Take Ten with Banyan Gasparilla Sound’s Tracy Lee of TLee Spas

TLee Spas Founder and Visionary Tracy Lee with VP/COO Michael Lahm.

In our Take Ten series, we highlight different partners from the Banyan Gasparilla Sound project to learn the role they are playing to create the leading wellness community on the Gulf Coast of Florida and what reservation holders can look forward to as soon-to-be residents.

  1. How do you explain the work you do to potential buyers in a project like Banyan
    Gasparilla Sound?

    TLEE Spas specializes in development and strategic advisory within the spa and wellness space – from initial ideation and facility planning, soft programming, pre-opening services to onsite implementation and launch support. We see ourselves as experience architects: defining the concept and vision and translating that into the end-user experience.
  2. When you started the ideation process, what surprised you about the area where the
    project is located?

    With so much of Southern Florida undergoing massive change, we love the timeless aspect of Gasparilla Island and the community’s commitment to retaining it’s ‘old Florida’ attitude and attributes, while still evolving.
  3. How did that evolve into the plan your firm proposed to Integra?
    The spa plan has emerged from a diligent discovery process: based on the positioning of the project as a luxury wellness-focused resort community, the overall site plan and the goal to be a vibrant hub of wellness for both the property and the broader community.
  4. What are some of the therapies and services the spa will provide?
    The spa will have a mix of traditional spa treatments, such as massage and integrated body therapies; a robust skincare program combining manual techniques, best-in-class products and leading-edge technology; nail services and a broad array of wellness offerings including, contrast bathing, hydrotherapy, mind/body classes and fitness activities.
  5. Are there any treatments inspired by local ingredients or historical practices of the people in the area?
    We’re excited to dig deep into the history and local culture – to discover and distill what’s unique and relevant and translate that into contemporary wellness offering. We have our eyes on the past, present and future to develop a menu that is timeless, on-trend and trend setting.
  6. Reservation holders were treated to a sample of some products that will be featured at the Sea Salt Spa, with so many brands, what process do you use to select what is stocked on the shelves of your clients?
    We are passionate about brands and spend lots of time researching and partnering with brands that have a unique point of view or story to tell. We also ensure that they align with the spa’s market positioning, provide depth and diversity, and most importantly, have a proven success factor both in terms of quality, efficacy and expert training.
  7. The Juice Bar is a fun amenity for residents and guests, we were wondering what you would put in a spa-inspired smoothie or juice?
    Florida is a mecca for year-round produce, so we want to feature ingredients that are as fresh, seasonal and organic when possible. Thinking about the tropical climate and active lifestyle culture that will permeate the property, the day might start with a smoothie of coconut water, mango, fresh mint and high-quality plant protein. A perfect pre- or post-workout boost.
  8. If you are what you eat, what Florida delicacies are you most interested in trying when you
    visit the area?

    Fresh-caught seafood and seasonal fruits & veggies are always top of the list – but that certainly doesn’t preclude sampling locally-inspired deserts or craft cocktails made with a healthy twist!
  9. With so much technology coming to esthetic arts, which therapies are you most excited to bring to BGS residents and guests who are coming to the spa for the first time?
    Technology has definitely changed the game, and we will bring different modalities to the spa to amplify the benefits of high-touch services: LED, microcurrent and Jet Peel for skincare; LED, infrared and cryotherapy for recovery and performance. But we’re equally excited about the traditional yet timeless offerings: contrast-bathing (alternating between hot and cold temperatures) to kickstart the body’s natural healing power and master bodywork to remedy aches, pain and stress; improve posture and body alignment or enhance active pursuits: such as golf, watersports or tennis.
  10. What skincare advice and recommendations do you have for the residents of this area who will be making BGS their home?
    Effective skincare is highly personal and dependent upon lifestyle factors and personal preferences.
    Women typically are more committed to their regimes, so we’re especially excited to get our male contingent on track. That typically means keeping it simple and straightforward: deep cleansing to prep the skin (especially at night), Vitamin C to build collagen and correct sun damage and consistent use of high-quality sunblock (mineral-based) to protect from UV and environmental damage.

