In This Issue » Bringing Back Jackie O » Belle of the Ball » Portofino’s Best of the Beach
Pandora de Balthazár “Own the pleasure of timeless sleep!”
LUXE SLEEP, Inc.
418 E. Wright Street, Pensacola, FL 32501 Tel: 850.434.5117 Fax: 850.434.5150 Email: email@example.com
www. pandora de balthazar.com
The Sweet Luxury and Pure Necessity of Sleep
t one time in her life, Pandora de Balthazár was among the weary who believed that sleep deprivation was a small price to pay for achieving success and enjoying all that comes with it. A serious spinal injury followed by a critical period of recovery and rest after surgery, however, opened her eyes to the fact that sleep is too precious to sacrifice. Mind, body, and spirit require a proper sleep regimen—nine hours per day, according to de Balthazár’s research—for optimal health and longevity. Starting with pillows to support her frame during her physical rehabilitation, de Balthazár eventually transformed her bedroom into a nocturnal retreat. In time, she not only experienced “miraculous” improvements in her personal well-being, but she also found her true calling in life. Since launching her signature business in1995, Pandora de Balthazár has helped customers from around the world design and outfit bedrooms that are conducive to sleep. Luxe Sleep is her retail boutique and showroom in Pensacola. Operating as a manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer, Pandora de Balthazár offers a European sleep system that includes everything— headboard, mattress, mattress pad, pillows, bed covers, bed skirts, sheets, and shams—all to caress and cradle the body for continuous cycles of sleep. Distinguished by timeless beauty on the outside and absolute comfort within, each component reflects de Balthazár’s conviction that appearance and function play complementary yet vital roles in promoting a calming environment and the physical sensations that foster restful nights. “Everything you see and feel when you go to bed and wake up should be comforting and nurturing,” she says. “Instead of dress-
ing bedrooms from the typical view that a photographer would capture from the doorway, we design the room from your position inside the bedding.” Beginning with the foundation, the bed’s mattress pads and pillows are made of 100 percent handpicked Hungarian goose down or goose down and feathers, as individual requirements determine. Practical and luxurious, the fundamental elements are ergonomically structured to cradle the body and feel cool against the skin. Cutting no corners, must-have standards include four pillows and double sheeting. Discerning customers further appreciate the heirloom quality of handmade, all-cotton, 1000-thread-count bedding. Customers have endless bedding choices— from all new, ready-made sheets to custom-crafted accent pieces with antique embellishments. “I source the finest textiles in linen, mohair, cotton and silk, some of which come from centuries-old European laces or Art Deco items that my seamstresses use to create one-of-a-kind artworks,” says de Balthazár, who adds that bohemian, modern, and primitive styles are also represented. Additionally, with an emphasis on “clean, healthy living,” de Balthazár uses only fabrics that can be laundered—whether in the washing machine or by steam cleaning—to eliminate allergens and foster health. In fact, she recommends steam cleaning mattresses and laundering pillows every three months. For total peace of mind, especially for handling delicate materials, customers can take advantage of the retailer’s expert care and laundering services, a facility of such high caliber that it is one of only seven in the country. Deeply respectful of the history and artistry of rare and personally treasured textiles, Pandora
de Balthazár additionally provides restoration and redesign services. “We have repurposed a woman’s heirloom wedding dress into a tablecloth for the cake table at her niece’s wedding!” says de Balthazár. While de Balthazár is accustomed to providing exclusive items and white-glove service to those who are familiar with luxury, she encourages all to consider that a well-appointed bed and tranquil surroundings that nurture sleep are bona fide necessities. Since many customers cannot purchase everything at once, she and her consultants are happy to create a plan that enables them to build their dream room one item at a time. “When you invest in your body, you can accomplish many things and you can change many lives,” she says, emphasizing that she has bedding and bedroom accessories for all ages, beginning with newborns. “Come learn how you can experience sleep and live better!” Retail customers and interior designers are encouraged to make an appointment for personal consultations. Site visits may also be scheduled. In addition to stopping by the boutique at 418 E. Wright Street in Pensacola, individuals are invited to visit the company’s website at www.pandoradebalthazar.com. Luxe Sleep, Inc. 418 E. Wright Street Pensacola, FL Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday, 11:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m., Saturday; or by appointment Phone: 850-434-5117 Fax: 850-434-5150 Wholesale: 850-434-5145
IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE
b r at i
Refreshing your condominium offers so many benefits to you. You’ll be able to enjoy your piece of paradise with a fresh new look for you and your family, and you’ll increase the marketability of your condominium. Everyone wants to stay in the best place in Portofino— you need to make sure your unit is the one they want!
W W W. J - M I L L E R S . C O M
Design & Consign
1149 Gulf B reeze Parkway, Gul f Breez e, Fl o ri d a
IN THIS IS SUE 65
BEHIND THE SCENES: BECOMING JACKIE O
CHEF ROB’S z FAVORITE DISHES
PENSACOLA OPERA’S JUKEBOX GALA
THE PORTOFINO STORY
A TASTE OF THE TOWN
THE BLUE ANGELS
ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE GETAWAYS
ISLANDERS SURF & SPORT
DUH—WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?
BRINGING BACK JACKIE O: CHANNELING A FASHION ICON
BELLE OF THE BALL: A SWEET SIXTEEN TO REMEMBER
THE EVERETTS— HAPPILY EVER AFTER
THE STORY OF SHAGGY’S
GOLFING ON THE COAST
MEET THE PRO
IN DEPTH WITH MPI
RETREAT TO SPA PORTOFINO
BEACH WORKOUT BREAKDOWN
THE DESTIN PLASTIC SURGERY DREAM TEAM
PORTOFINO’S BEST OF THE BEACH
REELING IN THE BIG ONE
PUBLISHER Lisa Burwell E DI TOR -I N -C H I E F Gerald Burwell
v p o f cre ati v e ser v ices a rt d irector gr a p h ic d esign p ro j ect m a n a ger co p y e d itor
Bob Brown Tracey Thomas Troy Ruprecht Phil Cowart Margaret Stevenson
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sallie W. Boyles Lorraine Christen Darby Kellum Ron Ladner Jessica Mulligan Ainsley Rogers Lisa Rogers Bill Weckel
NOW 6 ISSUES FOR
A D DE S I G N Lisa Rogers Brianne Williams
A DV E RT I S I N G E X E C U TI V E S Mary Jane Kirby James Ryan
C ON T R I B U TI N G P H OTOG R A P H E R S Phillip Makselan Romona Robbins Lisa Rogers Jordan Burch Shelly Swanger
P U B L I C AT I ON P R ODU C TI ON A N D M A N A G EMENT Premier Island Management Group, Inc.
w w w.The I d e a Bout i q ue .c om
The best of
★ ★ ★ ★
OYSTERS & BEER
Whether it’s seafood or steak, a casual waterfront gathering, or an elegant evening in historic surroundings, you’ll ﬁnd everything you’re looking for in these locally owned Downtown Pensacola restaurants. JACKSON’S STEAKHOUSE: Recognized nationally for its award-winning, Southerninﬂuenced steaks and seafood paired with impeccable service, Jackson’s provides a consummate dining experience in historic downtown Pensacola. Reservations are encouraged and can be made online. The menu highlights wet-aged, grain-fed beef from the heartland of America. The hickory-ﬁred petite ﬁlet with fried green tomatoes and lump crab is representative of what Jackson’s brings to the table. THE FISH HOUSE: Upscale dockside dining overlooking beautiful Pensacola Bay just steps away from historic Seville Square. Full bar. Late night menu. Brunch on Sundays. Dine inside or out. This award-winning restaurant features a menu of inventive freshseafood selections, house-smoked steaks, sushi, 300 handpicked wines, and their world-famous Grits à Ya Ya: A delectable Southern specialty of smoked Gouda cheese grits studded with sautéed Gulf shrimp and smothered with a fresh cream sauce. ATLAS OYSTER HOUSE: Classy joint. Great view. Dine inside or out. Full bar, including twelve beers on tap and wines by the glass. Relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. Sunday Brunch, burgers, steaks, beer, and oysters—raw, baked, or steamed, this is Pensacola’s best place to try the legendary coastal mollusk. Steamed shrimp and crab. Or start with the gumbo, then move on to sushi. Try one of the many weekly specials crafted by their chefs to take advantage of the week’s best selection of fresh seafood, steaks, and vegetables.
For complete menus, directions, and information, visit www.goodgrits.com JACKSON’S STEAKHOUSE — South 400 Palafox, Lunch 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Tue.–Fri.; Cocktails at 5 p.m., Dinner 5:30–10 p.m. Tue.–Sat. (850) 469-9898 THE FISH HOUSE — 600 South Barracks Street, open daily 11 a.m. (850) 470-0003 ATLAS OYSTER HOUSE — 600 South Barracks Street, Mon.–Sat. 5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. (850) 437-1961
Oyster Bar & Seafood
Located on the Boardwalk â€˘ Pensacola Beach
Call: 850.934.5999 Click: lagunasonthebeach.com
WELCOME F R OM THE GENERA L M A N A G ER
Welcome to Portofino Island Resort. If you are new to the resort, we hope you’ll take some time to discover why we call ourselves nature’s last unspoiled playground. We celebrate our beach-to-bay setting— the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico to our south, the scenic Santa Rosa Sound to our north, and the majestic Gulf Islands National Seashore to our east—and create every amenity and activity to showcase the uniqueness of our island location. To our friends and family returning to Portofino—thank you for coming back. We have a lot of new offerings for you to enjoy during your stay. Our second edition of Portofino Life is packed full of exciting, new developments and enhancements from Premier Island Management Group. In “Ultimate Experience Getaways,” we explore what we feel truly sets us apart from any other beach vacation— stellar service. Inspired by the unique talents of our own Portofino team, the natural assets of our setting, and our world-class amenities, our Customized Vacations offer one-of-akind experiences built to deepen and enhance a skill or interest, or to fulfill a “bucket list worthy” dream. Offered in the spring and fall, when cooler temps prevail and rates are great, these getaways are hosted at the perfect time to enjoy the resort. Of course, Portofino always aims to impress with our resort amenities and adventures. From our pampering spa treatments at Spa Portofino and convenient beachside butler service to delicious dining experiences at our signature restaurants, Terracotta and Terrazzo Grille, our intent is to spoil and indulge. Adventures at Portofino are also boundless. Deep-sea fishing, tennis, fitness programs, water sports, YOLO paddleboarding, and scenic cruises are just a few of the ways we invite you to do as little or as much as you like at Portofino.
Throughout the pages of the magazine, you’ll also learn more about Premier’s Boardwalk venues—Laguna’s, Envie Boutique, The Wine Bar, and Salty Beach Outfitters. Located on Quietwater Beach and just a short cruise away aboard the Portofino I, our Portofino Boardwalk venues round out the complete shopping and dining experiences for any stay. Laguna’s—a must-dine experience for every vacationer—features the best, locally caught seafood, a wonderful Low Country boil, fresh salads, fish tacos, gourmet burgers, and an award-winning margarita. If you enjoy wines like I do, you’ll want to visit The Wine Bar. Along with the ample wine and cheese selections, the eatery offers a delicious lunch and dinner menu. The weekly Friday night wine tastings, the education classes, and the experienced staff make The Wine Bar a unique, new experience on the beach. Our Envie Boutique fashion editorial spread showcases many of the beautiful clothes found there—as well as my lovely wife and Envie owner, Sabine Laguna. And our newest venue, Salty Beach Outfitters, is home to many of the beach and outdoor lifestyle brands you know and love, and introduces a few new ones to the market. As a Premier guest, you enjoy a special discount at each of these venues, as well as the other perks that come along with booking your stay through us. With every service we offer or amenity we create, our goal is singular— to keep you coming back again and again. At Portofino, we’re about building lasting memories. So, unwind, relax, and read on. Sincerely, Rob Babcock General Manager and CEO 9
Behind the Scenes:
BE COM I NG J A C K IE O Premier Island Management Group’s very own “First Lady”—Sabine Laguna—captures the essence of iconic Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the cover of Portofino Life. The creative team from Cornerstone Marketing and Advertising – The Idea Boutique harnessed the talents of photographer Romona Robbins, hairstylist Brooke Miller, and makeup artist Natasha Vaughan for the one-day shoot that spanned the resort’s many picturesque locales. The behind-the-scenes crew watched in awe as Laguna was transformed into a modern-day Jackie O and displayed her enviable ease in front of the camera.
2. 1. Getting glam is easy when you have hair and makeup artists standing by. 2. Photographer Romona Robbins captures the last shots of the day along Portofino’s shores.
