As Ella Fitzgerald sang, into each life some rain must fall. However, in Florida, the idea of “some rain” is relative. In August 2004, Hurricane Charley was a Category 4 storm that made landfall in Southwest Florida, the strongest to hit the United States since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Directly in the path of the destruction was the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa, a Gettys interior design project. The team had renovated one tower of guest rooms in the property just the year before. The design — a Deep South-inspired plantation style — was extremely well received and served as the basis for a bigger project scope. Then came Charley, shifting focus from redesign to rebuild.
The Gettys Group was brought on post storm to oversee the property rebuild strategy. The team seized the opportunity, creating a full-scale master-planned design project encompassing a hotel and conference center, plus five food & beverage outlets ranging from fine dining to a new concept coffee and ice cream bar plus Charley’s Cabana Bar, a sunset terrace lounge that takes its name from its (rather dramatic) genesis.
The next phase included renovating the entirety of the resort’s guest rooms and suites, complete with Gettys trademark turnkey design and procurement solution. With the Interior Design and Procurement groups working side by side with property ownership and management, the reopening process was streamlined just when the resort needed it most. Five months post Hurricane Charley, the Sanibel Harbour proudly reopened, serving as a model for disaster relief and recovery.