Elevated Living on the Peninsula: A Look Inside the Future of Banyan Gasparilla Sound

The gracious lobby at Banyan Gasparilla Sound.

Appeared Originally in the Gasparilla Island Magazine

While construction on the newest feature of the Cape Haze Peninsula is in the beginning stages, so much planning has already been done on Banyan Gasparilla Sound. The original vision behind the project was to bring the things that people love about Boca Grande –and that includes the style– to a new location off the island that is just minutes away.

Envisioned to be an extension of Boca Grande, the community will reflect eh unique elegance the island is known for. Residents of this wellness-driven enclave will have access to modern essentials and bespoke amenities like a signature restaurant and bar, state-of-the-art spa & fitness center direct access marina, white glove concierge service and more.

Read the Full Article Here.

On Gasparilla Island, enjoy world-class fishing and beautiful beaches

The Gasparilla Inn & Club, whose pool area is shown here, is known for its white sand beaches and world-class tarpon fishing. BRANTLEY PHOTOGRAPHY | Gasparilla Inn and Club.

Appeared Originally in the Tampa Bay Times.

Driving over the Boca Grande Bridge brings back 30 years of memories vacationing on Gasparilla Island with my children, relatives and family friends. It still has the same homes, the same shops, the same restaurants and the same ambiance from those bygone days. Rather than a been-there, done-that vacation, it’s a so-glad-to-be-back respite.

Read the Full Article Here.

Take Ten with Banyan Gasparilla Sound’s Evolution Hospitality Executive VP of Operations, Matt Greene

In our Take Ten series, we connect with different partners on the Banyan Gasparilla Sound project to discuss their perspective on what makes this wellness community the jewel of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Our first Q and A is from Matt Greene, Executive Vice President of Operations, of Evolution Hospitality.

1. What is the scope of your involvement with the overall hospitality operations for Banyan Gasparilla Sound?

I will work with Integra on all things Banyan:  Programming to develop a unique resort experience based on our geographic location taking advantage of the marina, the ocean and all that goes with it like water activities, State of the art Spa and wellness program, etc.  We will develop a sensory experience at the resort, activate key “Touch Points”, create unexpected delights and cater to the unique & individual needs of our guests.  I will work with our Taste & Theory team to develop unique F&B offerings throughout the resort that will have unique seasonal menu offerings that take advantage of our geographic location.

2. What projects have you supported that is your inspiration for BGS? 

I think of early W Hotels, I was Senior Director of W Hotels new builds and acquisitions,  bringing something entirely new to travelers.  New York City set expectations for something special, energizing and creative. The bar was set high and we delivered. .  I worked with Owners/Developers, their Architecture & ID Teams in W’s growth period.  I had 43 W Hotel Developments Globally. 

3. How do you define a ‘lifestyle experience’? 

A lifestyle experience considers a multitude of factors:  Experience for all of  the senses, unique offerings based on geography, Activation of the resort at key “Touch Points”, personalizing stays for our repeat guests and VIPs by knowing what their personal preferences are.  Having a maniacal focus driving unique experiences.  Having best in class offerings like our Spa & Wellness facility, F&B outlets, luxury pool and grounds, as well as our first-class marina.

4. How does that translate for a resident at a project like BGS? 

Because we have the opportunity to truly get to know our residents and personalize their offerings and know their preferences when they dine with us, go to our spa and join us at the pool.  Because we are driving experience, we will garner a significant premium for those that have their units in our rental pool.

5. We’ve heard the term ‘wellness community’ used to describe BGS, what does that mean? 

We have curated a variety of amenities designed to help residents live their best lives through stress and relaxation treatments in our spa, a Mediterranean inspired on-site dining concept, lushly landscaped grounds to help residents and guests connect with nature as they traverse the property, and the developer is looking for well-centric building materials and features to enhance the hotel and living quarters.