~ The ~
Po r t of i n o St o r y
Her physical qualities alone place Portofino in world-class standing, but the lifestyle, with one extraordinary amenity after another, sets an entirely new standard for luxury resorts.
n recent years, new highs and lows in real estate values have left many potential buyers timid about taking the plunge, especially in places like Florida, where the risk-taking habits of some hurt many. Nevertheless, while skeptics continue to fret over when or if they should dive in, those who apply the age-old yardstick—location, location, location—and choose Portofino Island Resort are well rewarded. Yes, fabulous properties exist up and down the Emerald Coast, but Portofino stands in a class of her own. Stunning by anyone’s standards, she is quality through and through, and, as anyone knows, real value endures over time. With the Santa Rosa Sound to the north, the Gulf Islands National Seashore to the east, the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and private homes to the west, the twenty-eight-acre property known as Portofino is a rare beachfront treasure. Many had big ideas about how to develop such a jewel, but Robert and Abby Rinke and the late Allen Levin and his wife, Teri, shared a vision that reflected their utmost appreciation for this naturally secluded coastal beauty. Long before breaking ground and every day since, the creators of Portofino would redefine what it means to strive for perfection. Throughout his life, Allen Levin, a native of Pensacola and graduate of the University of Florida, demonstrated his love for his hometown through community involvement and generous support of causes and charities. Quality growth and island beautification, he believed, were essential to the area’s vitality and prosperity. Best known for his condominium developments, he broke ground for Tristan Towers over two decades ago. Other projects, including Verandas, Emerald Isle, Beach Club and, of course,
Portofino Island Resort, would follow with his partner Robert Rinke. Having grown up in Huntington Beach, California, with the Pacific as his playground, Robert Rinke vowed that, when the time came, he would raise his children by the water. Instead, he joined Dillard’s fast-track management training program upon graduating college and moved wherever he was told. A store manager by age twenty-four—the youngest in Dillard’s history—Rinke worked long hours, earning a string of promotions during his eight-year tenure in retail. All the while, he imagined the day when he and his wife, Abby, would enjoy a more easy-going, coastal lifestyle. The catalyst was the birth of their first child, Rhys. “I had nothing to lose,” Rinke says, referring to the moment that he first held his newborn son and decided to resign from a job that kept him away from home. In a matter of weeks, Rinke sold the family’s Jackson, Mississippi, home and moved to Pensacola. Loving life on the Gulf, Rinke quickly spotted potential in real estate. From his perspective, he once again had “nothing to lose” by purchasing a boarded-up condo property for auction in Gulf Breeze. “You should understand that my price frame of reference was the relatively exorbitant cost of a tiny beach shack in California,” explains Rinke. Starting out in property management and migrating to real estate sales, Rinke met Levin. Combining their strengths, the two launched Levin and Rinke Resort Realty. When Levin and Rinke embarked on the Portofino project, they did so with a tremendous sense of responsibility to Pensacola’s residents and wildlife, investors and potential buyers, and generations of vacationers. Starting with 13
Every Portofino unit, which is at least twice as wide as a typical beach condo, enjoys scenes of land and water, meaning the sound, the Gulf, or both. a twelve-page vision plan, the team took no shortcuts in its implementation. The process of adhering to stringent self-imposed standards and satisfying the interests of local groups and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took more than two years. To fulfill every expectation, Rinke says, “We hired the best of the best.” At last, the construction of Towers One and Two began in 2003. The third tower was started in 2005, followed by Towers Four and Five in 2007. Choosing among Florida’s top five architects, they selected EDSA. Internationally acclaimed for ecotourism and environmental planning, the firm has been involved in a diversity of projects—resorts, communities, cultural facilities, urban centers, and more. Their leadership minimized the development’s ecological footprint and maximized the property’s total value. Each of the five Portofino towers, for instance, stands one football field apart from the next with minimal paving (made of cobblestone rather than asphalt) that accommodates a roadway and overflow parking. Most vehicles stay in one of the four-level parking decks beneath each building. This way, cars are protected from the weather and out of sight. Above all, the healthy separation and zigzagged positioning of each tower make way for wide-open views and leave 64 percent of the 28-acre resort in a natural state. Every design element is intended to enhance the resort’s quality of life. Instead of the usual plan that crowds condominiums on the beach, Portofino’s arrangement delivers utmost privacy. Also, elevating the first level of living space to the fifth floor ensures that lower floors are afforded wonderful vantage points of the coast. Additionally, in the event of heavy storms, surges of sand or water will never enter any residence. For a resort that lies between two bodies of water, the ability to withstand a hurricane is significant.
In every aspect of construction, the marriage of structural and aesthetic superiority yields discernible advantages. Unlike rectangular buildings, the towers are three-sided to produce broad vistas from every bedroom, living room, and dining room. The triangular shape also creates a mirage of sorts; remarkably, from any spot on or away from the resort, at least one tower will be concealed by another and seemingly disappear. Therefore, the five towers never overwhelm the landscape. Another view enhancer is the width of each condo. The majority of beachfront highrises and low-rises are configured like narrow shoeboxes to make the claim that a number of units offer a glimpse of the water. Every Portofino unit, which is at least twice as wide as a typical beach condo, enjoys scenes of land and water, meaning the sound, the Gulf, or both. In addition, floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors open to generous verandas with tempered glass railings. Whether inside or outside on the balcony, views are unobstructed. Levin and Rinke spared no expense when insisting that 100 percent of the substructure, every exterior wall, and all floors and ceilings be of hurricane-hardened steel-reinforced concrete. Each Portofino sky home is encased in concrete. Ninety-five percent of condo developers on the Gulf Coast use a far cheaper, inferior lightweight steel stud wall system with gypsum board and foam. Portofino is built for the long haul with all concrete. Others scale back because upgraded materials add millions to the total costs and 25 percent more time to complete a project of this magnitude. All the same, as Rinke explains, “Our buyers are not glued to the Weather Channel each time a bad storm brews in the Gulf of Mexico.” Buyers’ peace of mind and long-term value were fundamental to planning and construction. As recommended by water intrusion experts, for instance, commercial-grade
window frames are anchored into concrete walls with stainless steel through bolts. Balcony floors are also attractively tiled in a water-resistant material. Substantial expense and attention to detail has insured timeless quality and tremendous value for Portofino sky home owners. Interior appointments were also made in consideration of enduring function, beauty, and investment value. From any parking deck, owners and guests enter an attractive, centrally located lobby that is heated and cooled appropriately. Striking first impressions continue to each condo, where an eight-foot-wide double doorway awaits. Refinements abound throughout, allowing the most discerning traveler to feel at home. Central to all two- and three-bedroom condos is an impressive grand salon that is open to a luxury kitchen and large dining area—all with a scenic view. Oversized tile flooring, crown molding, granite countertops, Kohler plumbing fixtures, recessed lighting, top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances, an exclusive Roman tub in the master bath, and a bathroom for every bedroom are Portofino standards. Owners and vacationers find everything in a residence that one could imagine seeing in a world-class, prestigious gated community. It just so happens that this protected enclave abuts eight miles of unspoiled natural shoreline, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Santa Rosa Sound—a location second to none in the United States. It’s no wonder that a high percentage of owners, including families, make Portofino their primary residence or second home. Her physical qualities alone place Portofino in world-class standing, but the lifestyle, with one extraordinary amenity after another, sets an entirely new standard for luxury resorts: a sixty-foot heated lap pool for each tower; a world-class European spa; a state-of-the-art waterfront Fitness Center; a gorgeous indoor Olympic pool; two lavish outdoor lagoon 15
Every design element is intended to enhance the resort’s quality of life.
pools; a Tennis Center with five lighted HydroGrid clay tennis courts and pro shop; dining options including the five-star Terracotta Restaurant, the casual Terrazzo Grille, and personal chef-to-you services; Portofino One, the resort’s own sixty-three-foot catamaran; an array of boats, giant floatables, and other water toys; spontaneous and scheduled activities for all ages, and more—all of which come embellished with Premier Island Management Group’s unlimited services. “We want our buyers to own the best product on the Gulf Coast for the same price as everything else,” says Andrew Rothfeder, a partner in Levin and Rinke Resort Realty. “We encourage potential buyers to shop everything else before making a decision; the value proposition of Portofino is just that far superior.” Rothfeder’s conviction, in part, demonstrates his highly personal ties to the resort. While enjoying success as a commercial property developer in Atlanta, Andrew Rothfeder received an invitation from the late Allen Levin to join his firm. The two had met when Rothfeder, who had been adopted and raised by his parents in Alabama, went searching for his birth parents. “My wife, Sara, and I were going to have children,” he says, “so it was important to look into my background.” The adoption agency led him to Levin, with whom he found a connection that went beyond sharing the same genes. Drawn to similar interests, birth father and son had entered the same kind of work. The two grew close, so Rothfeder accepted Levin’s business offer. Sadly, Levin died of cancer within the next two years, leaving Rothfeder and others to perpetuate his legacy. A hands-on property management team has been fundamental to that effort. “All who have a stake in Portofino appreciate a longterm outlook,” says Rothfeder. For that reason, the developers contracted Premier Island Management Group, owned by Rob Babcock, 16
to oversee the care of the property and its amenities, event sales, and rentals. Launched specifically to run Portofino, Premier is an onsite company, fully dedicated to this resort. Quite unlike the typical management company that handles numerous properties and treats them categorically, Babcock has taken up full-time residence at Portofino with his wife, Sabine, and their two young daughters. Starting with the resort’s signature amenities package, Babcock and his team will create any vacation, event, or getaway experience that an owner or guest desires. Striving to anticipate every need and whim, Premier’s expert managers and service providers regularly brainstorm to update and augment an already extensive wish list of activities, amenities, and services. Premier also manages on-site condo rentals. The operation provides a turnkey solution to owners and grants tremendous incentives to vacationers, including complimentary amenities with shopping and dining discounts. Owners, of course, enjoy all amenities, as well as extras, like savings at Portofino restaurants and shops. “Without a doubt, we attract buyers who crave the lifestyle as much as they desire the condo,” says Rinke. “With Premier in charge of delivering the best in health, fitness, relaxation, recreation, and adventure, Portofino exceeds the expectations of those who have experienced the world’s finest resorts.” Considering everything, most would expect to pay top dollar for ownership, but Portofino condos are value priced. “Portofino sky homes are closing at 50 cents on the dollar relative to the 2007 values,” says Rinke. No one expects such savings to last forever; in fact, Portofino’s percentage of condos on the market is exceptionally low. “During one of the country’s toughest economies, Portofino’s inventory dropped from 19 percent to 4 percent,” says Rinke. “In a healthy economy, the
national inventory rate among resorts ranges from 8 to 10 percent.” The incredibly unique low supply and 50 percent off pricing make for a powerful investment opportunity. The reported average price of homes sold on Pensacola Beach is also higher than in many neighboring areas, including Destin/ Sandestin, Panama City Beach, Perdido Key, Okaloosa Island, and the Alabama Gulf Coast. “When buyers look at a place like Perdido Key,” adds Rinke, “they need to be prepared for years of future development. In comparison, Portofino Island has little that is undeveloped and, therefore, will remain exclusive.” Rental rates are another indication that the resort will remain a priority investment. While other resorts struggled to fill reservations during the harsh economy, Portofino’s rentals went from 48,000 room nights booked per year to 78,000. Growth in demand is expected to continue through marketing efforts, wordof-mouth referrals, and returning guests. Renters also become buyers. “Our target buyer is our visitor,” says Rothfeder. From yearround residents to second-home owners to guests who come once and find a home away from home, individuals of all ages express that “Portofino feels like home.” Through their lifetime commitment to Portofino’s owners, Levin and Rinke Resort Realty have an onsite sales office that reaches out to potential buyers across the globe. “We understand that demand cannot be manufactured,” says Rinke, “which is why we’re constantly raising the bar.” Accordingly, many want to know what the visionaries have in mind for the future. It just so happens that twelve acres adjacent to Portofino have been earmarked for a branded four-star hotel, crowned with luxury penthouse condominiums. As an extension of the existing island resort, the new project is proposed to enhance services beyond current capabilities—whatever that might entail. Needless to say, the Portofino standard promises that whatever comes next will most assuredly be worth the wait. 18
U lt i m at e e x p e r i e n c e G e taway s
What constitutes a great escape from everyday life? Movies, books, and blogs have inspired a wave of bucket lists, tempting more than a few to erase their calendars and possibly cash in everything they own to put their most extravagant do-it-or-die dreams into action. Others, in contrast, crave meaningful experiences—diving into an activity, sharpening a skill, taking a new direction in health, reconnecting with someone—but their visions remain fuzzy and unfulfilled. In an effort to channel the energy of ideas into real and memorable experiences, Portofino has taken the initiative to rethink what it means to vacation and, in turn, to offer distinctive, bucket list–worthy opportunities. Believing that nothing is worth pursuing without passion, Premier Island Management Group—or those who live to grant wishes at Portofino Island Resort as the resort’s exclusive property managers—draw from a deep well of resources to create a colorful spectrum of vacation experiences. Unlike more traditional packages, which continue to indulge and delight guests of Portofino, each Ultimate Experience Getaway delves into a particular yearning and tailors a framework for satisfying it. At the heart of each getaway, no matter its focus, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. All Ultimate Experience concepts originate from within the Premier family. Encouraged to explore with their hearts and minds, team members embark upon a mission: to breathe life to their passions. With carte blanche use of every advantage Portofino Island Resort has to offer, getaway specialists select and blend elements from the natural environment and beach-to-bay location, the resort’s world-class facilities and extensive amenities, on-site specialists, and community resources. “We told each of our champions—our resort specialists—that they should have the time of their lives while hosting their signature vacations at Portofino,” says Rob Babcock, who is the chief operating officer of Premier Island Management Group and general manager of Portofino Island Resort. Babcock, his wife, Sabine, and their two young daughters are also owners who live full-time on the resort. Personally vested and professionally committed, he continually raises the bar with services that go above and beyond the norm. “Throughout my thirty-year career in the travel and hospitality industry,” Babcock says, “I have been exposed to many amazing vacation ideas; however, even I am wowed by our Ultimate Experience Getaways. They are imaginative in design and exceed expectation in their execution.” The themes are also quite varied and, as anticipated, appeal to a broad range of interests and guests in all stages of life. The following categories present an overview of the resources and options that might enrich a getaway, but every Ultimate Experience takes a definitive shape based upon seasonal and special opportunities, individual preferences, and pure inspiration:
For Adventure Enthusiasts
Portofino is a natural fit for anyone who loves a physical challenge and yearns for a new level of fitness. From well-conditioned athletes who aspire to achieve their next highest goals to others who dream of accomplishing certain physical feats, the adventure experience is a winner. The Santa Rosa Sound and Gulf of Mexico invite such activities as sunning, snorkeling, 21
sailing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. On the beach, lively games of bocce ball and volleyball are popular. Adjacent to an unspoiled stretch of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, the location also gives bikers and runners a twentymile round-trip route that begins and ends at Portofino. The area is a mecca for triathletes. The resort accommodates cross-conditioning with multiple swimming pools (one for each tower, a lagoon pool at the Lifestyle Center, and an indoor Olympic-style lap pool), the Tennis Center with five HydroGrid clay courts, and a well-equipped Fitness Center with all kinds of classes—from high-energy to meditative. Golfing opportunities also abound with four picturesque courses nearby, each of which promises a fair challenge. Fitness director Jessica Mulligan and tennis professional Arthur Anastopoulo and their staffs additionally serve as one-on-one personal coaches. For an intensive analysis of individual strengths and weaknesses to guide training, as well as provide diagnostics with therapeutic remedies, Portofino grants access to world-renowned specialists. Guests benefit from the resort’s on-site partnership with MPI, or Multisport Performance Institute, and strong friendship with the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, just across the bridge in Gulf Breeze. The rejuvenating spa and fabulous dining at Portofino add other dimensions to getaways. While resting and refueling, guests have the opportunity to gain knowledge about such topics as massage techniques and cooking with healthy ingredients.
Goals for an adventure experience at Portofino can be intensely competitive or highly personal, designed for groups or tailor-made for an individual; for any purpose, the resort is ready with an exciting game plan.
