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The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, March 2014 … Benchmark Hospitality International®, a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company, has announced the addition of the prestigious Gilchrist Club, a Bankers Financial Corporation property, to its Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® collection.  Alex Cabañas, Benchmark's president & CEO, made the announcement about the Club, which is located in Trenton, Florida, near Gainesville.

"We are very excited to welcome the Gilchrist Club to our Benchmark Resorts & Hotels brand, and as our seventh location in Florida," said Mr. Cabañas.  "As with many opportunities, Benchmark was recommended to ownership and the bond began there. We look forward to being exceptional stewards of Gilchrist's unique brand and sense of place."

John Strong, chairman and CEO of Bankers Financial Corporation, added, "We are excited that the Gilchrist Club is now part of the renowned Benchmark group of resorts. Benchmark recognizes the Club's unique attributes and appreciates all it has to offer to visitors who expect the very best in hunting, outdoors activities, dining and amenities."     

The Gilchrist Club is an exclusive, members-only resort situated on a picturesque, wooded 27,000-acre quail hunting preserve in northwest Florida. The resort caters year-round to individual members and corporations seeking a distinctive venue for personal recreation, executive entertainment and corporate meetings. 

The Club, which began in 1989 as a private family outdoor recreation and hunting retreat, offers a rustically beautiful main lodge, inspired chef-created dining, a pro shop and five well-appointed guest lodges overlooking the largest of five freshwater lakes on the property. Also available at the resort is a 14-station sporting clays course, 5-stand sporting clay range, 3D archery range, quail walk, 18 hunting fields, casting lawn, casting pond, and natural spring-fed lakes ideal for recreational fishing or boating.  Concierge service is provided to offer personalized service to members and their guests.  The Club houses a fully equipped pro shop, and offers the training and guide resources of the renowned Orvis Wingshooting and Fly Fishing Schools. 

Lodging at the Gilchrist Club includes five distinctive lodges: the Cypress House Lodge, Eagles Nest Lodge, the Sand Hill Crane Lodge, Gator's Den Lodge and Seminole Reservation Lodge - all nestled within the wooded, natural acreage and overlooking a large fresh-water lake.  Perfect for individuals as they are for groups, the Cypress House, Eagles Nest and Sand Hill Crane Lodges offer private guest accommodations and a central, comfortably-appointed great room featuring leather sofas and cushioned chairs, large screen TV with satellite service, wood-burning fireplace, game table and wet bar.  Each lodge has T1 lines and wireless Internet available.  Designed especially for the traveling executive, the Gator's Den and Seminole Reservation Lodges have six spacious bedrooms with nine-foot ceilings. Each lodge provides a spacious executive writing desk, T1 line and wireless Internet service, six-foot soaking tub and shower, and a private entrance.

Four Star dining is provided in the Suwannee Lake Dining Lodge, a log-sided, two-story lodge surrounded by an expansive ground-level deck furnished with Adirondack chairs. Located on the shoreline of the 126-acre Suwannee Lake, the dining lodge is a favorite for members and guests alike and serves as the Club's central entertainment venue.  Its fireplace lounge is ideal for end-of-day relaxation, and the lodge's expansive windows and glass-paneled doors provide beautifully soothing views of the lake, the natural wooded setting, and the resort's evening bonfires. 

The Suwannee Lake Dining Lodge seats up to 50 guests with outdoor dining and lounge service, and is renowned for spectacular chef-created specialties featuring local seafood, game and fish. The restaurant's cellar is among the best-kept secrets of the wine world, holding selections from the finest vineyards and boutique wineries.  The fully stocked executive bar offers top-shelf mixology.

Activities at the Gilchrist Club are endless.  The 27,000 acres include wild game ranging from alligators and wild boar, to Osceola turkeys, quail, whitetail deer, and in the lakes, pan fish and bass.  Deep sea fishing is provided in the Gulf of Mexico.  Recreational clay shooting is also available, as is scalloping, river floating, canoeing, swimming, springs excursions, hiking, trail cycling and off-season geocaching.  Orvis Wingshooting and Fly Fishing Schools provide instruction to members and guests, as well as guided excursions. For more information, please visit www.gilchristclub.com

About Benchmark Resorts & Hotels®

Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® represents the finest in lodging, dining, recreational and meeting accommodations. Many are certified by the International Association of Conference Centers, the leading professional organization governing the multi-billion dollar conference center industry on five continents, and many have also been recognized with the coveted Benchmark Conference Centers® certification of meeting excellence.  Benchmark Resorts & Hotels deliver highly specialized service that anticipates guests' needs and ensures a hospitality experience unsurpassed and long remembered. www.benchmarkresortsandhotels.com.  To become a fan on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/BenchmarkResortsandHotels, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BenchmarkHotels.

About Benchmark Hospitality International

Benchmark Hospitality International® is a recognized global leader in the management and marketing of resorts, hotels and conference centers.  The company's two distinctive portfolios of properties, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels®, represent the finest in guest-dedicated hospitality in unique destinations across the United States, in the Caribbean and Japan.  As a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers, Benchmark Conference Centers® maintain the highest standards for certification in meeting excellence.  Benchmark Hospitality was launched in 1980 as an independent company and today operates worldwide from offices in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, and regional offices in New Jersey, Washington State, Japan and Chile.  For additional company information visit www.benchmarkresortsandhotels.com/development.  To become a fan on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/BenchmarkResortsandHotels, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BenchmarkHotels

Contact: Ken Ellens

KenEllens@aol.com / 201-758-2864

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