Casa Ybel Resort

Sanibel Island, Florida

We’re Number One!

January 12, 2012
BILL SCHILLER ( ) , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home, but sometimes, there’s good reason to brag. While the picturesque paradise that is Sanibel Island is well recognized by anyone who lives or works here, the community may attract a number of new admirers due to the release of several new reports that further herald Sanibel’s status as the most desirous of Florida destinations.

In a recent U.S. News & World Report ranking of the eight best beaches in Florida, Sanibel shined as the #1 spot. Neighboring communities like Naples (#2) and Fort Myers (#8) were included on the list. In accompanying text, travel writers said, “You’ll be hard-pressed to find a place in Florida with quieter and clamer shores than Sanibel Island.” Pleasant weather and low-cost lodging venues were credited with making Sanibel enjoyable all year long. Online media attached with the article also paid tribute to area attractions such as Captiva Island, the shops along Periwinkle Way, programs at Big Arts, Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The multimedia presentation is available on the Internet at

Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel secured distinction for itself in a Top 10 of Most Secluded Beaches as surveyed by principals of the popular travel website known as “ Bowman’s, which is located along a corridor of the San-Cap Road took top honors. It was regarded as a great place to find shells, but not a lot of competition from other shell collectors., which is reportedly the world’s most widely-used travel-related website, also recently announced their Top 15 U.S. Destinations for 2012. These were determined through a poll of TripAdvisor travelers and editors.

Fort Myers, which ranked in 3rd Place, was distinguished among the top vacation hot-spots. The accompanying text, however, regarded Sanibel and Captiva among the area’s top attractions.

Of course, Sanibel and Captiva remains first and foremost in the hearts and minds of so many who live here, but such polls have been shown to influence destination choices made by tourists. Given the degree that this community achieves favor in this kind of national reporting, locals may soon see even more visitors with which they can share their love of Sanibel.

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Shelling Sanibel: The Sanibel Stoop

As posted in USAToday’s travel section

Every professional travel writer, it seems, has a happy place, a destination where they return not so much to gather new material, but to unwind and relax. For me, that place is Sanibel Island, Florida.

My parents started taking us to Sanibel when I was a teenager. Eventually, they bought a condo there and now spend most of the winter on the Florida Gulf Coast. I’ve visited almost every year since I was 16; I love the area so much that I chose to get married on neighboring Captiva Island.

Sanibel’s claim to fame is the vast amount of shells that wash up on its beach every day. The island has an eco bent, and unlike other beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast, resorts and condo associations are forbidden from removing sea debris. That bothers some people, who don’t like seeing seaweed, horseshoe crab skeletons and other things that wash up (I’ve seen everything from starfish to sand dollars to an immense dead sea turtle). But for shellers, it’s paradise.

There’s even a name for the bent over posture of the people who you see walking the beach looking for treaures: The Sanibel Stoop.

The island has capitalized on its shelling reputation for more than a century. In the early 1900s, two of Sanibel’s first hotels, Casa Ybel and The Matthews, used to hold a competition for guests over who could find the best and rarest shell. Hallie “Granny” Matthews hosted the first Shell Show & Fair in her hotel lobby starting in the late 1920s, and by 1931, the event moved to the Sanibel Community Association’s (SCA) Community House.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Sanibel Shell Fair & Show. In honor of the anniversary, businesses and associations will be holding “Shellebration” activities around the island, including an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Record for number of people on a shell scavenger hunt.

The “flash Sanibel stoop,” so to speak, will take place at 10 a.m. on Feb. 17 at Bowman’s Beach. Anyone who participates will be sign their names and be immortalized in an aerial photo that will be sent to Guinness (the current record is 208 people).

If you’re still confused about what the Sanibel Stoop is, here’s a handy YouTube video that talks about how to do it. Happy shelling!

Shelling Sanibel: The Sanibel Stoop is a post from: Chris Around The World: A Journalist’s Travels on the Road

Long Time Employees and Co-Workers Promoted to Casa Ybel Resort Management Team

Casa Ybel Resort, a 23-acre full service resort off the coast of Southwest Florida’s Sanibel Island has promoted Lea O’Brien and Sean Ramsey to Event Coordinator and Restaurant Manager for its Thistle Lodge Beachfront Restaurant.

Since 2006, Lea O’Brien has co-supervised the Food & Beverage operations at Coconuts Poolside Bar and Grill and has been front and center to Casa Ybel Resort’s many annual visitors.  Lea’s guest service ability and attention to detail make her an excellent candidate for the Event Coordinator position. She will work closely with Casa Ybel’s clients and staff to coordinate every aspect of an event to make sure it runs smoothly and successfully.

