FORT MYERS, Fla. - We've watched downtown Fort Myers grow by leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. With more businesses, there are more people spending more money. And, they're looking to stay the night. The revitalization has made for a great year for hotels and spawned a whole new type of place to stay.
Next to the former Art of the Olympians floats a boat... or a hotel... or a "float-tel." Owner Peter Martin calls it "The Floating Condo."
"The feel of it when you walk in, it's boat-y but it's not boat-y," Martin said.
Martin and his wife lived here for a few years as they watched downtown Fort Myers grow.
"You have all the comforts of home," Martin said. "Full kitchen, washer and dryer so you don't have to leave. So many people would walk by and say oh, do you rent this? It's like no, we live on it. You live on it full-time?"
They realized their home could be a business. So, they opened "The Floating Condo" to guests. It's 750 square feet air conditioned, 800 square feet on the sun deck. "It is very very comfortable, definitely paradise," Martin said.
They're not the only ones feeling the river district ripple-effect.
"From last year to this year, you can double the numbers on what we've had last year and it's staying consistent," Kerry Reilly from the Legacy Harbour Hotel and Suites said.
They were ready for the typical, slower off-season. So far, it hasn't come.
"Since the revamping of downtown, we've done very well," Reilly said. "We see it slowly coming up, we've exceeded last year and the year before that, so there's a very big promise on what's going to happen in the near future."
According to Hotel Indigo's General Manager, this is the strongest summer they've had. They say downtown businesses have brought more guests to the hotel, and they are spending money with those same businesses.
"We know downtown is growing and we definitely want to be a part of it," Martin said.
If "The Floating Condo" gets a good enough response, Martin hopes to add more boats and create a fleet of float-tels. You can find out more at www.MyFloatingCondos.com.