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Resort looks to extend appeal for vacationers

By Staff | May 7, 2009

South Seas Island Resort is on a mission to reintroduce their extraordinary island destination as a place for family, nature, comfort and a unique village-feel that vacationers can’t find anywhere else.

“It’s a fun time to be at South Seas because of Rick [Hayduk] and his

energy. We’re in the process of repositioning ourselves as a family

destination,” said Carolyn Hudson, SSIR’s new Community Relations and

Special Events Coordinator.

Hudson said that when she first started a month ago, she sat down with SSIR

managing director Rick Hayduk and they began hashing out a new plan to

re-debut South Seas into the hospitality sphere, evoking crucial and

attractive concepts like “family, nature, comfort and resort village.”

“This is a very unique property. We do not fit the norm for most hotels. We’re very secluded, we’ve got history and it’s a wonderful family getaway, a safe haven,” Hudson said, noting that many programs, created especially for entertaining and education children are in the works.

Among these new kid-friendly activities are the new H2Whoa! family water

park and “Go Fish!,” a program designed to instruct and educate young people on proper fishing techniques.

According to Hudson, many more “Go!” South Seas programs will soon be introduced to the resort’s line-up of activities, including “Go Cook!,” “Go Discover!” and “Go Create!”

As always, SSIR boasts an eclectic selection of restaurants (from

traditional pizza and ice cream at Scoops and Slices to fine gourmet dining

at Harbourside) and retail stores, including a Lily Pulitzer shop and the

most recent resort addition, 2 Islands Gallery.

“I think it’s an exciting time to be here,” Hudson said.

Hayduk agrees that it’s a great time to be at South Seas, and he emphasized

the resort’s increased focus on family fun, nature and education, noting

that SSIR just began a Turtle Walk program in honor of sea turtle nesting


But long-time islanders needn’t be worried – there won’t be any 10-story

rollercoasters shooting up overnight.

Just think of these changes as traditional South Seas… with a fresh coat of


“We’ve always been here, but now we’re refining it. We’re rounding the

edges. There has always been nature here, but South Seas didn’t have a

naturalist or the programming to support it, like “Go Fish!,” Hayduk


“There was always condo lodging here, but now people are expecting it,” he added, noting a recent shift in demographics away from traditional hotel room accommodations towards vacationing in condominium-settings.

But South Seas is also keeping in mind the bank accounts of their visitors

and has set out to make the resort an all-in-one destination for travelers,

including their various retail opportunities, their new art gallery and

various new restaurants and attractions, like the Holy Smoke Heavenly Barbecue restaurant and the waterslide pool H2Whoa!

Hayduk mentioned that as part of the new positioning, South Seas is partnering with local charities to host family events that appeal to folks who might be visiting the resort.

“The special events are going to be really exciting. We’re working with the Literacy Volunteers of Lee County for a family fitness weekend, a 5K, 10K, duathlon and a kids’ triathlon,” Hayduk said, noting that a family fishing tournament and a Buddy Walk to raise awareness for Down Syndrome are also in the works.

For more information about South Seas Island Resort, visit their Web site at