More than ever, families are searching for ways to reconnect without the latest handheld devices to distract them. A beach resort seems a likely destination for the ready-made activities that appeal to all ages, but the extras that other properties sell as rentable add-ons are complimentary for owners and Portofino guests who choose a Premier getaway. Beyond the beach chairs and boogie boards lay a treasure trove of toys and diversions. With
Adventure Beach on the Gulf of Mexico and Adventure Cove on the Santa Rosa Sound, guests find giant floatable amusements, jet skis, and much more for both calm waters and waves. The most prominent feature in the bay, Portofino I, the resort’s private sixty-threefoot catamaran, is not only a favorite form of transport to the Portofino Boardwalk—a hotspot on Pensacola Beach for shopping, restaurants, and entertainment—but it is also a highlight of explorations, such as dolphin cruises and trips to historic Fort Pickens. The catamaran takes part in celebrations, too. Instead of offering things to do and simply saying, “Have fun,” Portofino’s staff members take the initiative when it comes to playing games, learning how, and making discoveries on land and in the water. All of the sports— including tennis, golf, and fishing—are also open to children who are old enough to take part for casual fun or friendly competitions. Activities, outings, and parties generally include the entire family, but when kids just want to be kids, they have socials and camps that coincide with their current interests as well as present first-time opportunities that uncover hidden talents. Of all the possibilities—an ecotour of the Gulf Islands National Seashore to learn the mysteries of the sea turtle; an elaborate scavenger hunt for a hidden treasure; sailing
Portofinoâ€™s staff members take the initiative when it comes to playing games, learning how, and making discoveries on land and in the water.
instruction for the entire family—a Portofino family experience is unlike any other trip to the beach. With so much for families to do and observe, even the most addictive mobile devices are quickly cast aside and retrieved only to take the best vacation pictures ever.
For Romance Seekers
An idyllic setting for a romantic experience, Portofino isn’t just a pretty place. With so much to enjoy and a discreetly attentive staff to anticipate and facilitate every desire, couples are free to appreciate being in the moment rather than having to plan every next step. The details make the difference. By request, for instance, staff will write “I love you” or “Will you marry me?” in the sand with seaweed at the appropriate place and time. Couples love being swept away. Dinner for two can entail a sunset sail to a private beach for an exquisitely prepared meal, perhaps featuring the fish the couple caught on that day’s charter. His and her massages can take place in a secluded cabana by the bay. In other words, visions of romance become realities that are recounted and treasured for a lifetime.
partnership with The Wine Bar at the Portofino Boardwalk further delivers an impressive presentation of rare wines and artisan cheeses directly imported from makers across the globe. Wine tastings and pairings can focus on wines from a particular region or include a broader range of flavors and categories. Along with food and wine, guests will satisfy all of their senses with extra indulgences, such as relishing the spa, soaking in the beach, and absorbing local history and culture.
For Food and Wine Lovers
Selections from the rich variety of ingredients available at Portofino Island Resort and the local community are blended to produce an ultimate food and wine lovers experience. Masterminded by Portofino’s own Chef Rob Theriot, the epicurean journey entails exclusive access to Portofino’s chefs, who impart the joys of food preparation, with or without guest participation, and share insights about wine pairings. Homegrown advantages include the freshest seafood and meats, in addition to fruits and vegetables from nearby farms. Portofino’s unique 24
Since time away is precious, Portofino’s girlfriend getaways and male bonding experiences are memorable—for all the right reasons. While popular gal and guy activities—like ladies’ day at the spa and gentlemen’s time on the golf course—are often part of the plan, real joy and meaning stem from branching out to pursue something new in a way that is unexpected and, therefore, better than imagined. Additionally, primary passions—food and wine, nature and adventure, sports and conditioning, luxury and pampering, rest and rejuvenation—are heightened by blending the categories to mold a total experience that is an extraordinary value and certainly worth every minute. “Having an intimate knowledge of our resources and delivering most of the services firsthand, we are uniquely attuned to fulfilling passions that we have in common with our guests,” says Babcock. “Most importantly,” he concludes, “we take the time to know our guests. With or without a bucket list in hand, Ultimate Experience guests will return home with a tremendous sense of satisfaction and a fresh perspective of how to make every moment count.”
The Premier Club Advantage Great escapes have great rewards. Gain access to Portofino’s finest amenities when you book directly through Portofino Island—either online or via the toll-free number—and become a Premier Club member. Amenities include the following: • Welcome gift • Beach chair set for two each day • One round of golf per day at any Emerald Coast Golf Trail course • Catamaran cruise to the Portofino Boardwalk • Fitness Center access • Customized vacation planning • Dolphin cruise • Discounts on food and beverages • Discounts at Adventure Beach, Adventure Cove, and the High Tide Kids Club • The opportunity to earn free nights and more
To book your next Portofino stay through Premier Island Management, call 877.262.9930, or visit www.portofinoisland.com for rates and information.
CORNUCOPIA FOR THE HOME
ust as the name implies, Duh is the place for customers, browsers, friends, and Facebook fans who get it. Modern lovers who have glass chairs at home, those who traditionally buy Stickley and nothing else, and even the shabby chic crowd relate to the retail home and garden store’s signature style. Because
the calming, sophisticated aesthetic seems so duh (as in duh, why didn’t I think of that?), it’s rather ironic that the look is created by an unlikely, ever-changing, worldwide collection of new, repurposed, vintage, and antique art, much of which is functional. In fact, from a distance, the retail establishment—comprising 18,000 square feet with its indoor showrooms, outdoor garden center, and warehouse—appears to have sprouted haphazardly. A closer view, however, reveals a masterfully balanced, soulfully pleasing compilation of textures, sizes, and shapes that mingle and flow across a neutral color palette.
In its thirteenth year, Duh represents the shared creative passions of co-owners Quinn Stinson, who manages the buying, and Jim Rigsbee, who focuses on business operations. “We aren’t in this for the money,” says Stinson, referring to the unyielding demands on their time. Nevertheless, they are thankful that Duh continues to flourish and grow. Moreover, each time a visitor to the store says, “I want to move in here,” they are gratified by the sense that they have built something special. Albeit Stinson’s infatuation, travel to source merchandise is among the most time-consuming challenges of the business. During the first three months of 2012 alone, Stinson took buying trips to Paris, Milan, Florence, and Singapore, as well as to Atlanta and Tucson. Besides traveling across the United States and Europe and into Asia, including China and Indonesia, he has developed a network of “pickers” who search cities and villages across the globe for rare and one-of-a-kind items. Drawn to recycled and repurposed art and furniture, Stinson appreciates each piece for its artistry as well as its history. For those reasons, Italy is one of his favorite stops on the map. “Italy has such talented artisans,” he says, “whether the medium is ceramic, terra-cotta, ironwork, or lighting. They’re still carving by hand,” he adds, noting some wooden mirrors, before pointing out painted plates, bowls, and jardinieres, which he describes as “magnificent.” Although his costs fluctuate with the euro, Stinson explains that Italian quality endures over time. “Italian terra-cotta is always a terrific buy,” he says. “The clay has a high mineral content, allowing pots to be fired at the highest temperatures. They won’t crack if you keep them outside, even when the thermometer falls well below zero.” Duh’s discoveries from China, especially primitive antique pieces, are also impressive. A recent container from the country included small tea tables and baskets. “The baskets, probably made sixty years ago, were woven so finely and tightly that I could barely thread a string through to attach a price tag,” says Stinson, who cannot believe that such artifacts are not more highly valued. Stinson further repurposes all kinds of relics and natural elements, like driftwood and stones, to craft his own designs. He has made a mirror with antique ceiling tin and turned galvanized chicken feeders into lamps. “Most of my friends enjoy tennis and golf,” he says, “but I’d rather go to an antique or junk show and then return to my workshop.” A fan of architectural elements, Stinson is not afraid to make a bold statement. “I made two huge, three-dimensional mirrors using window dormers from a building in France,” he says, acknowledging that the pieces, which show the dormers’ original zinc finish, will not appeal to everyone. “Some will see the mirrors in the store and decide they should be painted.” At least one, however, is earmarked to hang as is in a New Orleans home he is designing. Unable to satisfy every request for his interior design services, Stinson regularly refers customers to colleagues in the industry. “When I take on a job,” he says, “I like to do something interesting that reflects the owners.” In addition to selecting treasures from Duh, Stinson loves to work with clients’ personal belongings. Redoing a Pensacola beach home that has been in a family for generations, he found priceless old photographs of the grandmother taken in the 1890s, when she was a beauty pageant contestant. “We blew them up and placed them in the girls’ room,” says Stinson. As a garden center, Duh also attends to outdoor spaces. “You’ll find vintage garden furniture and giant pieces of driftwood covered with succulents,” says Stinson. “We also have a master gardener on the property who is arguably the best floral designer in town. She recently created an orchid arrangement in an antique Chinese basket. You won’t find such artistry in the average floral shop.”
Stinson’s largest design project, of course, is the store, which is ongoing. At least three times per year, everything changes, including paint, wallpaper, and even the placement of walls. “One of our best taglines, ‘the only thing constant at Duh is change,’ says it all,” Stinson claims. “We have regulars who come in a few times a month just to see what’s new.” Others keep track through Facebook. “A woman recently stopped me at a local restaurant to say how much she loved our Facebook page. I have never seen her in the store, but hearing from people like her makes me feel wonderful.” To buy or to browse, all are welcome to drop in for an enjoyable experience. “Our staff loves it when the place is full of activity,” Stinson says, praising his employees for giving Duh its character. “What I love most about Duh is my staff, and many others feel the same. I receive letters and calls all the time from people raving about the staff. Clearly we’re not here just to sell furniture,” he concludes. “We’re friends who have made Duh a place to gather. We reflect a lifestyle, and we simply hope that we add to the mix of what makes Pensacola special.”
GARDEN & HOME
Where Inspiration Abounds Duh Store Hours: Monday–Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 501 North Ninth Avenue Pensacola, FL 32501 850.439.0640
The Story of Shaggy’s Pass Christian is a small waterfront town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Pass, as it’s called by locals, is home to one of the most beautiful harbors in the Gulf of Mexico, filled with one of the Gulf’s largest shrimp boat fleets. The Pass is my home, and it’s also home to the first Shaggy’s. Here is the story of how Shaggy’s Harbor Bar and Grill was born.
opportunity was growing on me. I never wanted to be in the restaurant business but was suddenly very interested in the project as a real estate development.
In June 2005, I was fueling our boat at the bait shop in Pass Harbor when the shop’s owner approached me. “So you’re Ron Ladner,” he said. “I hear you’re investing in Pass Christian. We’re selling the bait shop—you should buy it.”
I had the vision for the bait shop but needed an operator and partner—Thomas was the only person I would consider, but he was pursuing the expansion of Tigre’s and didn’t have the time. Alas, the idea just drifted around in my mind.
While trying to hide my excitement, I immediately thought about how cool it would be to add a kitchen and serve fresh seafood, burgers, and cocktails—Key West–style. Having been raised in nearby Long Beach, we never had a casual waterfront restaurant, so the harbor
However, two months later, everything changed. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed Pass Christian. The bait shop was gone, Tigre’s was gone, we lost our homes, we lost our town, and for a while, we lost our spirit.
My wife and I had moved to the Coast permanently the previous year after spending six years splitting time between Pass Christian and Atlanta. I was wrapping up a career in the software business, and we had had enough of Atlanta, so we returned to my roots and made Pass Christian “home.” Our favorite hangout in the Pass was Tigre’s, a cool restaurant and wine bar in the small downtown area. It was co-owned by Thomas Genin, an Emeril Lagasse protégé. Since we were there three to four nights a week, Thomas and his wife had no choice but to befriend us.
Several months later, I ran into the bait shop owners again and learned that they wanted to sell their harbor lease. I went straight to Thomas, who was now very interested in the venture, and we immediately negotiated a deal for the former bait shop spot. Thomas designed the building and we started construction in April 2007. After painting the restaurant bright red, we opened our doors three months later. Shaggy’s was open for business. We look back now and feel that our little red place in the harbor breathed life back into our town in a time of great need. We’re often told that Shaggy’s helped many through the healing process—it was a place for all of us to get together, laugh, cry, eat great food, and enjoy a cold one. Today, many customers say they feel like they’re on vacation, even though they haven’t left town. Though Shaggy’s has now grown to include four restaurants across the Gulf Coast, enjoyed by visitors from all over the country, we’re proud that our customers continue to tell us that the Shaggy’s environment is still that of a comfortable gathering place where you always feel like you’re among friends. —Ron Ladner, Co-Founder Shaggy’s Harbor Bar & Grill
The original Shaggy’s in Pass Christian Harbor, Mississippi. Shaggy’s now has restaurants in Biloxi, Mississippi; Orange Beach, Alabama; and Pensacola Beach, Florida. 29
GOLFING ON THE COAST
hose who know the score are ready and set to golf when they land at Portofino Island Resort. An easy drive to four elite courses along the Emerald Coast, the resort grants Premier Club members one complimentary round of golf daily per reservation to the golf club of their choice in the Emerald Coast Golf Trail. Whether they prefer variety or find a favorite place to play, scratch golfers and beginners alike award high marks to Tiger Point Golf Club, Scenic Hills Country Club, The Club at Hidden Creek, and Shalimar Pointe Country Club for being immaculately maintained, professionally managed properties that promise great times and fair challenges. A former PGA Tour venue, Tiger Point, twenty minutes away in Gulf Breeze, features two championship courses along the Santa Rosa Sound: the par-72, Scottish-style East Course and the par-36, 9-hole West Course. Tiger Pointâ€™s full complement of practice facilities includes a 31
driving range, two practice greens, a practice bunker, and a chipping green. Hidden Creek, thirty-five minutes away in Navarre, is a former host for the U.S. Open qualifying rounds. The par-72, 18-hole championship course has earned a 4.5-star rating by Golf Digest. Scenic Hills, forty minutes away in Pensacola, is the only course in Florida to host a U.S. Open event. Golfers of all levels appreciate the natural layout of the par-71, 18-hole championship course, which was designed by Jerry Pate. Shalimar Pointe, an hour away in Shalimar, features a par-72, 18-hole championship course by Finger-Dye that Golf Week named one of the “Top 50 Development Courses in the Southeast.” Its comprehensive practice facility includes an ample driving range, a putting green, and a chipping green. All four country clubs enthusiastically welcome and accommodate guests of Portofino, so why not play? With the Premier Club advantage, there’s no better way to satisfy a healthy addiction to golf.
