A $5 million major renovation project to the 115-year-old Island Inn not only upgraded its infrastructure for another century, but maintained much of its historical design.
Originally built in 1895 by the Matthews family of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum it is the oldest inn on the island, and it was due for an investment. There are 49 rooms at the inn sitting on 10 acres of private beach property, situated on a part of the beach that shifts north to Captiva and is particularly conducive to shelling.
The project stayed true to the inn's historical design while upgrading the exterior to protect it against the elements and the interior by providing Wi-Fi, flat screen televisions, and modern rooms.
Island Inn staff gave tours of the renovated buildings including the Starky Lodge. Mckenzie Cassidy.
General Manager Chris Davison hosted an open house on Feb. 4 to give locals a chance to see the finished product. Inn staff gave tours of the Kimball and Starky Lodges, part of a $2.3 million renovation phase.
Davison said that the inn is unique because even at full occupancy the grounds and surrounding beach feel deserted. The average occupancy rate at the Island Inn throughout the year is 94 percent.
Not only did the project improve the inn's infrastructure, but it helped the island and Southwest Florida economy by working with local contractors: Arnold Sanders Consulting Engineers, BSSW Architecture, Benchmark General Contractors, Norris Home Furnishing, Lee Drywall, Molnar Electric, Nave Plumbing, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Westcoast Structural Concrete and Masonry, and Jesus Hernandez Lawn Care and Landscaping.
Renovations to the Starky and Kimball Lodges include:
-Complete exterior remodel with lap siding, ornate railings and ceramic tile walkways
-New tin roof
-Addition of walk out ceramic tiled screened porches and balconies
-Sliding glass doors
-Central HVAC system
-Ceramic tile floors throughout the interior
-New building entry with automated sliding glass doors
-Common areas remodel (lobby, hallways, hospitality room, etc.)
- Remodel of sundeck
-Air conditioned all common areas
-Complete interior remodel of all accommodations
-Enlarged bathrooms with dual vanity, granite tops and ceramic tile
-All new furniture, fixtures, appliances, equipment and artwork
-Granite kitchen countertops
-Hardwood kitchen cabinets
-New ceramic tile in room, porches and balconies
-Walk out screen door porches on first floor
-All new HVAC
Staff from the Island Inn also collaborated with the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and the Southwest Florida Museum of History to preserve the historical and ecological elements of the property.
Museum of History Curator Adelle Morro collected photographs, letters, press clippings, and other materials and gathered them for an exhibit near the inn's lobby.
Dr. Jose Leal from the Shell Museum also helped in identifying shells that were put in glass displays.
Traditions on the Beach, the Island Inn's restaurant managed by Andrea Muccigo, will also receive new carpet and furniture.