|By Arlene Satchell, Sun
SentinelMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 29, 2013--Fort Lauderdale's Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts announced Tuesday it's landed in The Florida Keys, with the addition of the Islander Resort in Islamorada to its portfolio of properties.
The 139-unit property will be called The Islander, a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort, and consists of the 115-room Oceanside resort and a 24-villa Bayside complex and marina.
A portion of the Islander's conference center will be converted into the Florida Keys Discovery Center and Theater, the hotel branding company said in a news release.
"As a future Guy Harvey Outpost, the Islander is a wonderful opportunity for our Outpost brand to showcase important efforts in marine research and conservation underway in the Florida Keys," said marine artist and conservationist Guy Harvey, the hotel company's co-owner.
Guy Harvey Outpost properties feature beach, boating, fishing and diving amenities and programs. Its mission is to inspire travel to unique destinations, promote sustainable tourism and engage travelers in environmentally responsible and memorable activities, the company said.
Work on Islander's discovery center as well as upgrades to room interiors, the lobby and other public spaces are expected to begin immediately.
The discovery center will feature entertaining and interactive educational exhibits that will bring history and marine science to life for the resort's visitors and guests, according to the resort's owner.
The renovations will take about a year to complete and will also include the addition of a Guy Harvey Outfitter store, where guests can book adventure experiences, and the re-branding of the resort's pool bar and grill as Guy's Beachside Grill.
Islander's ownership and management will remain the same under the Guy Harvey Outpost licensing agreement.
"We are both committed to continuing to deliver the Islander's signature casual Keys' ambience that makes the resort so unique and popular," resort owner David Curry said.
In February, Guy Harvey Outpost announced plans to enter the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador through partnerships with two Ecuadorean hotel owners.
It's planted its flag on the newly opened 14-room boutique hotel Iguana Crossing on Isabella island.Meanwhile, a $8 million, 30-unit eco-lodge is under construction on San Cristobal and is expected to open early 2016.
Back in February, Mark Ellert, Outpost president and co-founder, said the company had been eyeing the Florida Keys, particularly Islamorada for some time, but the challenge was to find the right property with the right profile.
Eventually it found the winning combination in the Islander, he said.
"It's a grand slam for the Guy Harvey Outpost brand," said Ellert. "The fabulous Florida Keys, the prestigious Village of Islamorada, the ever-popular Islander Resort and the hospitality expertise of the Curry family -- that's a record catch in our resort book, without question."
Last June, the company branded its first Florida Outpost hotel in St. Pete Beach -- the 211- room TradeWinds Sandpiper Suites, now called Guy Harvey Outpost, a TradeWinds Beach Resort. It also has resorts in the Bahamas out-islands.
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