Tour group arrives by personal watercraft
Published by news-press.com on October 19, 2004
& Suites, a boutique hotel near downtown Fort Myers, got some unusual group
business on Saturday.
The tourists arrived not in a motorcoach, but on personal watercraft down the
Caloosahatchee River, from Indiantown on Florida's east coast.
This was the first time Atlanta-based Discovery River Tours brought a group
into the City of Palms. Judging from remarks by co-owner Vicki Williams on
Monday, it won't be the last time.
"Everybody said what a beautiful, relaxing ride it was. They loved their
stay in Fort Myers," said Williams, who joined the on-road support team.
On Saturday morning, 18 tourists and two company river guides began their
three-day, 335-mile journey on the St. Lucie Canal, traveled west on the lower
rim canal of Lake Okeechobee, and then down the Caloosahatchee. They docked at
Centennial Harbour Marina, next door to the Winyah.
Their luggage was waiting for them in their rooms at the Winyah. After
freshening up, the tourists walked to Moretti's Italian Grill for dinner.
On Sunday, they took the same set of waterways back to Indiantown, where they
stayed at the historic Seminole Inn. The tour concluded Monday, with a
canal-and-river run to Port St. Lucie.
The tourists brought their own personal watercraft. Discovery River Tours
provided or arranged for gasoline, ice, lunches, lodging, luggage shuttle and
dinner. Total cost: $925 per person.
"We hope to bring some smiles, and an economic boost to some of the towns
along our route," Williams said.
Paul Faulise, Winyah Hotel & Suites manager, was excited for the
opportunity. "Although we're a Superior Small Lodging, we don't get the
opportunity often to host groups."
Superior Small Lodging is a designation awarded to smaller hotels, bed and
breakfasts and inns that meet certain standards for cleanliness, safety,
security, comfort, service level and property condition.
But the Winyah, with 27 units, just isn't big enough for most bus-based groups.
That doesn't mean the Winyah hasn't been busy. After Hurricane Charley,
"we were ready for business right away. There was not a drop of water in
the suites or rooms," Faulise said.
If you want to learn more about Discovery River Tours, go to www.pwctours.com.