After finally grasping that “The Inn” and The Gasparilla Inn & Club are the same thing, and that The Pink Elephant is a part of the Gasparilla Inn & Club, along with several other establishments, I started to see the correlation.
Keeping in mind that I have a lot to learn about the island, I decided to go to The Gasparilla Inn and Club’s sixth annual Open House on Wednesday evening. I was not alone, as more than 500 people attended.
I entered the historic-pillared entrance alongside many from the Boca Grande community. Everyone was greeted with a warm handshake from the Inn’s staff, then welcomed by President and General Manager Jack Damioli.
I had not seen the Inn prior to the recent renovations, but gathered that the arrival foyer has new furnishings, and that there are three floors of fresh carpeting. The old concierge desk may be gone, but the old Florida charm is not.
As I proceeded down the hall I explored several guest rooms open for viewing. The Tempur-Pedic beds and flat screen televisions appeared very inviting after a strenuous day of sunbathing, but I pushed on to the main dining room.
The decor and green accents in the dining room pleasantly caught my eye as I realized … wait a second, where did those hundreds of people disappear to?
As I continued through the dining room, my question was answered.
A line of people with faces full of anticipation wrapped around the kitchen. They were obviously envisioning a chance to sample several types of hors d’oeuvres and desserts. The seared ahi tuna, among other options, looked exquisite. I must admit, though, that I was truly holding out for a taste of dessert. When I sampled the passion fruit panna cotta, the commotion of the kitchen momentarily disappeared and the real world faded out.
My tour concluded and I graciously left The Inn with a hospitable farewell.
I am looking forward to learning more about the Inn, as well as the rest of Boca Grande.
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