In D e p t h w i t h MPI Most who know and love Portofino Island probably don’t close their eyes and think of the resort as the place to go to tackle a life-changing physical feat. Certainly, a person could while away the hours floating and lounging in the sun, or stay active on land and in water from sunrise to sunset. But why not strive for a record-breaking run along the coast or a supercharged swim in the surf? The unlimited ways that a body can work out and rest well are precisely the conditions that make Portofino a haven for serious athletes and regular sports enthusiasts with deeply personal goals. With that insight, the thinkers inside Portofino recognized that the resort’s resources could offer more than a leg up toward enhancing athletic performance. Consequently, they decided to team up with Multisport Performance Institute, or MPI. As USA Triathlon–certified coaches who are currently active triathletes, MPI partners John Murray and Mark Sortino capitalize on Portofino’s assets to assist and encourage full-time athletes, Ironman competitors, weekend warriors, and dreamers to make real strides toward reaching their swimming, biking, and running goals. MPI offers a range of coaching alternatives through optional packages and customized plans. Whether on an individual basis or in a group, participants need only ambition to take advantage of personalized assessments, consultations, and training. Additionally, MPI hosts single-day, multiple-day, and long-course training camps and clinics. Clients who begin their initial training at Portofino can continue remotely through communications like Skype, so no matter where they live, athletes can maximize their success through MPI’s long-term training plans with ongoing consultations. One of the highlights of MPI’s capabilities is the Swim Video Analysis, which uses underwater and above-water camera angles to capture and analyze a client’s swim stroke. From that assessment, the coach provides a complete review and instructions that help the swimmer refine and improve his or her stroke. Bike fitting is another MPI specialty. The team’s bike fitter, who is certified by the Fit Institute Slowtwich (F.I.S.T.), will expertly adjust a rider’s 34
current triathlon bike or fully guide the purchase of new equipment. The service continues with extensive follow-up support.
the assurance that they are prepared. “We’ll toss buoys in the water so swimmers learn to sight markers and stay on course.”
Those just starting out and seasoned athletes alike are among the many benefiting from MPI’s expertise in running, biking, and swimming. “In some cases, it’s an individual’s first exposure to an Ironman,” says Murray, “so we might begin meeting a few weeks out to prepare for the big day. Others want to perfect or improve a technique.”
Through a close relationship with the Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF), MPI and Portofino also host the CAF Dodge Paratriathlon Camp each May. Athletes and paratriathlon coaches from around the country enjoy the Portofino lifestyle while taking part in the three-day event. “We have a number of wounded warriors attend,” says Murray, who is continually amazed by the athletic prowess he observes.
Training in preparation for triathlons is integral to the coaches’ personal lives, so they eagerly accompany their athletes during training. (The coaches decidedly prefer the term training to working out.) “If you’re nervous about swimming in the open water,” says Murray, “we’ll go with you in the sound and the Gulf until you reach a comfort level to venture out alone.” For someone else, the issue might be riding a bicycle for the first time in many years, so a coach will bike alongside the cyclist. Likewise, along with setting the pace for a runner, a coach will often detour to the Fitness Center to analyze the athlete’s gait on the treadmill. MPI also supports in-depth physical assessments and treatments prescribed by the world-renowned Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze. Whether capitalizing on the Gulf Islands National Seashore’s natural resources, utilizing Portofino’s facilities, or implementing the recommendations of a medically acclaimed program, MPI’s coaches agree that Portofino’s infrastructure and local connections produce an unbeatable environment for enhancing an individual’s performance. “As guests and owners learn about MPI, many plan in advance to schedule an hour or two with us for mini-sessions,” says Sortino. “We might spend time running together, discussing race nutrition and recovery, or covering self-massage techniques.” Others prefer the value, as well as the sense of camaraderie, that comes with group training. In the spring, summer, and fall, MPI hosts singleday triathlon camps at Portofino. “We conduct demonstrations and practice racing tactics,” says Sortino, who explains that many just want
Mini-triathlons are another popular sport at Portofino. From the spring through the fall, Portofino is the hot spot for the Sunset Tri Series, a collection of short races that start and finish in approximately fortyfive minutes. “The event includes a 300-meter swim, a bike ride of 7.5 miles, and a 1.5-mile run,” says Murray. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for vacationers to come down with their bikes and share the joy of living a healthy lifestyle.” The coaches emphasize that there’s no age limit to being active or, for that matter, to completing a triathlon. “A 64-year-old man came up to me and began describing all that he could do successfully,” says Murray. “Embarrassed, he went on to say that his dream was to participate in a triathlon, but he was ‘deathly afraid’ of water—too afraid to put his face in a swimming pool.” Murray worked with the man over several months. When he could confidently swim the length of the pool, they moved to the open waters. “Eight months later, he completed a Sunset Triathlon,” says Murray. “He was crying when he crossed the finished line.” Gratified by their role in helping individuals reach such moments of glory, Murray and Sortino say they appreciate all the ways that Portofino amplifies their efforts. “While enjoying a world-class destination, you can also train for a triathlon with the freedom to choose any of our services à la carte,” says Sortino. “If you come to participate in an event, bring the family along,” he adds. “Along with all the resort has to offer, triathlons are great fun and exciting to watch.” 35
G R E AT PAIR ING S
or the same reasons that wine and food are meant to be paired, two friends—Rob Babcock, owner of Premier Island Management Group, and Chan Cox,
owner of Wine World—came together to open The Wine Bar at Portofino Boardwalk. In the spirit of celebrating a life-
style that takes time to savor the good things, Babcock and Cox established a place to enjoy a sophisticated taste of the grape and a bite to eat without taking any of it too seriously.
Chan Cox (left) and Robert Babcock (right)
The idea for the partnership came to Babcock while he and his wife, Sabine, were planning the layout for Envie, their retail boutique, which flows into The Wine Bar. “We had additional space in the building and it seemed ideal for creating a place to relax and socialize before or after shopping,” Babcock says. At the time, Chan was operating The Wine Bar in three other locations, including downtown Pensacola. “I invited him over to see what he thought of opening a store here,” Babcock adds. Chan agreed that The Wine Bar and the Boardwalk would be a good match, and they soon shook hands on the arrangement. (Since then, Cox has launched The Wine Bar at a fifth location.) As a direct wine importer, wholesaler, and retailer with a restaurant background, Cox became interested in the wine bar concept several years ago. “I read an article by wine writers when the business model was still new in this country,” says Cox. “In their research, the writers concluded that the best wine bars were owned and operated by the best wine retailers, and that motivated me to investigate the opportunity.” At the same time, Cox began to observe the successful evolution of a friend’s wine bar venture. “Traveling to New Orleans, I would visit Martin Wine Cellar,” he recalls. “When Cedric Martin first started selling sandwiches, you couldn’t sit down to eat, but people loved ordering food. The more popular it became, the more space Cedric devoted to the operation. He was later quoted in a trade journal as saying the wine bar added energy to the retail environment, and, of course, it does.” Wine tastings, indeed, create a buzz. In addition to regularly scheduled events, The Wine Bar also hosts private tasting parties. For the ultimate wine and
food lovers’ experience, Portofino owners and guests who are Premier Club members are invited to take advantage of Premier’s expertise in planning a culinary itinerary for any getaway, complete with wine tastings and wine pairings. “Our partnership with The Wine Bar enables us to present truly unbelievable wines to our guests at a remarkable savings,” says Portofino’s Director of Food and Beverage, Rob Theriot. “As a direct importer, Chan brings in wines from all over the country; the old-world vineyards of France and Italy; and places like Chile and South Africa. Without a distributor’s markup, his prices are considerably lower. As a food and wine lover myself, I couldn’t ask for more.” The Wine Bar also sources and sells a delectable selection of artisan cheeses. Customers, of course, can purchase any bottles they choose to take home. “We also offer quite a few items that are served by the glass, carafe, or bottle,” says Cox, who personally develops The Wine Bar’s wine list and changes it almost every week. For the food menu, The Wine Bar has access to approximately twenty-two core items, 37
“...enjoying a glass of wine is not about cocktailing. It’s a cultural thing and a way of life.” although Chef Rob and store managers are afforded plenty of flexibility to add their own influences. “We have some pretty talented people running our stores, so I would be foolish not to take advantage of their talents and creativity,” says Cox. Personalizing the menu also ensures that the five different wine bars each appeal to their customers, who vary demographically. Interestingly, one of the most popularly requested items across the board is the chicken salad. “It’s a killer dish,” Cox says. “Although fairly simple, all of the ingredients are fresh and designed to complement wine.” While sipping wine, a number of patrons prefer an assortment of flavors, so The Wine Bar’s sampler plates are also frequently ordered. The appeal of tasting and pairing wine and food is precisely why The Wine Bar is such a hit. “Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and gaining more interest in learning about wine,” says Cox, who has undoubtedly played a role in educating the marketplace. The shift in attitude has, in turn, prompted a greater demand for drier wines that are more suitable
for sipping at the dinner table. Even California makers, who have readily appealed to massmarket tastes, are paying attention and, like the old-world vintners, producing wines that are less alcoholic and more balanced. “Americans have come to understand that enjoying a glass of wine is not about cocktailing,” Chan says. “It’s a cultural thing and a way of life.” Babcock and Cox both agree the pairing of the wine bar and Portofino was meant for all to savor a better way of life.
PORTOF I NO’S BEST OF THE BE ACH Our Top Picks from Portofino Island Resort
01 These flip-flops are must-haves—always keep them handy in your beach bag for those sandy feet!
Havaianas flip-flops Available at Salty Beach Outfitters, on the Portofino Boardwalk
02 Make sure you’re protecting your delicate skin from the warm Florida sun with the Comfort Zone spa products line, sold at our own Aqua, the Spa at Beach Club.
Comfort Zone spa products Available at Aqua Spa, Beach Club Featured here: • Skin Defender Cream • Skin Defender Hand Cream • Natural Remedies Aloe Vera • Sacred Nature Eye Cream Gel • Sacred Nature Lipstick
Perfect for date night or a dinner out, these beautiful pearl necklaces make even the most casual outfit look chic, turning “simple” into “simply stunning.”
For the guy going out for a night on the town, we recommend sporting a tie, like this silk Vineyard Vines beach chair tie.
Find a little rest and rejuvenation after a busy day by sinking into this ultraplush Beach Club robe from Aqua.
Twenty-Nine Eleven pearl and cross necklace Available at Envie Boutique, on the Portofino Boardwalk
Vineyard Vines beach chair tie
Aqua spa robe Available at Aqua Spa, Beach Club
Available at Envie Boutique, on the Portofino Boardwalk
06 Don’t let the sun make you squint! Toss on this Mud Pie floppy sun hat to see your beach read with ease.
Mud Pie floppy hat Available at The Market, Portofino Island Resort
How does a picnic on the beach sound? Perfect, if you have this assortment of light summer wines and cheeses from The Wine Bar at the Portofino Boardwalk.
The little ones rarely like to leave the water, but have them dry off happily with this shark towel. Shark bait not included.
For you sporty types, keep your hair back and the sun out of your eyes with this Portofino visor—don’t get caught playing tennis or riding waves without it!
Wine and cheese basket Available at The Wine Bar, on the Portofino Boardwalk
Kids’ shark towel Available at Portofino Sundries & Gifts, Portofino Island Resort
Portofino visor Available at The Market, Portofino Island Resort
You’ll want a steaming cup of coffee while you catch the early morning view from a Portofino balcony. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with this mug.
A blend of mandarin, pineapple, and ginger, this glass-jar candle is sure to make wherever you are smell like summer—our favorite season! The best part? It burns for up to 60 hours.
Portofino mug Available at The Market, Portofino Island Resort
Archipelago Lanai glass-jar candle Available at Portofino Sundries & Gifts, Portofino Island Resort
12 Don a beautiful belt for a worthy cause. All Jenny Krauss belts are hand made by women’s cooperatives in rural areas of Peru. By purchasing a Jenny Krauss belt, you’ll be helping to provide impoverished women with work, food, and, most important, security for themselves and their children. That’s a fashion statement we like!
Jenny Krauss belt Available at Envie Boutique, on the Portofino Boardwalk
“Rather than disguising tastes with butter and heavy cream, we pair the grilled fish with a crispy tropical slaw in a Vidalia onion vinaigrette.” The mastermind of all things culinary at Terracotta Restaurant and Terrazzo Grille on Portofino Island Resort, as well as at Laguna’s and The Wine Bar on the Portofino Boardwalk, Louisianan Chef Rob Theriot loves to spice up a menu with a taste of his Cajun heritage while also pleasing diners who appreciate variety. His eclectic palate, in fact, inspires him to re-create a range of styles—from Southern to European, sophisticated to provincial. More than anything, Chef Rob is passionate about choosing locally fresh ingredients, which define his dishes. “Tracing the history of chefs, we find that recipes originated from whatever was available on nearby farms,” says Chef Rob. “At Portofino, we are fortunate to be surrounded by water with an abundance of seafood— shrimp, crab, oysters, fish.” Florida also yields fresh produce year-round. Instead of being focused on any particular style of cooking, Chef Rob wants to know what local growers can bring to the table. Some items, therefore, are seasonal, but certain signature dishes are always offered. Fish tacos quickly became a top choice and are now a staple at Laguna’s. “They represent the flavors of the coast in a manner that is fresh and clean,” says Chef Rob. “Rather than disguising tastes with butter and heavy cream, we pair the grilled fish with a crispy tropical slaw in a Vidalia onion vinaigrette.” A smoked tomato salsa adds excitement without overwhelming the palate.
Similarly, crab cakes are a long-standing feature at Terracotta. “Using fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, sautéed Creole ‘trinity’ (bell pepper, onion and celery), and a little bit of citrus, these crab cakes are sure to please anyone,” Chef Rob promises. They are served with a spoonful of his homemade rémoulade sauce and a dollop of tomato-basil jam for a bit of sweetness and acidity. Restaurant guests also appreciate the range of light to hardy options that appear throughout the year. Eager to share his personal favorites, including foods that require a bit of persuasion, the chef won over the taste buds of Terracotta patrons with a satisfying oxtail. Viewed by many as a trendsetter with his penchant for lesser cuts of meat, Chef Rob reveals that a “slow food” movement is under way. “Instead of the customary fillet, the trend is about using a short rib, pork shank, or pork belly and cooking it slowly so it’s tender,” he explains. The same applies to fish. “Our region has a great supply of snappers that are smaller,” he says, “so at Terracotta we’ll sometimes prepare a succulent whole fish for two.” Quite often, the fresh catch is one that was reeled in by the diners! Fruits from the coast also highlight drink favorites. Combining fresh juices and a bit jalapeño and 100 percent blue agave tequila, Chef Rob and his team mix a tangy jalapeño-lime margarita. Encouraging his chefs to experiment and collaborate, Chef Rob doesn’t know precisely what will be on the menu tomorrow, but he looks forward to sharing the results. Pleased with the talent in his well-stocked kitchens, he says, “We have plenty of ingredients to play with.”
CHEF ROB SHARES HIS RECIPES CRAB CAKES: YIELDS 12
Ingredients: 1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat 1 lb. lump crabmeat 1/2 lb. crab claw meat 1 cup yellow onion, small diced 1/2 cup celery, small diced 1/2 cup red bell pepper, small diced 1/2 cup green bell pepper, small diced 1 tablespoon garlic, minced 2 cups mayonnaise 1/4 cup hot sauce 2 lemons, juiced 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 1 1/2 tablespoons Creole spice blend Salt and pepper to taste Panko bread crumbs, as needed
Instructions: Cook onions, peppers, celery, and garlic over medium heat until translucent. After vegetables have cooled down, mix with mayonnaise, hot sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Creole spice. Gently fold in picked crabmeat. Gently mix in bread crumbs until mixture begins to clump together. Taste; season with salt and pepper as desired. Shape to desired form; then, either sauté in butter, or coat with flour and bread crumbs to deep fry.
