Whether you’re an islander seeking a respite at the beach during off season. A corporation, group, or bride seeking a fun beach spot for a fishing expedition, birthday anniversary or wedding. Or a snowbird wanting a new spot for next year, you’ll want to check out the eclectic assortment of resorts and inns of Anna Maria Island Resorts (AMIR). While competition is stiff on the island, after a tour to these spots, I was ready for a vacation – wow – very nice!
Impeccably well kept and designed in transitional Spanish or Key West cottage style, Tortuga Beach Resort, Tradewinds Beach Resort, Tropic Isle Beach Resort and Seaside Beach Resort showcase an array of accommodations and options to fit anyone’s desire.
If you like to meet people when you’re vacationing, Tradewinds front patios invite conversation as open porches leading to each suite are set up in a friendly manner. It also offers a fishing pier for avid anglers. Of course you’ll have plenty of time to socialize at the four resorts’ pools and lovely, private Gulf beaches. And if you prefer more privacy, the other three properties under the AMIR umbrella provide that, particularly The Tortuga.
Barbara Baker, co-owner of the AMIR management company, says she and retired partner David Teitelbaum established the firm in 2009 with a mission of “providing really great service to our owners and a great work place for employees.”
“We’ve grown from nine to 15 employees and are proud, as a small company, that we offer so many benefits (including medical insurance, paid vacations, life insurance and promotion from within).”
Barbara is GM, Katie Demick Assistant GM, Stacie Hall Resorts Manager and Marlene Masson Finance Manager. This team meets every other Monday to make sure everything’s running smoothly and Barbara personally answers every customer service card that might have had an issue. The team quickly rallied while I was there to allow me to take a photo, which showed their ability to respond to unknowns quickly.
Happy employees equal happy guests, and Barbara was quick to point out that you’ll have a front desk person, concierge, event planner or other staff member able to direct you to any local bar, restaurant, historic destination, gift shop or ‘toy’ rental in the area. For example, if you ask where the good spots are to eat, they’ll first ask about your preferences: dog friendly, outdoor dining, seafood, steak or somewhere you can dress up. They have lists of options and try to ‘spread the wealth’ to the wide array of establishments on the island. Of course you can take the Anna Maria Island Trolley for free to anything on the island.
Weddings and Events
The AMIR team started its event department five years ago and has been focusing on increasing this side of the business. If you’re seeking to book a wedding you have several gorgeous options either right on the beach or in a lovely grassy tented area on the property. Event planners and brides will be happy with an upcoming list of vendors AMIR is posting on its new website coming out in May, listing: photographers, florists, clergy, tents, caterers, chefs, and more as well as an actual events staff that can help them plan the perfect party. Small, intimate weddings requiring as little as 10 rooms will book the entire resort (this is a must) and any spillover can stay in sister properties next door. Seaside is right on the Gulf and a retaining wall outlines a perfect spot for dancing in the sand under tents. Larger weddings will love the huge Pergola on the private beach of The Tortuga Beach Resort.
All guests will enjoy the wide variety of accommodations, the ambience (whether you like Old Florida cottage quaint or more modern Spanish style), and the lovely Tommy Bahama furnishings in the suites. Sizes range from studios and one-bedrooms with kitchens to suites the size of luxury apartments. Most have Gulf or Bay views and expect the whole package of internet, tv, library, laundry facilities and more.
Not just for weddings, Barbara says she has groups of guys from Lakeland that book the resort for a fishing expedition every year and they hire a chef to prepare their catch! Tampa Bay ‘pirates’ also hit the resort after their parades and activities in Tampa every year she said.
“The key to planning a wedding or event is to book at least a year in advance,” Barbara said. And of course don’t book during the winter season which often fills up 100%.
Anna Maria Island, rated Number 1 Beach Vacation Destination, remains the epitome of Old Florida and my favorite beach in the state. You’ll not see anything over three stories blocking your views of the water and Barbara praised its Chamber of Commerce for keeping it happening for businesses, residents and tourists alike. AMRI’s four resorts have all been consistently rated Number One and Two on Trip Advisor.
Take it from one if its guests: “We stayed here for our wedding. Our guests complimented us multiple times on the rooms, the location, and the service at Tortuga. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience and their event staff was very accommodating! Great place to get together. We will be back!” – Briana M.
A new website is coming in May but in the meantime, visit Annamariaislandresorts.net or call 941-778-6611 for more information.
staff photo by Patti Pearson, Resort photos by Jack Elka/Jack Elka Photography, Wedding photo from Deposit Photos