6. How does that impact everyday life for someone that calls BGS home?

The residents will have our highly skilled team cater to their every needs.  Those residents that stay often, we will get to know their preferences in F&B, favorite spot at the pool, special occasions to provide “unexpected delights”. And treat them as an extension of our families.  With frequency of stays we get to truly understand how to cater to each resident’s specific needs.

7. Why does having a strong hospitality partner matter when it comes to a new construction community? 

The great news is that we are starting the project together from the very start which enables us to ensure we are focused on both “Form as well as Function”.  We see too many resorts that look beautiful but don’t function properly and that is a turn off for residents, guests and owners alike.  One example is a beautiful bed that sits on a pedestal that isn’t flush with the mattress.  This creates a safety issue as well as a wear & tear issue where the bed gets beaten up and its useful life is dramatically shorter.

8. What are some other projects you manage that potential buyers might be familiar with? 

Hard Rock San Diego, L’Auberge de Sedona, The Landing Lake Tahoe, Carneros Resort & Spa…

9. How do you keep abreast of trends with lifestyle and technology? 

I travel extensively on a weekly basis.  I am passionate about keeping up with trends and maniacal about focusing on how to differentiate upscale hotels & resorts.  I have traveled the world and am always on the lookout for unique offerings and technology advancements.  We often are called upon to Beta Test State of the Art technology because of our scale & influence on the industry & our owners/developers.

10. What are the words that you’d like visitors to BGS use to describe the experience? 

I am ready to go back, I feel relaxed, pampered and disconnected from the outside world when I am at BGS.

9 Clear Water Islands In Florida You Need To Visit This Summer

Appeared originally Narcity.com

A woman at Matanzas Inlet. Right: A view of Marco Island between the trees.
@_amandaduart | InstagramTripadvisor

This summer you can have the best getaway with clear water beaches that stretch for miles on islands in Florida. If you didn’t think the Sunshine State could offer any more gorgeous land, you’re in for a treat.

There are so many sandbars and places to visit at these turquoise sanctuaries where you can have fun in the sun or do an overnight beach camping trip.

Some of these destinations are well-known, while others aren’t as popular. We compiled a thorough list so you can dip your toes in the waters of these blissful island getaways for the ultimate summer vacay.

Read the Full Article Here

Five Intimate Boutique Inns to Check into Across the U.S.

Five classic American getaways for a stylish, supremely relaxing retreat

Originally appeared Business Traveler

Guest room at The Claremont / Photo: Erin Little

Our collective psyche has certainly been bruised during the past two years. So when it’s time to take a break from the stresses of business and the world in general, there’s no better place to catch your breath than a classic American inn. A knockout view is a must. Cocktails. The perfect perch upon which to relax with a book or magazine. Stunning accommodations that are anything but fussy. And dining that surprises and delights. Says fashion visionary Liz Lange, “We all need a happy place where we can absolutely turn off—especially right now. Relaxed elegance and spot-on service are top-of-the-bill for me.” Here, from Maine to California, five of our favorite American inns.

Read the Full Article Here

The 7 Best Islands in Florida

Originally appeared Southern Living

Whether you’re planning a family-friendly vacation or stealing away for a romantic getaway, the Sunshine State has a dizzying array of island destinations with spectacular scenery and plenty to do.  Each of these isles has its own personality too, from the easygoing shelling beaches of Sanibel to the old-school resort atmosphere of Gasparilla. Here, we’ve rounded up seven of the best islands in Florida for whatever kind of escape you’re seeking.

Read the Full Article Here

10 Best Florida Islands To Visit This Summer

Florida is home to many islands for those looking for a seaside escape in the Sunshine State, and these are some of the best.

Originally appeared thetravel.com

When it comes to some of the most beautiful beaches in the U.S., the first thought on most people’s minds is Florida. The Sunshine State is home to white sands, beautiful coastal scenery, and tropical vibes that one can experience without ever even leaving the country.

Many people visit for its many thrilling theme parks such as Disney but stay for its flawless white-sand beaches. For those seeking a perfect Florida island to laze away the summer days, here are some of the best and most beautiful.

Read the Full Article Here