J A L A P E Ñ O M A R G A R I TA
Ingredients: 1 1/4 oz. El Mayor Reposado Tequila 1/4 oz. jalapeño syrup 1/2 oz. triple sec 3 oz. sour mix
Instructions: Pour over ice and garnish with a lime wedge and candied jalapeño slices. For the candied jalapeño slices, slowly simmer jalapeño slices in equal parts water and sugar.
A TAs T e of The To wn
Portofino Island Resort is known for its beautiful beaches, Caribbean architecture, and natural beauty. The resort was “inspired by nature,” so visitors are truly in for a treat. Portofino offers something else that will complete your already perfect stay with us: some of the most exquisite dining in the area. Whether you’re looking for a night out with the family, a dinner for two, or a relaxing night out with friends, Portofino has what you’re looking for. Each of the restaurants included here, whether on the resort or nearby, offers a wonderful dining experience. Portofino boasts two of the most fabulous restaurants in the Pensacola area right on the property. For a formal dining experience, Terracotta is the perfect choice. Chef Rob Theriot rotates the menu regularly, always offering fresh and unique selections for his guests. He includes seafood and produce from local farms and markets in each dish, so you are sure to get a real taste of the area. Chef Theriot’s unique creations ensure an exquisite meal every time you visit. Also, Terracotta has an extensive wine list and dessert menu to enhance your outstanding meal. In need of a date night? Terracotta is the ideal getaway for an intimate night out. For an elegant meal that still encompasses a beach flair, Terracotta is the perfect destination. For a more casual dining experience, be sure to visit Terrazzo Grille, also located on the Portofino Island Resort property. Perfect for a quick meal during your day in the sun, Terrazzo Grille offers all of your favorites. From deli sandwiches, salads, and po’boys to gourmet pizza and a kids’ menu, Terrazzo Grille 49
is perfect for the whole family to gather and dine after a day on the beach. It is located at the Lifestyle Center and provides a comfortable, casual atmosphere for relaxing and refueling. Tired from a day at the beach? Or need a quick bite before venturing out into the Florida sun? Bring the whole family to Terrazzo Grille, the perfect spot to relax during your beach day. If you’re staying at Portofino Island Resort, you can take the Portofino I from the resort right to the Portofino Boardwalk, making it easy for guests to explore the wonderful area. You’re on vacation. Take some time to unwind. The Wine Bar, located on the Portofino Boardwalk, is the perfect place to do just that. Here, you will find wines by the glass, flight, or bottle, as well as specialty beers and other beverages. The Wine Bar also offers salads, soups, and sandwiches, so feel free to stop in for a bite to eat. Don’t forget about the wine and cheese shop. Let the amazing staff discuss the selections with you so you can make the most of your visit. The Wine Bar is a quaint little spot for a couple’s outing, a night out with friends, or even a place to have some time for yourself. To truly embrace the Southern coastal lifestyle, there’s no better place than Laguna’s. Also located on the Portofino Boardwalk, Laguna’s features locally caught seafood; fresh, homemade foods and sauces; and a bountiful Low Country boil with four kinds of fresh crab, jumbo shrimp, corn, and potatoes. Laguna’s is perfect for the whole family. For land lovers, Laguna’s boasts the best burgers on the beach and wonderful salad options, as well as their irresistible Hopkins House fried chicken. Decorated with amazing artwork from local artists, Laguna’s embodies a fun, energetic atmosphere. Stop by for their delicious Sunday brunch, and don’t miss Laguna’s award-winning margaritas. While on the boardwalk, be sure to stop by the Boardwalk Café. For casual dining after shopping or enjoying an afternoon walk, this is the place to go. Visit their ice cream parlor for a cold treat on a hot summer day.
The amazing dining doesn’t end there. Located on the ground floor of the old H. Pfeiffer & Company Mercantile building, Jackson’s Steakhouse is a special restaurant that embraces the unique history of the area. Jackson’s overlooks Plaza Ferdinand, where General Andrew Jackson accepted Spain’s transfer of Florida to the United States and raised the American flag for the first time right here in Pensacola. Look for the bust of Andrew Jackson, Jackson’s namesake, in Plaza Ferdinand. The history of this restaurant may be intriguing, but the food is truly amazing. Visit Jackson’s for one of their famous steaks and you’ll soon find out why it is considered one of Florida’s top twenty-five restaurants. Located on Pensacola Bay, the Atlas Oyster House is a favorite of the area, offering a casual, waterfront dining experience for guests. With Apalachicola Bay and East Bay oysters driven to the restaurant every day, you are guaranteed only the best and freshest oysters in the area. Along with oysters, Atlas also serves locally caught fish and shellfish, steak, chicken, sushi, and pasta dishes. To accompany your meal, enjoy a glass of wine, any of the twelve beers on tap, a domestic or imported bottled beer, a martini, or a margarita. And you can’t leave without trying the famous key lime pie. Adjacent to Atlas, you’ll find its sister restaurant, the Fish House. The Fish House provides a perfect upscale dining experience where you can enjoy a gorgeous view that overlooks Pensacola Bay and Seville Harbor. This amazing restaurant features fresh seafood selections, house-smoked steaks, and sushi. Don’t leave without trying the famous Grits à Ya Ya. Also, make sure to check out the handpicked wine list, which includes more than three hundred wines, and the full bar. Don’t forget—you can stop by after hours for the late night menu and on Sunday’s for a fabulous brunch. To add a little fun to your stay, visit the Fish House Deck Bar. There, you’ll find live music at night, a fire pit, and an awesome happy hour. For a taste of local culture, venture down to the Native Cafe. Owned and operated by fifth-generation Pensacolians, this restaurant shares what is unique to Pensacola with its
guests. Offering a breakfast menu, soups, salads, sandwiches, and delicious “native” entrées, Native Cafe is the perfect spot to see a different side of Pensacola. Enjoy the area to its fullest at this eclectic cafe. Looking for a casual, vibrant eatery? Try Florida Pizza Kitchen, a pizzeria that offers amazing pizzas, a colorful setting, and an undeniable energy. Florida Pizza Kitchen uses all fresh ingredients that create only the best pizzas, calzones, and salads. For some of the best pizza in the area, head to Florida Pizza Kitchen and have a slice of goodness. For more amazing seafood, try Shaggy’s, a newcomer to Pensacola. With its roots in South Mississippi, Shaggy’s is known for its casual dining, offering sandwiches, steaks, and salads, with a major emphasis on fresh seafood and seafood boils. Looking for a fun, relaxing gathering place? Shaggy’s is your spot. Be sure to stop by and welcome Shaggy’s to the area. Looking for a spot to relax with a drink? Bamboo Willie’s Beachside Bar is your go-to for drinks with a view. Located on the Portofino Boardwalk, guests can sit and enjoy beautiful Santa Rosa Sound. Whether you come by car or boat, Bamboo Willie’s is an experience that shouldn’t be missed. Be sure to stop by for the live music on Friday and Saturday nights and on Sunday afternoons. Just down from Bamboo Willie’s, you’ll find Hooters for your beer and wings fix. Stop in with friends for a fun time on the boardwalk. With a classic menu in a relaxed, fun atmosphere, this is the place to go. A few steps down from Hooters, you’ll see Hemingway’s Island Grill. Here, you can truly get a “taste of the islands.” Offering a tropical lunch and dinner menu as well as amazing specialty drinks, Hemingway’s will give you a true beach dining experience. Whether you decide to dine at beautiful Portofino Island Resort or at one of the other amazing restaurants in the area, Pensacola has everything you’re looking for. At any of these restaurants, you’re sure to get a unique taste of the town. 51
p u d e v r e s l l A n u F & d o o F Enjoy Awesome s! l ir G s r e t o o H s u o m a F d l r o by the W 400 Quietwater Beach Road • (850) 934-9464 www.hootersonline.net
Located on the Portofino Boardwalk • Pensacola Beach
Featuring Fat Tuesday Daiquiris & the Best Live Music on the Beach! Home of the Famous Crawfish Festival & Jamaican Festival! 400 Quietwater Beach Road • (850) 916-9888 • BambooWillies.com Experience live music, fine food and spirits in a tropical paradise that would have made Papa proud. Dine and relax on our Tower Bar, or the Bimini Beach Bar located beach level.
400 Quietwater Beach Road • Located on the Portofino Boardwalk Pensacola Beach • HemingwaysIslandGrill.com • (850) 934-4747 Hemingway’s is a trademark of Hemingway Ltd. and under exclusive license through Fashion Licensing of America, Inc. New York, NY 10165 • (212) 370-0770
Islanders Surf & Sport
slanders Surf & Sport has long been established as the locals’ choice for all things beach and surf related. Founded in 1980, the original Islanders location was in a small, old two-story tin-roofed building in downtown Fort Walton Beach. As the Emerald Coast grew as a beach destination, so did Islanders. Now, over thirty years later, Islanders has two store locations—the Portofino Boardwalk at Pensacola Beach and the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk in Fort Walton Beach, as well as an online store at IslandSurf.com. The shops sell boardshorts, swimsuits, sunglasses, hats and beanies, sandals, surfing gear, and more from brands like Billabong, Hurley, and Roxy surf apparel; Quiksilver, Oakley, Ray-Ban, and Arnette sunglasses; TOMS shoes; Reef and OluKai sandals, and more.
Islanders also rents skimboards, boogie boards, surfboards, and stand-up paddleboards. When cooler temps hit the coast, the retailer features outerwear and clothing from its surf brands, as well as Minnetonka boots, Patagonia jackets, and lines from UGG.
Islanders also promotes happiness through its sustainability policies. As a member of the 1% for the Planet movement, the shop donates at least one percent of all Islanders brand merchandise to environmental organizations committed to helping Earth—our only island.
Iconic to the Islanders brand are its “Beach Bacon” Pig Shirts. Developed exclusively for Islanders, the “Beach Bacon” silk-screened character has been a hot seller from the start. The “Beach Bacon” pig—featured engaged in various beach vacation activities from fishing and riding a jet ski to snorkeling and sunbathing—has become a legend along the Gulf Coast and beyond. “Maybe it’s the idea of a laid-back pig with no worries,” says owner John Hambleton. “If we make our customers happy, then that’s all that matters.”
Visit the Islanders location at Portofino Boardwalk on your next visit to Pensacola Beach, or shop online at www.IslandSurf. com and enjoy free shipping to anywhere in the continental United States. Gear up with quality at Islanders.
channeling a fashion icon
The seeds of an expansive world view and cultured taste toward food, travel, and fashion were sown at an early age in Sabine Laguna, owner of Envie. While growing up in Venezuela, Sabine’s French mother crafted her daughter’s one-of-a-kind garments and her grandmother passed down her remarkable sense of French fashion. Combine that with childhood summers spent in Paris and a nuptial union to an American, and the outcome couldn’t help but be exceptionally iconic.
any factors go into the making of a fashion icon: an innate personal style, a unique fashion sensibility, and an enviable self-assurance, among others. Perhaps one of the most famous fashion icons in American history was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, with her signature head scarves, chic hairstyle, and oversized sunglasses being just some of the looks she was known for. But what Jackie O had was a style so cemented within her very being that it could hardly be separated from the woman herself. Some may try to replicate her style. Sabine, however, seems to come by it naturally. Recognizing Sabine’s personal style, the creative team behind Portofino Life was inspired to showcase Envie’s new spring line with Sabine channeling Jackie O. “I have always loved Jackie Kennedy. She was a beautiful woman inside and out—extremely smart, multicultural, poised, and dedicated,” says Sabine. “Jackie had impeccable taste—her sense of fashion was timeless and complete. She brought a new standard to glamour and style and she became a fashion icon.”
“When the challenge and opportunity of opening a boutique came our way, we took it and it has been a beautiful ride.” Sabine discovered her knack for fashion at a very young age but never acted on it until the opportunity to open Envie presented itself. Envie was a “surprise door” for Sabine when she relocated to Pensacola Beach with her husband, Rob Babcock, chief operating officer and owner of Premier Island Management Group at Portofino Island Resort. “When the challenge and opportunity of opening a boutique came our way, we took it and it has been a beautiful ride,” said the boutique owner. “I love it all! My husband appreciates fashion and enjoys dressing well, so it has been a fun ride for us both.” 56
Armed with an intense fashion sense and a knowledge of what customers are looking for, Sabine is a natural at forecasting trends and dressing customers in the hottest looks for any season. The fashionista has only one thing to say about the lines for spring 2012: color, color, and more color! Reminiscent of the 1980s, printed denim and fluorescent colors are making a comeback, while colored shorts and wedges are still stealing the scene. Sabine suggests pairing a bright top, perhaps in coral or yellow, with simple white jeans as an easy way to wear the trend, or with white shorts and statement-making wedges. Making a refreshed debut is the preppy look, with polka dots and nautical-inspired pieces perme-
“We want the person that shops at Envie to find anything from timeless pieces ... to fun, trendy items that are comfortable and affordable.” ating fashion lines across the country. These pieces nod to a more classic look, something Sabine herself incorporates into her own wardrobe. “I believe in buying those special, timeless pieces that make you feel good, and matching them with a few trendy items,” Sabine explains. “We want the person that shops at Envie to find anything from timeless pieces that can be worn for successive seasons without feeling out of
fashion to fun, trendy items that are comfortable and affordable,” she explained. Somewhat novice to the business arena, Sabine has enlisted experience to help oversee Envie: Amber Hoverson, manager of Envie; Betsy Bellamy, comanager; and Brianne Williams, part-time manager. “These girls provide customer service that is second to none; they have really been able to capture my vision for the store,” Sabine explained. “They believe in the brand, they believe in the vision, and they believe in making Envie the best boutique shopping experience.” Because of an exceptional staff and an impeccable sense of style, Envie is growing to meet demand—both the swimsuit collections and the men’s department will be much larger for 2012, featuring the best designers in each arena, to appeal to a wider array of shoppers. Sabine has just one thought to leave with both shoppers and fashionistas alike. “Always buy clothes that make you feel good and represent the person that you are. Have fun experimenting and finding your ‘look.’ Have fun with fashion—have fun with clothes!” Jackie O couldn’t have said it better herself !
“Always buy clothes that make you feel good and represent the person that you are ... Have fun with fashion— have fun with clothes!”
