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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Days Inn Springs Resort: Polishing up One of Southwest Florida’s True Gems

Apr 30, 2013 02:09PM ● By Linda Sechrist

According to Spa Index’s Guide to Day Spas and Stay Spas, hot springs and natural, mineral-rich spring spas offer benefits that are the backbone of balneotherapy, which involves hot or cold water soaking baths, massage through moving water, relaxation or stimulation. Distinctly different than hydrotherapy, the value of these soaking baths is revered in European and Asian cultures, as well as in the U.S. at spas located in Colorado, Arkansas and Florida. One of them, the Days Inn Springs Resort, in Fort Myers, offers soothing mineral springs therapy to guests and has been in continuous operation for 42 years.

“Here in the U.S., the benefits of mineral springs were first recognized thanks to President Franklin Roosevelt, who discovered their therapeutic value after he contracted polio at the age of 39,” says Marketing Director Amanda Berry. “Roosevelt not only used the mineral baths at Warm Springs, Georgia, he bought the site and created a foundation.”

A native of Bonita Springs, Berry recalls first seeing the 50-room resort, then named Quality Courts Motel, when she and her family visited one of Florida’s lost tourist attractions, Rainbow Palace Waltzing Waters, which was located next door on U.S. 41 South. “I believe that they used the water from the adjacent pond. Ours comes from an artesian well discovered by the original property owner while drilling for oil,” notes Berry, whose background includes a degree in travel and tourism, as well as in photography.

Berry is excited about opportunities to showcase the springs, which are open to the public with the purchase of a daily pass—$10 for adults and $5 for children. “The natural phenomena of the mineral springs have been attracting European guests ever since the hotel first opened. Many are repeat guests who come for a month or more specifically to soak in the water, which exits the ground at a comfortable 82 degrees, flows through a large fountain and into the first soaking pool, which is shaded by a lovely Grecian-style dome. The second pool has full sun exposure,” explains Berry, who points out that both pools have concrete, rather than sand bottoms.

Event planning is one of Berry’s specialties. “The staff and I are having a lot of fun planning affordable events such as a fishing tournament, chili cook-off and barbeque challenge for the year-round, local customers that frequent our outdoor Tiki Bar, referred to as the ‘San Carlos Park Cheers.’ It has a palpable hometown feeling, large flat-screen TVs and lots of regulars that enjoy horseshoe, bingo, trivia and cornhole tournaments,” she says.

The beautifully landscaped grounds of the mineral spa inspired Berry to promote the property for weddings, the first of which took place in April, with 100 guests in attendance. She also has plans to better utilize the spa area, which presently houses a sauna, bathrooms and showers for guests. “I plan to have card nights for guests, as well as luncheons for local groups,” she advises.

Berry says the resort is the perfect place for her to put all her skills to work. “Someday it will be fun to look back and know that I played a big part in its revitalization. I feel like I’m polishing up a diamond, which fits right in with another of my past careers as a gemologist. It’s been awhile since I was active in the gem industry—however, I like to think that I can still recognize a real gem in a beautiful setting when I see one,” she quips.

Location: 18051 S. Tamiami Trail. For more information, call 239-267-7900.

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