Meetings Today LIVE! South attendees spent three days at the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa from October 28-31, 2018. The event's planner and supplier attendees made up the first meetings group to visit the Southwest Florida resort as it completes a $60 million transformation.

Closed since June 2017, following a small electrical fire and subsequent water damage, the 310-room Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort expanded and upgraded its 12,000 square feet of event space. The property’s 5,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom was revitalized, among other improvements.

One of the group highlights at the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort is its Gulf Front Great Lawn, with views of the Gulf, which was used for the opening night festivities at MT Live! South.

The grand reopening reception at Meetings Today LIVE! also included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a balloon sendoff.

[Related Content: Meetings Today LIVE! South Begins on Marco Island]

Another outdoor highlight for groups is Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort’s Sunset Pavilion on the resort lawn offering the option for an open-air event adjacent to the beach dunes with Gulf Coast views.

“We added outdoor event space,” said Andrew Neubauer, director of sales and marketing for the resort. “You come down to Marco Island to meet and you want to be outside.

“It’s one of the top beaches in the U.S.,” he added.

Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort sits along seven miles of beach and is closer to Havana than Tampa.

“This is the closest to the Caribbean you can get without traveling that far,” Neubauer said.

According to Steve Falciani, general manager of the resort, every guest room has water views.

Hilton Marco Island’s Shutdown Explained

Despite rumors that the shutdown was caused by hurricane damage, Falciani emphasized, that it is not the case. “The resort was built to withstand 250-mile an hour winds and 10-foot seas,” he added.

In reality, the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort closed following an electrical issue that caused a small fire and ultimately set off a sprinkler system. The resort had planned to renovate off-season in 2018.

So when the electrical issue incident occurred it was decided to start renovations right away.

The Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort was gutted as part of the project, which shows the owner’s commitment that went into the renovation, despite a delayed reopening, according to Falciani.

Owner Olshan Properties is a privately-owned developer and manager of commercial real estate.

“Every room was configured, so the orientation would be better situated for the Gulf,” Falciani said.

Celebrating Local, Sustainable Culinary Options

Meetings Today LIVE!’s breakfasts and opening sessions took place at Hilton Marco Island’s The Deck at 560 Bar & Restaurant, which focuses on local, sustainable seafood and produce. Its rotating menu includes seasonal ingredients and herbs and vegetables sourced from an on-site, organic kitchen garden.

Located on Hilton Marco Island’s newly installed Brazilian Walnut deck area, The Deck at 560 serves creative cocktails, many infused with local citrus juices, as well as draft beer from local breweries.

The venue can host 10 guests for private and semi-private dining functions.

Welcome to the Upgraded Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort

From the first steps into the lobby, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort shines with a modern decor.

Front Desk, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, Credit: Marlene Goldman

Front Desk, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, Credit: Marlene Goldman

Overhead is a crystalline lighting feature that according to Falciani was designed to represent the ocean spray from the nearby waters, and above the reception desk, a gold-hued art installation is meant to recall the Gulf Coast’s gold coin treasures from its past, drawing travelers and explorers to the area.

Groups can use Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort’s Premier Preferred Collection of one-, two-, and three-room suites with optional connecting rooms and spa-style bathrooms. Premier Preferred guests can select from among seven remodeled poolside rooms and one lanai suite, with patios and direct pool access, and 16 new two-room suites with ocean views. The resort also features a Presidential suite.

An Expanded Emphasis on Wellness

Still to come at Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort is the reopening of The Spa.

Slated to open at the end of December 2018, The Spa will sport a Mediterranean theme including steam rooms, saunas, a Roman tub, relaxation lounges with TVs showing landscaping backdrops, according to Spa Director Michael McDonald. There will be 10 treatment rooms and a full-service salon.

McDonald and members of his team were on-hand at Meetings Today LIVE! offering chair massages during planner breaks, similar to what attendees might experience at The Spa.

One planner, Oscar Groves, executive director of the Real Estate Executive Council in Chicago, even used the chair to host his one-on-one meetings while suppliers enjoyed a massage. Relaxing!

Planner Break Massages at Meetings Today LIVE!, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, Credit: Marlene Goldman

Planner Break Massages at Meetings Today LIVE!, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, Credit: Marlene Goldman

“Nine out of 10 times attendees are in meetings all day, and siting in chairs,” McDonald said. “They need to get stretched and get the blood flowing. Movement, he said, gives you a new clarity of mind.”

The Spa is also revamping its menu for 2019 to include more anti-aging products, such as stem cell peptides. It will also use Body Bliss for customized aromatherapy scents.

View more photos of the Meetings Today LIVE! South festivities at Hilton Marco Island below.

MT LIVE! Greeting Sign, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, Credit: Marlene Goldman

MT LIVE! Greeting Sign, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, Credit: Marlene Goldman

Exterior View, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, Credit: Marlene Goldman

Exterior View, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, Credit: Marlene Goldman

Grand Ballroom, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, Credit: Marlene Goldman

Grand Ballroom, Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, Credit: Marlene Goldman

[2019 Dates Announced! Check out the full Meetings Today LIVE! event line-up here].