I’d Rather Be
Swimming Where you’d rather be. 800.225.7652
d e s t i n va c at i o n . c o m
d e s t i n ~ s o u t h wa lt o n ~ t h i r t y - a 63
Nature’s c r e a t u r e s
Each day as I drive the peaceful beach road that winds through the Gulf Islands National Seashore, I’m reminded of the fun car games my brothers, sisters, and I would play while taking family trips. Thoughts of those games always bring a smile to my face. One of my favorites, and one that I especially reminisce about while on my morning drive, was “I spy with my little eye.” From the tiny sand crabs crawling on the beach to the large herons flying high in the sky above, the seashore is home to a wide variety of creatures. No one day is the same, yet each day is a spectacular adventure—full of excitement and serene beauty—as I take in the surroundings. There is always something new along the beach, whether it is the seashore birds, the terns, coming back home to nest or the sand dunes shifting in the wind. The Gulf Islands National Seashore is a magical place and one that I will continue to “spy with my eye” every time I get the chance.
Great Blue Heron
Moon Snail Shell
â€œFrom the tiny sand crabs crawling on the beach to the large herons flying high in the sky above, the seashore is home to a wide variety of creatures.â€?
By taking the Portofino I eleven nautical miles due west to the tip of Santa Rosa Island, or by traveling approximately thirteen miles overland by bike or car, you can reach Fort Pickens. Commissioned after the War of 1812 and completed in 1834 to protect Pensacola Harbor, the fort was named in honor of Andrew Pickens, whose heroics at the Battle of Cowpens are credited for the final series of Patriot victories that won the American Revolutionary War. Colonel William H. Chase of the Corps of Army Engineers supervised the slave labor that constructed the fort over a three-year period. Using more than twenty-two million bricks to make the fortress impregnable, Chase, ironically, was later ordered by the State of Florida to take Fort Pickens from Union control during the Civil War. Thanks to its sturdy construction and strategic location, however, the stronghold remained in Union hands. Nature, in fact, eventually proved to be the fortâ€™s fiercest enemy.
Although Fort Pickens played a role in the Civil War, as well as in the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, and World Wars I and II, what piques the interest of visitors of all ages is that fifteen Apache warriors, including their leader, Geronimo, were held captive there from October of 1886 to May of 1887. Although seemingly implausible, the Apachesâ€™ presence turned Fort Pickens into a tourist attraction. On one especially busy day, Geronimo drew 459 visitors. For that reason, the City of Pensacola bemoaned the day on which the Native Americans were transferred from the fort. Although neither prisoners nor soldiers occupy Fort Pickens today, the location remains a captivating spot for historians and naturalists alike. From the haunting remains of the old barricades to the panoramic views of the Gulf and sound, the site is a must-see by land or by sea.
KIDS’ CORNER Calling all kids! That’s right—Portofino has adventures ready and waiting just for you. Sure, building sand castles and burying your younger brother or sister in the sand are tons of fun, but we’ve got a lot more in store for your vacation. Check it out! First, you’ve got to make your way to Adventure Cove, our water park located right on the Santa Rosa Sound. There’s a water trampoline, a huge slide called the Summit that drops you right into the water, a floating jungle gym, and something called the Rock-It—a big inflatable ball that rocks and rolls while you try to dip the other Rock-It riders in the water. While you’re on the Sound side, why not do some exploring? Grab a kayak and set out on the Sound. Portofino is located next to a protected wildlife area—the Gulf Islands National Seashore—where you are bound to spy dolphins, pelicans, and many other creatures that make our beach their home. You can also explore the seashore by land on a bike or a scooter (available at the Adventure Depot).
If you’re the sporty type and up for some adventure, hit the beach, grab a board, and ride the waves surfing or stand-up paddleboarding. We even offer surfing lessons. Little ones can learn how to swim in the comfort and safety of our indoor pool with a certified swim instructor. And, don’t forget about our tennis courts—play a game, take a lesson, or try a junior clinic. Of course, one of the best parts of a vacation is meeting new friends. At High Tide Kids Club, you can take a break from your parents and meet other kids while making crafts, like tie-dyed T-shirts, or going on a nature tour or treasure hunt. If you’re a little older and want somewhere fun to hang out after dark, check out our Teen Cruise aboard the Portofino I catamaran. This special cruise is just for teens and sets sail in spring and summer only. It’s a dance party on the water!
For more information on any of these activities, visit the website at PortofinoIsland.com, give the Concierge a call or check out the latest issue of The Islander. 73
R e t R e at t o S pa p o R t o f i n o While many Portofino guests and owners enjoy Spa Portofino as an indulgence, others deem it a necessity. Whether to pamper or to administer a must-have treatment, attentive, certified technicians continually master techniques that deliver beneficial services worth every minute. Located in the Portofino Lifestyle Center, the well-appointed retreat is easy to reach, but upon entering its serene environment, guests immediately leave the outside world behind. Discreet yet not one bit pretentious, the genuinely friendly attitude toward first-time visitors and frequent patrons alike reflects the personality of Portofino and, most certainly, that of Spa Portofino manager Laura Dean. The Pensacola native, with her easily approachable, hometown warmth, sets a personable yet respectful tone. It’s not uncommon to witness an exchange of hugs as returning guests inquire about Dean’s little boy while sharing the latest news about their family members and travels. Most importantly, by taking the time to understand guests’ expectations during confidential consultations, the staff ensures that individual needs are completely satisfied. In addition to massages, body treatments, facials for men and for women, nail care, and waxing, Spa Portofino guests have use of a dry sauna, steam room, whirlpool, and lounge. Although individuals must be eighteen years or older to take advantage of services without an adult present, young ones may also be pampered. “Little girls love our princess pedicures,” says Dean. Whether as a mother-daughter or grandmother-granddaughter bonding experience, or as a little girl 74
spa party, often hosted in the condo, such appointments are available with many creative options, including age-appropriate finger foods and takeaway gifts. For adults, massages are always in high demand, and guests choose from a variety of techniques—Swedish, deep tissue, aromatherapy, prenatal, and hot stone. Offered in the spa or in the guest’s room, massages can also be enjoyed in Portofino’s outdoor cabana. Located in a secluded area alongside the Santa Rosa Sound, the cabana is curtained all around, but most guests prefer to keep the water side open to admire the view while unwinding. “We also offer a couple’s massage,” says Dean, “and sharing the experience by the sound is especially romantic.” Body wraps are another preferred Spa Portofino offering. “We treat the entire body to skin-soothing botanicals from Italy,” says Dean. “The head-to-toe polishing, which includes a foot-cleansing ritual, uses a Mediterranean olive scrub and mask containing vegetable extracts that nourish and tone depleted skin. It’s like having a silky body massage.”
AquA The Spa at Beach Club
To address a fundamental demand for antioxidants and anti-aging procedures, Spa Portofino uses only Comfort Zone® products for all procedures. Formulated to replenish and rejuvenate, the exclusive line of skin care is distributed only to the most discriminating spas, resorts, and shops worldwide that demonstrate a level of professional integrity necessary to uphold the Italian maker’s strictest standards for quality. Luxurious to the touch, each formula zeroes in on an essential need, such as tissue hydration or renewal. To foster the same quality of skin care at home, Spa Portofino consultants offer individual guidance in selecting the right products from the Comfort Zone line carried in the gift shop. In addition to choosing à la carte products and services, Spa Portofino guests often order packages for maximum benefit and value. Similarly, treatments can be arranged in advance as a key component of a particular type of getaway experience—such as athletic training, ultimate relaxation, romance, a taste of luxury, or a journey to better health—and coordinated by a team of resort specialists. Groups also like to coordinate and optimize their spa time. Dean and her team frequently work with sports and organizational groups, bridal and bachelorette parties, couples, and girlfriends to plan spa experiences that layer and pair elements like food, wine, gifts, and more. Appointments made in advance ensure that guests’ preferences are met. “We do everything possible to accommodate our guests,” says Dean. “If you desire something extra, just ask. We have an excellent team with a willing attitude and unlimited ideas.”
Complementing the stellar customer service and luxurious experience at Spa Portofino is Aqua, the Spa at Beach Club—Portofino’s sister resort and spa on Pensacola Beach. With a single step inside Aqua’s doors, one soon understands why the spa is a sought-after retreat. Sleek, white leather couches and modern appointments adorn the inner sanctuary (a.k.a. the waiting area) while the relaxing sounds of trickling waterfalls fill the air. Each locker room features a dry sauna, a steam room, and showers for pretreatment comfort or postexperience lingering. Once inside the private treatment area, the warmth of the dimly lit yet still stylized room soon melts away any last bit of stress. Guests may choose from Aqua’s menu of services, which includes massage therapy, manicures and pedicures, and facial and body treatments— all using Italian-based Comfort Zone® spa products—meant to purify the body, refresh the mind, and nurture the soul. Services are available to Beach Club guests, homeowners, and the general public by appointment only. Available to homeowners and guests of Beach Club is the adjoining world-class fitness facility. Cybex and Lifestyle fitness equipment with personal television screens and entertainment systems compete with the stunning views from the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the beach. The indoor lap pool, free weights, and fitness classes complete the experience for a total mind and body makeover.
The DesTin PlasTic surgery Dream Team
Dr. William Burden founded Destin Plastic Surgery seventeen years ago with the idea of creating a plastic surgery center of excellence. He selected the site and designed the building that would come to house one of the largest plastic surgery centers in the United States. Dr. L. Scott Ennis joined his practice in 2003. Together, their success has prompted a fivethousand-square-foot expansion scheduled for completion in 2012.
While Destin Plastic Surgery is recognized for its depth and expertise in each of the services offered, the practice is best known for Dr. Burden’s and Dr. Ennis’s surgical results. Surgeons from the United States and Europe have visited the facility to observe their surgeries. They are experts in face, breast, and body procedures. Their unique approach to minimally invasive surgery techniques sets them apart from other surgeons.
“Our facility is unique. Very few plastic surgery facilities have the depth of services offered at Destin Plastic Surgery, not to mention we have a fully accredited and licensed multispecialty surgery center under one roof.” Dr. Burden continues, “We have pursued excellence and it has paid off. People travel from around the region and the world to see us for all kinds of treatments—from skincare for pretty faces to LATISSE® for longer, thicker lashes; from BOTOX® for facial wrinkles to Restylane® for fuller lips; and from reconstructive surgery of the face and breasts to cosmetic surgery for face, breast, and body!”
Destin Plastic Surgery’s “No Scar on the Breast” augmentation uses a remote incision under the arm to place the breast implant. They are one of a few practices that are able to perform this procedure using both saline and the new silicone memory gel implants. Dr. Burden initially performed this procedure in 1994, when very few surgeons had the expertise or ability to do so. To date, Dr. Burden has performed over five thousand of these procedures: few surgeons in the United States can match his experience. Dr. Burden has published and presented articles at national conferences regarding endoscopic
breast augmentation and reconstruction with silicone and saline implants. Both Dr. Burden and Dr. Ennis are appointed to the International Physicians Advisory Board for Mentor Corporation, which is a worldwide leader in breast implant and reconstruction technology. Selection into this group is based on volume and experience in breast enhancement surgery. This elite group advises Mentor Corporation on their latest product development and practice management systems. Additionally, Mentor has selected them to be involved in the LEAD program. Only twenty-five plastic surgeons out of ten thousand nationwide are selected for this elite group. Advanced techniques in facial surgery have propelled the practice to the forefront. Dr. Burden performed the first endoscopic (minimal scar) brow lift in Northwest Florida in 1995. He had previously performed the first such procedure at the University of Florida in 1994. Very few surgeons can match his experience with minimal scar facial surgery.
Experience, results, and continued pursuit of excellence—just some of the reasons people travel from around the world to Destin Plastic Surgery. Dr. William Burden
Dr. Ennis has also mastered this technique to establish himself as an experienced facial surgeon whom patients seek out. “Facial surgery has become a specialty for us because of the minimal incision techniques that we use.” Dr. Ennis explains, “The endoscopic brow lift is an advanced procedure only a minority of plastic surgeons are able to perform proficiently. It allows patients to receive needed surgery for both cosmetic and reconstructive reasons without having a large scar across the top of the scalp and the loss of hair that was common with the older techniques. We enhance the appearance without giving a pulled, stretched, and unnatural look.” Dr. Ennis has attended international and national conferences on hair transplantation. He has formed an experienced team to provide superior outcomes to men and women seeking hair transplantation. Together, Dr. Ennis and Dr. Burden have achieved remarkable results with many happy patients.
Although Dr. Burden and Dr. Ennis oversee the functions of the office and perform the plastic surgery procedures, many other professionals are involved in the facility. Bill Edelman, PA-C, is a certified physician’s assistant who works under the supervision of the doctors. Mr. Edelman is one of the most experienced providers of BOTOX® Cosmetic and JUVÉDERM® in the United States. He has personally performed over fifteen thousand treatments. Patients travel from around the country specifically to have him administer their treatments. Due to his vast experience and the expertise with which he administers the injections, Destin Plastic Surgery has been distinguished as a Black Diamond provider by Allergan Corporation, the makers of BOTOX® Cosmetic. Black Diamond status designates the office as being in the top one percent in the entire country for volume and experience with BOTOX® Cosmetic and JUVÉDERM®. Additionally, Destin Plastic Surgery has been designated as a national physicians training center by Allergan. Dr. Burden is one of only
Dr. L Scott Ennis
a few physicians in the country who have been qualified to lecture on BOTOX®, JUVÉDERM®, and LATISSE®. The consultation experience is also unique. The charting and photographic system, which is all computerized, was set up by Dr. Burden in 1995. Since that time, the upgrades have included 3D imaging to help patients understand the surgery and potential results. Destin Plastic Surgery is the only practice to have two VECTRA 3D imaging systems with plans to add a third machine with their expansion in 2012. “Communication is so very important.” Dr. Burden emphasizes, “People are very visual and need pictures and images to convey information to them. This makes the consultation process much more interactive and satisfying for patients. They also love the ‘before and after’ pictures that we generate for them!” Experience, results, and continued pursuit of excellence—just some of the reasons people travel from around the world to Destin Plastic Surgery. 77
spoil yourself naturally
www.portofinoisland.com 877.262.9930 81
P e n s a c o l a O p e r a ’s S e v e n t h A n n u a l
Jukebox Gala B
lend the sophistication of opera and musical theatre with the spirited charm of a live jukebox and it makes for a magical, one-of-a-kind event—like the Seventh Annual Jukebox Gala held at New World Landing in downtown Pensacola on Saturday, September 19, 2011. Hosted by the Pensacola Opera, the signature fundraising event raised $40,000 with all proceeds earmarked to support Pensacola’s mission to enrich the culture of Northwest Florida by producing professional opera performances, educational programs, and other opera-related community events for people of all ages, interests, and backgrounds. Founded in the early 1980s and having celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2008, the Pensacola Opera had humble beginnings but now finds its home in the beautifully restored, historic 1800-seat Saenger Theatre in downtown Pensacola. For most fundraising dinners, the premise is usually the same: a donation to attend, a silent auction to bid on some personal luxury one might take pleasure in, a cocktail and/or dinner to enjoy while talking to fellow patrons, a live auction for some big ticket items, and then depart. One might leave the event feeling good because the money spent was hopefully going toward some good, charitable cause. Walking through the doors of the New World Landing in downtown Pensacola on Saturday, September 19, 2011, everything appeared to be standard operating procedure—check in, peel and paste the name tag, find the table, and then mingle. It was a large meeting room: on one side of the room, at least thirty, eightperson dining tables with attention focused on a small stage, and a gorgeous black Steinway grand piano nestled into the center of the mix;
on the other side of the room, a long, undulating train of cloth-covered tables displaying the silent auction items. Again, aside from the fact that the auction items were songs, nothing appeared that unusual. But there was something different about this fundraiser. Patrons appeared unusually happy for attending a fundraiser—with a look in their eyes like they were actually looking forward to the evening’s events. Everyone in the room knew something really great was about to happen. This was no ordinary fundraiser. It is called the Jukebox Gala because guests determine the evening’s musical lineup as they bid on popular selections from opera and musical theatre. With over sixty songs to choose from, the atmosphere was intense with friendly competition as each guest hoped their bid would be tops.