Sean Ramsey who has been recently appointed Thistle Lodge Beachfront Restaurant Manager, is no  stranger to Casa Ybel’s Food & Beverage Department.  Having been one of its fine-dining servers since 2003 and later Dining Room Supervisor, Sean continues to share a wide-ranging  understanding of food, wine and its preparation.  With his prior role in providing the  premier Thistle Lodge experience and the  help of fellow management team members, Sean will  maintain Thistle Lodge Beachfront Restaurant’s reputation for Best Beachfront Dining on Sanibel Island. Both Sean and Lea will continue to work under the direction of Dennis Riley, Food & Beverage Director for Casa Ybel Resort.
According to Froilan Ramirez, General Manager of Casa Ybel Resort, “Both Lea and Sean have an excellent working knowledge of the Resort and its Food & Beverage Operations.   We are committed to continuously enhance the guest and owner experience.  Lea and Sean’s promotions reflect our commitment to our associates as well. They will complement our strong Casa Ybel Resort management team.”

2011 Turtle Nesting Season at Casa Ybel Resort

With each summer season on Sanibel Island there is growing anticipation for the moment the baby turtles hatch and crawl together to their ocean home by moonlight. The nesting begins in May and the hatching can continue into October. This year, along the Casa Ybel beach we were home to four different nests which each hold approximately one hundred eggs.  They were each marked off to give caution and awareness to beach-goers until the hatching.

Most of the baby turtles hatch from their eggs and with their combined movement and escape they are able to free themselves from the sand that is packed on top of them by their mother. Every morning during season, the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (or SCCF) volunteers go to each of the nests to inspect for activity.  If any turtle tracks are observed, the nests are inspected and counted.  If any baby hatchlings are left, they may need a little nudge and encouragement to make it out to sea. We were fortunate to have one of our nests hatch recently, and further, the opportunity to observe the volunteer inspect the nest to find that a few did need our help. 

As we cheered for the little turtles, we captured the exhausting experience of one little one to share with you.  The pictures we snapped from this event, and being a part of nature excited our staff and guests, and helped to bring us all together on this island that cares so much about preservation.  We can only hope that our little turtle returns some day to lay her own nest and continue that circle of life for us all.

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Sun and family fun abound on county’s beaches

As reported by Drew Winchester 5/31/11 Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Lee County has miles of pristine shoreline and family friendly beaches, offering the kind of outdoor opportunities that thrill nature enthusiasts and casual sun catchers alike.

By and large the beaches of Lee County offer the kind of family fun that attracts people from around the globe.

Some come to Lee County’s wonderful beaches and stick a toe in the water, or grab some sea shells, glide along the surf on a skim board or just sit in a chair with their favorite beverage while the sun sets in a fiery majesty over the Gulf of Mexico. And relax, you’re on beach time now!

The Beaches of Sanibel and Captiva

There are likely no more famous and renowned beaches in Lee County than those of the barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva.

People travel thousands of miles just to comb the sugar white sands for legendary sea shells like the Junonia on Sanibel Island, where the shores have been protected from high rise condos and developments that plague the sands on much of the east coast.

Residents and environmental enthusiasts have worked for years to keep those beaches – and the islands – protected, pushing hard make sure the island stayed as welcoming and pristine as it has for generations.

Lighthouse Beach might be Sanibel’s most iconic beach, due largely to the lighthouse that sits on the island’s southern tip.

Bowman’s Beach may be the island’s quietest beach. Situated toward Sanibel’s northern end, Bowman’s offers barbecue grills, outdoor showers and plenty of parking for families who want to enjoy the natural splendor.

Sanibel also offers sandy fun at Tarpon Bay beach, located at the south end of Tarpon Bay Road.

There is also ample, and free, parking along the causeway which leads to the island. Restroom facilities are also located along the causeway for family convenience.

Captiva is even more exclusive than Sanibel, but the beaches are just as beautiful and pristine.

Blind Pass Beach, or Turner Beach, offers a unique opportunity to visit both the Sanibel and Captiva side of the beach, as the two islands are separated by channel that was opened by a hurricane many years ago. Actually, locals struggle to keep that channel open from time to time, but sunworshippers, anglers and shellers alike are drawn to Blind Pass Beach to sample a truly tropical island experience.

Further north, Captiva Beach has limited parking but views of the sunset are spectacular, as well as the beach’s location to Captiva’s shopping and dining center, as well as a library and the Chapel By The Sea, a historic and scenic church just a stone’s throw from the white powder of Captiva Beach.

For more information visit

Coconuts Memorial Weekend Picnic Buffet


Memorial Weekend Picnic Buffet

Mark the start of Sanibel Island’s Summer vacation season at Casa Ybel Resort this Sunday May 29 from 11:30-4:00p at Coconuts! Enjoy items like made to order burgers, St. Louis Style Pork Spare Ribs, Buttery Corn Cobbettes and more!

Listen to Danny Morgan and friends from 1-4pm for cool tunes while sipping on cold drinks from our Coconuts Bar! See you there.

The team at Coconuts, at your service!