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Sundial on a roll under new ownership

By Staff | Apr 1, 2015

Sundial Beach Resort & Spa upgrades have include pools, food and tennis amenities. CRAIG GARRETT

The changes started almost immediately.

When an Ohio-based investment firm purchased the Sundial Beach Resort in bankruptcy in 2013, its management worked first to upgrade its rental portfolio, with some of the units in serious decline. New technology and decor were the first order of business for some 150 units in rental partnership with ownership. There are 407 total rentals at the resort.

The firm, RLR Investments of Wilmington, Ohio, also embarked on service, program and amenity upgrades, bringing to the Sanibel resort that dates to the 1970s, for instance, a Bailey’s grocery and a Sanibel Sea School outlet, renovations of the tennis and pool accommodations, a tennis pro shop and fitness center, a small food court, refacing meeting facilities, other changes that have already paid dividends. The Bailey’s alone is attracting nonresidents pedaling their bikes to the store.

Sundial occupancy is hovering at 90 percent, with sales up 40 percent year to date, Sundial sales and marketing director Brett Lindsay said.

“We’re doing extremely well,” he said. “We know that everyone else (in Sanibel) is doing well, too. But we’re pleased.”

A behind-the-scenes look at the new Sundial Beach Resort & Spa is planned for April 14, with travel writers, chamber and city officials and others being formally introduced. A tennis demonstration at the event is scheduled, with a tour and activities planned, Lindsay said.

The welcoming will also introduce new programs at Sundial, which include day activities for kids, an upgraded outdoor tiki bar with televisions, upgraded pools, bike rentals, beach cabanas, a hot dog/pizza/ice cream stand, a Kay Casperson spa, other goodies that will help in restoring Sundial to its standing as one of Florida’s finer resorts. Sundial has also opened much of its dining and entertainment to the public.

Details are at sundialresort.com.