Fifteen minutes before dinner, an announcement was made that the bids were closed. As if putting a coin in the slot, the jukebox was now in play. Before long, gala chair Anna Bertolucci and gala vice-president Andrea Arnof welcomed guests, thanked them for coming, and declared that the evening would not disappoint. And, to get the ball rolling, a three-set operatic preview was introduced. Suddenly, two people stood from different dining tables within the room and took strategic positions among the seated guests. The piano began to play and, within seconds, their powerful voices were belting out an amazing performance of La traviata by Verdi. The initial reaction, at least for me, was goose bumps. Here was a first-rate operatic experience, performed not in the anonymity of a darkened theatre with a few thousand people, but at an intimate
wine dinner. Still somewhat bewildered, the audience almost did not even realize what unfolded next. An attractive woman with regal posture stood up from her seat, took a few steps toward the grand piano, and, with a heavenly voice, sang an impressive selection from Madama Butterfly. She then took her seat as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Itâ€™s hard not to take notice of someone at your dinner table after something like that. The third and final set of the preview was a stunning quartet from Rigoletto performed by artists Jane Redding, Elise Quagliata, Tyler Smith, and Kenneth Overton. 83
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And, so the night continued. During the salad course, the main course, and on to dessert, some of the best operatic voices in the country obliged and amazed. Just as the wines were paired with each course, so were the song selections. From the classic “The Impossible Dream” to the lively “My Favorite Things,” there was something for every music connoisseur to enjoy or novice to discover. Hearing these powerful and smooth vocals in such an intimate setting was literally a feast for the senses—all of them.
It was interesting to learn that several of the artists performing were actually married couples, some of whom are local residents. Husband and wife Howard Reddy and Hanan Tarabay of Gulf Breeze were two of my favorites of the night. Mr. Reddy sang an incredibly moving performance of “Danny Boy,” and Ms. Tarabay a powerful rendition of “Habañera” from the opera Carmen. They sang other greats beautifully, performing some together, including “I Have Dreamed” from The King and I. Other featured artists from the event included: Sheila Murphy, Betsy Uschkrat, Roderick George, and Blake Riley, who played the piano.
114 Logan Lane, Suite 4 • Grayton Beach, FL 32459 p: 850.231.3087 • f: 850.231.3089
The Jukebox Gala is not just another fundraiser. It is a cultural experience and a privilege to be savored. Many in attendance gained a newfound appreciation for opera. No matter your background, you are sure to enjoy it. For a schedule of events or more information, call 850.433.6737, or visit www.pensacoloaopera.com.
Portofino Wine Club
Discover new wines, develop your palate and enjoy world-class wines at importer prices. Wine Education and Monthly Wine Tastings Featured Wines at Special Discounted Prices Free Wine Delivery to Your Sky Home
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T H E BL UE ANG E LS
eferred to as “The Cradle of Naval Aviation,” Pensacola is home to the first United States Naval Air Station. Every U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviator begins his or her training at NAS Pensacola. NAS Pensacola is also home to the National Naval Aviation Museum and the legendary Blue Angels—the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration team. The world’s oldest formal aerobatic team, the Blue Angels have performed for nearly half a million people around the world since forming in 1946. The Blue Angels perform at air shows throughout the United States during each annual air show season. Their mission is to assist in Navy and Marine Corps recruiting efforts and to showcase the combat aviation capability of the U.S. Navy. The Blue Angels fly the F/A-18 Hornet, which currently serves as the primary fighter
and attack aircraft of both the Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. The Blue Angels operate six F/A-18C single-seat aircraft and one F/A18B two-seat aircraft. The two-seater serves as a backup aircraft and is used to provide demonstration rides to VIPs and the media. The Hornet, a powerful and highly maneuverable aircraft, operates from U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. The Hornet is unique in its ability to dogfight with enemy aircraft and strike enemy ground targets during the same mission without having to land and rearm or reconfigure. The Hornet has a long and successful combat history beginning in Libya during the late 1980s and continuing through to the present day in Afghanistan. The Hornets, flown by the Blue Angels, are former fleet aircraft with slight modifications—their cannons have been replaced by
smoke-oil tanks and an additional fuel pump has been added, which allows for longer periods of inverted flight. The control system has also been modified to allow for more precise formation flying. One of the best ways to experience the Blue Angels is to watch a morning practice aboard one of Portofino’s Blue Angels Cruises. During the show season, the Blue Angels practice over NAS Pensacola and Pensacola Beach on most Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. These practice shows can easily be viewed from the resort’s 63-foot catamaran, the Portofino I. For more information on the Blue Angels and the National Naval Aviation Museum, visit blueangels.navy.mil or navalaviationmuseum.org.
A Sweet 16 to Remember
Flashing lights. South Beach style. A celebrity DJ. These elements together conjure up images of a swanky affair in a Miami nightclub. For a sweet sixteen party, crepe paper and balloons might seem more ordinary. Victoria Tubbs, however, is no ordinary sixteen-year-old, and she wanted an event to reflect that.
Inspired by MTV’s My Super Sweet 16, Janet Tubbs wanted to throw a birthday bash to rival the rest for her only daughter, Victoria. “We always said we would have a big sweet sixteen because you’re sixteen only once,” said Tubbs. “Victoria is our only daughter, so we wanted her to have a beautiful, lasting memory. Why not do something for her and her guests to remember always and talk about forever?”
Tubbs began planning the elaborate affair a full year before Victoria’s sixteenth birthday. After researching several event venues, she became increasingly disappointed with the restrictions placed upon her in the planning process at other local venues. Then she discovered Portofino. “Portofino had the look we were seeking,” said Tubbs. “However, I did not know just what they could do with the actual location. I was
blown away after Amy Luna (sales manager for the Portofino team) explained to me not only what had been done in the past, but what could be done.” Swept off their feet with the notion of complete party-planning freedom, the Tubbs family immediately booked the venue to accommodate a guest list of approximately three hundred high school sophomores. The
mother-daughter duo wanted the event designed to incorporate Victoria’s favorite color, pink, and the setting embellished with stars to capture the look of a nightclub—a “South Beach Meets Pensacola Beach” theme. Tubbs, Luna, Megan McLemore (Portofino’s events manager), Showtime Events, and Victoria joined forces to creatively execute Victoria’s vision. The evening of Victoria’s sweet sixteen finally arrived: the stage was set for an event befitting a true princess. White chiffon drapes covered lounge areas and flapped softly in the evening breeze. Bubbles floated through the open air as guests arrived to the semiformal event. The sunset, a vibrant pink on the evening of Victoria’s birthday party, stunningly matched the decor of the Portofino event. Victoria, dressed in a beautiful gown, arrived at sunset aboard the Portofino I to the light of shooting sparklers and the sound of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story.” The lucky attendees were treated to celebrity DJ, Pauly D, and a dance floor, an expansive buffet spread (complete with candy table and pink chocolate fountain), a photo booth, a palm-reading gypsy, and a henna tattoo artist. After the sun dipped below the horizon, green, yellow, and pink lights lit up the pool and the DJ’s booth as a larger-than-life screen flashed stunning images of the sixteen-year-old beauty. Then Pauly D arrived to guest DJ for ninety minutes around the pool at Portofino. Before his performance, the Portofino staff had arranged a meet and greet in a private room for Victoria and a select few to meet the MTV celebrity. Later, Victoria was even invited into the DJ booth with him, sharing his signature fist pump with him the entire time. 90
“We really didn’t have to worry about a thing. It was simply amazing.”
Victoria’s dreamlike night ended with a celebratory fireworks show in honor of the birthday girl, her favorite part of the event. The Portofino team took special care to accommodate the belle of the ball throughout the evening. “Megan was always on hand, asking if Victoria had eaten anything or had anything to drink—this is how detailed and aware Portofino is,” described Tubbs. “They brought water and food to our rooms after the event. They even carried all her gifts to her room. We really didn’t have to worry about a thing. It was simply amazing.” “Portofino was just so accommodating,” Tubbs continued. “Amy and Megan are a super team. They would have made anything happen at a moment’s notice.” Tubbs couldn’t be more grateful for the personal touches the Portofino staff put on both the event planning and the execution, making the sweet sixteen party even sweeter.
Portofino Island Resort
where only nature goes unspoiled Book with Premier and your Portofino Island vacation includes the following features worth over $750.
• Complimentary welcome gift • Complimentary round of golf daily • Complimentary dolphin cruises* • Complimentary beach chair setup for two • Complimentary Fitness Center access • Discounts at our Premier Boardwalk locations: Laguna’s, Envie, Salty Beach Outfitters and The Wine Bar
• Discounts on food & beverage, bikes, kayaks, paddle boards, wave runners, Adventure Cove Water Park, Kids Club and much more • Complimentary catamaran cruise to the Portofino Boardwalk • Complimentary customized vacation planning • The opportunity to earn complimentary nights *Available seasonally
PORTOFINO REAL MEETINGS
“Without a doubt, it’s a beautiful piece of property, but what made the real difference were the staff and their attention to every detail.”
When business and pleasure meet at Portofino Island Resort, elements of work and play easily mingle in an atmosphere that inspires productivity while fostering fun and relaxation. Starting with a stunning beach property, Portofino’s fully engaged team uses a wideopen menu of activities and services to plan and produce signature events. Business guests, therefore, are first attracted to the resort for what they see, but they return for all of the intangibles—many of which exist behind the scenes—that make the total experience a complete success. With more than twenty years of event planning experience, Elizabeth Loving initially became acquainted with Portofino while performing a Google search for nearby resorts. Loving, who is the executive assistant to the president and COO for Austal, manages events for the global shipbuilding company, which has its U.S. headquarters in Mobile. Just two weeks away from a Wednesday-through-Sunday executive leadership strategy meeting, she received a last-minute phone call: her confirmed reservation with another resort could not be honored because the venue was overbooked. Complicating matters, Austal’s meeting was to take place during the Fourth of July week. The original venue wanted her party to arrive later and depart earlier, or shift the dates of her time-sensitive meeting for busy executives. Revising the calendar seemed less practical than attempting to find another location, so Loving began looking online. Portofino’s sales manager, Amy Luna, responded quickly with a solution. “Portofino shuffled and maneuvered to make it happen,” says Loving. “Without a doubt, it’s a beautiful piece of property, but what made the real difference were the staff and their attention to every detail.” From staging a condo as a boardroom to recommending and coordinating
the live entertainment, the teamwork among Portofino’s staff impressed Loving. “They were well organized and worked wonderfully together. Everything was in place, and when I wanted to reach different staff members, they were a phone call away.” Loving adds that, in her experience, key contacts tend to “disappear” when attendees arrive on a resort and the big event starts to unfold, but the opposite occurred at Portofino. “During our pre-briefing,” she explains, “I was loaded up with every possible contact number. Also, while my group was there, all of the staff knew who we were, why we were there, and what we were scheduled to do.” Relying on Portofino’s own resources and the team’s extensive Pensacola connections, Loving took advantage of the resort as well as the local community for Austal’s meals, meetings, activities, and entertainment. “The Portofino group helped me book every item and then acted as my liaison and point of contact,” says Loving. “They followed through to make sure all parties were on time and ready to go. Other resorts do not go out of their way in that manner to support outside or offsite services.” Portofino also ensured that the meeting attendees and their families had plenty of fun outside of work. The resort planned an array of activities for the spouses and children of the executive team, including private painting parties, a floppy-hat luncheon, margarita tastings, a spa party, and an ultimate beach day complete with private cabanas and an adventure theme for the kids. There were also additional group activities for the executive team to relax and enjoy with their families: a dessert and fireworks cruise; a music-and-BBQ bonfire; and a luau, complete with flame throwers and hula dancers.
Following the success of her first Portofino event, Loving booked a larger, early fall meeting with forty-two corporate personnel and their families. “The weather was still warm and beautiful with plenty to enjoy,” she says. “Families loved all that the beach had to offer, the dolphin cruise, and Portofino I (the catamaran), which connects guests to the Portofino Boardwalk and everything else around. We also had the trolley for transportation. With so much to do, I didn’t have to manufacture fun or force activities on anyone.” The intimate yet spacious feel of the resort also suited Austal’s corporate family gathering. “We rented forty-two units that were dispersed among the five towers, so we did not feel that we were on top of one another,” Loving says. At the same time, no one roamed about anonymously. “The personal atmosphere was remarkably inviting and unique,” says Loving. “The staff greeted us by name.” In the final assessment, Loving reports that her corporate colleagues and their families highly praised the experience and looked forward to their next stay at Portofino. “Everyone made great comments about service—from the restaurants to poolside,” she says. “We received not one complaint, and that’s hard to achieve with forty-two families.” Balancing business and pleasure isn’t always easy, but a supportive team makes the job far less stressful and more enjoyable for the event planner, even one used to pulling all-nighters during important corporate functions. Grateful for the help, Loving says, “If for any reason I couldn’t be present, I would have complete peace of mind that my group would be in great hands.”
THE EVERETTS— H A P P I LY E V E R A F T E R
Unlike most couples, Eric and Wendy Everett were lucky enough to be high school and college sweethearts. They both graduated from Mosley High School and then Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City before going their separate ways. When they parted, Wendy went off to finish school at the University of West Florida in 1987, while Eric graduated from the University of Florida in 1989 and moved on to graduate school at SMU in Dallas, Texas. Wendy and Eric were miles apart living separate lives, but when their twenty-fifth high school reunion rolled around, fate stepped in. the couple perfectly. The Sound was the ideal backdrop for the wedding party and a beautiful view for the guests as well. The ceremony was officiated by Wendy and Eric’s old friend, Tom Sharron, a Methodist minister.
