The SanCap Chamber marked a major milestone in recovery efforts on Sanibel Island with a ribbon-cutting at Sanibel Island Beach Resort Friday, Sep. 22, at 1231 Middle Gulf Drive. It is the first large coastal resort to open all its guest rooms, a total of 98.

All rooms, the lobby, and resort restaurant were destroyed by Hurricane Ian nearly a year earlier, and required entire gutting, rebuilding, furnishing, and new air-conditioning. Although the restaurant was unable to open by ribbon-cutting time, the pool tiki bar was nearly finished, and the resort has placed a brand-new food truck on the premises. It serves light food, including breakfast, until BRGR Kitchen & Bar opens in the restaurant space, anticipated by Christmas 2023, says Andy Berger, vice president of operations for Ocean Properties Hotels & Resorts.

“What a joyful occasion to be able to offer island visitors more coastal accommodations,” said John Lai, president and CEO of the SanCap Chamber. “We anticipate it will be a game-changer as we pivot from rebuilding to recovery mode.”

“Obviously people like John Lai have been very supportive, doing anything he could do to help,” said Berger. “All the governments helped too with hurdles to push us along to this point. The good thing is we’re based in Florida with a large amount of hotels and lots of internal building or renovating going on. We have a good team that was able to get over there with the ability to work quickly.”

Ocean Properties Hotel & Resorts, based in Delray Beach, Fla., owns and operates Sanibel Island Beach Resort and about 100 hotels in the U.S. and Canada. It bought the property as a Holiday Inn about seven years ago, Berger estimates, and renamed it once that franchise ran out. With the reopening, it rebranded Sanibel Island Beach Resort as part of its new Ocean Breeze Inns collection of hotels.

Chamber and city officials attended the ribbon-cutting, celebrating with champagne, cake, and a tour of the rooms.

“John and his team have been remarkable in assisting us,” said Berger. “It’s obviously devastating what happened over there, and the quicker they can get more businesses open, the quicker they can bring life back to the island.”

“We thank you for giving us the hope we so desperately needed,” Lai told the resort team at the ribbon-cutting.


The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting the prosperity of its members and preserving the quality of life of our community. The Chamber plays a key role in facilitating communication and cooperation between business, residents, and government to enhance the economic health of the islands. Its website,, receives over 1.3 million visits per year. For more information about the chamber, visit or contact John Lai, president and CEO, at 239-472-2348 or [email protected].