- Aqua & Orange are the colors of the Miami Dolphins and the decor in Shula's Steak House represents the Dolphin's 1972 Perfect Season)

Our Neighbors Across the Pond - Bringing the UK to Naples

Hope Haworth, Journey Ambassador for the Hilton Naples Hotel joined me this morning welcoming 10 travel professionals from the United Kingdom.  The group was put together by JTA Worldwide Travel Specialists in conjunction with the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB. The group came to Naples from all parts of the UK including Edinburgh, Birmingham, Gloucestershire and Somerset.  I could immediately tell they were a fun group when I heard there had been late night singing on 5th Avenue.  The purpose of this visit was to get these professionals familiar with Naples, Marco Island & the Everglades so they can help their travel clients make plans to come visit southwest Florida.  Over 128,000 visitors from Europe visited Collier County from January through September of this year.

December 2, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like ....

The Hilton Naples lobby is decked out and our team is ready to welcome all our guests with a warm holiday spirit.  Do you still need a venue to host your Holiday party?  Lisa Vinciguerra, Director of Catering & Conference Services for the Hilton Naples and Chelsi Murphy, Director of Business Development for Shula's Steak House are standing by ready to take down the details of your holiday events.  Call 239-430-4900 and ask for Lisa or soon to reserve your preferred date & times!