The reunion was in Panama City, where Wendy and Eric had both grown up. Neither of them had had any desire to attend previous reunions and, to this day, cannot explain the magnetic draw of this one. Excited and nervous, they both attended the twenty-fifth reunion eager to see if the spark was still there.
The casual reception was held both inside and outside Terracotta Restaurant on the different pool deck levels. Wendy and Eric agreed that the band, Hulon and the On Call Band, was the best part of the reception. Although they are a jazz and R&B band, Hulon played a surprise saxophone serenade of George Strait’s “Carried Away” for the bride and groom’s first dance while guests mingled, enjoying the food, wine, and music.
The rest is history. After spending twenty-two years apart, this special couple was finally reunited and married. With the help of Portofino, they were able to enjoy an intimate celebration and a true reunion of families. “Our wedding was very unique in that our families were not strangers to one another. As high school and college sweethearts in Panama City, our families and friends were intertwined,” said Wendy. Most of the wedding party had gone to school with Eric and Wendy. The couple even displayed their senior prom photo from 1985 to show their long-standing history with one another. Wendy and Eric agreed that their best memories of the entire wedding weekend are the fun and loving moments spent reuniting with old friends and introducing new ones into the fold. Before moving to Texas in March of 2011, Wendy had lived in Gulf Breeze for twentyfour years; Eric had stayed in Texas after finishing up at SMU, and he missed the Florida beaches. Since their love story had begun in Florida, they decided there was nowhere else they would rather say their vows. The wedding took place on a breezy Sunday afternoon on the ninth of October at the resort. “First of all, Portofino Island Resort is beautiful,” said Wendy. “Having lived in the area for years, I watched Portofino being built and was extremely impressed. Since our wedding, we now personally own one of the units, and our children love every opportunity to visit and enjoy the facilities and, of course, the beach.”
“Everyone involved in this wedding made the day special. Portofino planned and coordinated the wedding and reception perfectly. Their staff even helped monitor our 8-year-old son during the reception. When the reception was down to just family and a few friends, he wanted to watch football, so the bartender set him up in a comfy spot. Portofino’s staff kept everyone so happy.”
Keeping her beach wedding in mind, Wendy chose a full-length halter dress in ivory taffeta with lightly scattered beading. Bridesmaids wore long black taffeta dresses and the flower girl, Wendy’s 6-year-old daughter, wore a matching ivory taffeta gown with a black ribbon around the waist. The wedding was held at Portofino’s main pool area, the guests seated facing the Santa Rosa Sound. The ceremony took place under a white arch draped with a gorgeous arrangement of coral orchids and calla lilies which framed
“As many people know, planning a wedding long distance can sometimes not go so well. Thanks to Portofino, this wasn’t so in our case,” Wendy said. “From 550 miles away, our wedding, the reception, and all the other things were handled exceptionally well. The wedding was low key, informal, fun, energetic, and filled with lots of smiles, hugs, and kisses.” Looking back, Wendy’s favorite moment of the day was saying “I do” to the most wonderful person in her life. She wholeheartedly believes in the saying—“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours; if it doesn’t, it never was.” After their exchange of vows on a beautiful October day, Wendy now knows that Eric is hers forever.
MEET THE PRO
keep players cool through the hottest months of summer,” he says.
Gorgeous at first glance in its secluded, coastal setting, Portofino Island’s tennis program follows through with a superior facility helmed by a world-class pro. Five Hydro-Clay courts, a well-appointed pro shop, a ball machine, racquet repair, and programs led by an international titleholder not only draw serious players to the resort year-round, but the total package also serves those who simply seek fun and exercise. For starters, Portofino’s tennis pro, Arthur Anastopoulo, has competed against the world’s top-ranked players as the former national tennis champion of Greece. Although he was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, and held the number one spot on the University of South Carolina’s tennis team, Anastopoulo had the talent and the heritage (both of his parents are Greek) to catch the attention of the Greek consulate. Learning that attempts to recruit him were no joke, Anastopoulo accepted an offer to represent the Athens Club for four years. Upon returning home, he earned respect as the director of tennis for the City of Charleston, which gave him the key to the city. Named one of the nation’s top twenty-five tennis directors by Reebok sporting goods, Anastopoulo went on to 98
The friendly sense of community is another notable quality of Portofino’s tennis program. “We have established women’s and men’s teams from our local residents, and regularly invite guests to participate,” Anastopoulo explains. “We pride ourselves on having a strong matching service, and our tennis team members are happy for the opportunity to make new acquaintances.” The tennis staff arranges singles, mixed doubles, and doubles matches according to an individual’s level of play. If a match is not available, then the pros are ready to stand in. Throughout the year, the tennis program offers group and individualized services for beginners to seasoned athletes. Portofino’s pros, who are USPTA certified, conduct private lessons, drills, adult clinics, junior programs, and junior tennis camps. Those seeking a more intensive experience can undergo performance diagnostics and, if recommended, actual treatments by taking advantage of Portofino’s reciprocal friendship with the world-renowned Andrews Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Center in Gulf Breeze. In fact, professional athletes of various sports frequently find a home at Portofino during offseason training and while undergoing physical therapy and recovery.
serve as tennis director for the City of Macon, Georgia, and, after, for Holley by the Sea in Navarre, Florida. Joining Portofino’s team in 2010, Anastopoulo is amused when quizzed about his life. Although his past is colorful, he is currently focused on delivering an exceptional tennis experience at Portofino. Whether a guest craves a full schedule of tennis or just an hour or two on the courts, Anastopoulo and his staff begin by extending a warm, unpretentious welcome with an invitation for all levels and ages to join right in. Complimentary to owners and Premier Club guests, the courts are ideally situated on the property. “At many resorts, the tennis pavilion is too far away to reach without transportation,” says Anastopoulo. “Our courts are close to everything, so when you see an opening, you can walk right over to play.” The policy is first come, first served most of the year, but reservations are recommended in June and July. Additionally, having traveled worldwide to play at the finest clubs, Anastopoulo still finds himself captivated by the serene views of water and sand from Portofino’s courts. “Being as close as we are to the water, the breezes also
For the pure pleasure of the sport, Portofino loves to host special tennis event days. Among the most popular is an Adult Doubles Mini Camp, a three-day tennis weekend offered four times per year: in April, May, October, and November. The weekend begins on Friday evening with a wine and cheese gathering and closes with a champagne awards ceremony on Sunday. In between, participants get busy with drills and a round-robin doubles competition—all in good spirit. “It’s a social occasion, and most players come with family or friends,” says Anastopoulo. “Because the weather is cooler and we’re less crowded, the shoulder seasons of spring and fall are perfect for enjoying the beach and all of our amenities.” Clearly one of Portofino’s biggest fans, Anastopoulo sees himself as incredibly fortunate and takes his responsibilities to heart. As one of only five distinguished members inducted into the Order of American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame, class of 2011, he is committed to ensuring that his reputation and, ultimately, that of the Tennis Center continue to reflect positively on the resort. “It’s up to me to relay expertise and to give guests a first-class experience that they would not have elsewhere,” he says.
Beach Workout Breakdown
With Portofino Fitness Director Jessica Mulligan, MS, CSCS
beach workout has many benefitsâ€”the beautiful view,
the sound of the waves crashing, the fresh salt air, and the feeling of sand between your toes are invigorating in and of themselves. But what has vacationers running down to the shore for their beach workouts is discovering that they will burn 20 to 50 percent more calories in the sand than they will in the gym. A beach workout increases the intensity and the dynamics of each exercise. The sand creates an environment that is unstable and, therefore, increases the activity of stabilizing muscles in the lower extremities, pushing you to balance, take it slow, and practice good formâ€”all factors for a great workout. Here is a breakdown of my best tips for the perfect beach workout. 1
We are made to move. Walking is great exercise and helps strengthen your cardiovascular system as it increases the heart rate into target heart rate zones of 65 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate (Max HR). Walking in the sand is easier on the joints (the impact is not as great), harder than on a treadmill or pavement (you have more resistance), and burns more calories. 101
apart than shoulder width. Place your toes or knees on the sand, and try to create a perfect diagonal with your body, from the shoulders to the knees or feet. Keep the glutes and abdominals engaged. Then lower and lift your body by bending and straightening your elbows, keeping your torso stable throughout.
Whether you’re a beginner, an exercise veteran, a walker, or an aerobic dancer, adding interval training to your cardiovascular workout will boost your fitness level and help you lose weight. Learning about your Max HR, or the maximal number of heartbeats that your heart can pump effectively through exercise stress, is beneficial. Max HR is dependent upon age; in general, the formula for figuring Max HR is 220 minus your age. Thus, a twenty-year-old’s Max HR is 200 and a seventy-year-old’s is 150. Interval training works at intensities of 65 to 85 percent of your Max HR. Bring your heart rate into your 65 percent heart rate zone and sustain for a minute or two, and then increase your intensity to 85 percent of your Max HR; sustain for a minute, then back down for two to ten minutes, depending on how long your total workout will be and how much time you need to recover. Continue doing this throughout the workout.
Like squats, lunges work all the major muscles of the lower body: glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. A lunge is a great exercise because it mimics walking. Lunges are a bit more advanced than squats, helping to improve your balance as well, especially in the sand, so take it slow and focus on form. To execute a lunge correctly: Take a large step forward, keeping your spine in a neutral position. Bend your front knee to approximately ninety degrees, focusing on keeping weight on the toes of the back foot and dropping the knee of your back leg toward the floor. To make a lunge even more functional, try stepping not just forward, but also back and out to each side.
For a standard crunch, begin by lying on your back with feet flat on the sand and fingertips supporting your head. Press your lower back down and begin the exercise by contracting abdominals and peeling first your head (tucking your chin slightly), then your neck, shoulders, and upper back off the floor.
Keep in mind that you won’t get a flat stomach with crunches alone. Be careful not to pull your neck forward by sticking the chin out; don’t hold your breath; and keep elbows out of your line of vision to keep chest and shoulders open. Exhale as if you are trying to fog a mirror or flatten a tire during the crunch. Try this to see how much your abdominals contract.
Squats, which work the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes (rear-end muscles), are an excellent example of a strength training exercise that targets multiple muscle groups. You can do these anywhere, but make sure you have the proper form: shoulders over heels over toes—a straight line should be able to be drawn through these three points. I also tell my clients to sit back as if they are sitting in a chair, and I often put chairs behind them to help with form and to keep their weight in their heels. To increase the intensity, take it to a squat jump. 102
If done correctly, the push-up can strengthen the chest, shoulders, triceps, and even the core trunk muscles, all at the same time. Anytime you have the pelvis and the core (abdominals and back) in a suspended position, you have to rely on your own inherent strength to stabilize you. Push-ups can be done at any level of fitness. If you are a beginner, start by pushing from the height of a kitchen counter. Then work your way to a desk, a chair, the floor or sand with bent knees, and, finally, the floor or sand on your toes. For the perfect beach push-up: From a facedown position, place your hands slightly farther
Crunches can be excellent, but if they’re not done correctly, with the back arching, they can weaken the abdominals. To work the obliques (the muscles on the sides of your waist), take the standard crunch and rotate the spine toward one side as you curl. Twist before you come up. It’s really important that the twist comes first, because then it’s the obliques that are actually getting you off the ground. Keep in mind that you won’t get a flat stomach with crunches alone. Burning belly fat requires a good diet, eating within your daily
range, and burning calories through exercise. If you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight. And if you both burn and consume the same number of calories, your weight stays the same. Crunches work the abdominal muscles but are not to be mistaken as exercise that burns the fat over the abs. That is the biggest exercise myth.
Back extensions work the lower back and help strengthen the muscles supporting the spine to improve posture. Lie on your stomach on a beach towel with your arms to the sides and palms facing your legs, keeping your shoulders retracted back. Keep your head and neck in alignment with your spine at all times. Starting with the head and upper back, lift your spine one segment at a time until your chest comes off the ground. Return slowly to the starting position.
Beach workout tips: • Bring a towel and water bottle to your beach workout. • Take breaks to stay hydrated. • Take a much-deserved dip in the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico when you’ve completed your best beach workout!
Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico to the south and the Santa Rosa Sound to the north, Portofino Island Resort lures anglers of all levels to its lucky waters. Itâ€™s no secret that Mother Nature has created an idyllic habitat for a bounty of sea life and species, and even novices readily catch delicacies like red snapper. For the most rewarding experience on the water, however, it helps to embark with some inside tips from Portofinoâ€™s experienced sea captains. 104
Today’s typical charter boat captains might not resemble the classic salty dogs of yesteryear, but their expertise probably meets or exceeds that of their well-weathered counterparts. The secret that most local captains won’t often admit is that 90 percent of the best fishing happens within ten miles of the shore. But, no matter where the fish are biting on any given day, the average cruising speed of Portofino’s fishing boats is forty to fifty miles per hour, so crews reach their destination quickly for maximum fishing time.
With boats in the fleet ranging from nineteen to twenty-seven feet, Portofino’s fishing charters accommodate up to four people per boat. Taking out multiple boats and keeping them together can also help manage larger parties. This allows the landlubbers of the group to return early while the others continue to fish. The goal is to make each trip exciting and comfortable for everyone on board. In the spirit of creating the ultimate experience for guests, Portofino charters cater to all
kinds of personal preferences. From stocking the boat with favorite foods and beverages by Portofino’s restaurants to providing individualized assistance with instructions on and off the water, our captains and mates are ready with services and ideas. Everything is done for you or, if you prefer, you can be shown how to do whatever you want to learn. Fish cleaning, for instance, is part of the service, and a chef may be arranged to prepare your catch for your dinner. If you’re more handson, let the crew teach you how to scale and 105
fillet your own fish, and then you can take a private cooking lesson from the chef. While an “all fishing” vacation with special requests should be planned ahead to ensure absolute satisfaction, daily charters are easy to book. Portofino provides everything, including tackle, but guests may bring their own gear. A fishing license is not needed. Since fishing is seasonal, here are some guidelines for the most popularly sought species of the region: In February through March, redfish and sheepshead are prevalent. Both are flavorful. If doubtful about sheepshead, which will not win any beauty contests, skeptics should know that the finest local restaurants feature the fish on their menus as “bay snapper.” Late March through early May marks the season for cobia, a local favorite. The sight-fish technique is recommended for cobia using light tackle. Red snapper run from June through August. There’s no better place in the world to fish red snapper. In August and September, amberjack are plentiful. During the fall, the redfish fishery is extraordinary. Gag grouper is also caught both inshore and offshore. From pre-spring through late fall, it’s Portofino’s pleasure to assist guests of all ages and know-how who come out to enjoy Pensacola’s waters and fish.
The official magazine of Portofino Island Resort in Pensacola Beach, Florida.