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Every year during February and March we host several complimentary cocktail parties around our pool for our winter guests, many of whom have been staying with us year after year for over twenty years. It is a great way to visit with old and new friends while enjoying the Florida sunshine and our spectacular sunsets. Our new guests get to meet the "regulars" and hear stories about the old days and tips about where to dine and visit while in Naples. Our "regulars" get to meet a new and interesting group of people and share their enthusiasm about the resort and our little slice of paradise.
We had one of these parties last week and it reminded me that these parties are just what hospitality is supposed to be about -- meeting old and new guests, helping guests relax and enjoy our area all while introducing guests to each other and ensuring that everyone is having a good time.
It was hard not to have a good time at the party. The weather was perfect -- sunny and warm with a light tropical sea breeze blowing in from the Gulf of Mexico. Captain Jay was manning the bar and serving cold and tasty cocktails. The Turtle Club provided a variety of appetizers to ease our appetites. And we had an eclectic group of guests attend with a wide variety of backgrounds, including a former oil company executive, a state supreme court justice and his wife, a young couple returning to Naples for a visit with family, several retirees from New England who have been staying with us for over twenty years, a fomer insurance executive and his wife, a couple who own a manuacturing company, and a German couple who visit every year. After a few cocktails it seemed like we had all known each other for years. Everyone was laughing and debating whether the "green flash" that can sometimes be seen at sunset is a myth or a reality. We wrapped up the party after watching a spectacular sunset together and applauding when it was over (and no, we did not see the green flash, although I have seen it before!).
Small cocktail parties like this may be a thing of the past at most hotels, or may have never been offered at large chain hotels, but they are part of our history of gracious hospitality, and we plan to continue them as often as we can. Although we offer many amenities to our guests, including a beautiful beach, pool and orchid garden, we have learned that one of the things our guests enjoy most is the chance to meet and socialize with each other. And while not all guests become lifelong friends, many do, and we enjoy being part of making that possible.
So come and see us soon. If you are lucky, you may catch one of our poolside cocktail parties and you may meet some friends whom you will never forget. And if you are really lucky you may even see the green flash.