Hospitality is something you feel. Sometimes you just can’t put your finger on it, but you know it’s there, and you know when it’s genuine … or not.
The New York Times writer Tajel Rao posed in a recent article, “Hospitality is both invisible and formidable — it surrounds you. You can find it at a rest stop on the highway, and miss it at the host stand of a fine-dining restaurant. You feel its presence, or you don’t.”
Midway between the cities of Fort Myers and Naples in Southwest Florida sits West Bay Club in Estero, where, as they say, “fairways, waterways, and beach days are everydays.” West Bay residents and members enjoy access to an abundance of amenities and activities, all in one postcard-perfect place. But what makes this 868-acre luxury community truly special is one thing … West Bay’s version of hospitality.
Tom Tripoli, general manager and chief operating officer at West Bay Club, explains his team’s mantra as: Today’s accomplishments are tomorrow’s expectations. “What we accomplish in exceeding an expectation today sets the stage for being the expectation on the following day,” Tripoli elaborated. “It’s a daily challenge, and if you’re up to it, it’s the single most rewarding job to deliver this kind of experience.”
Tripoli and his team take personalized attention to heart. They believe in not only meeting or exceeding expectations of the residents and members of West Bay Club, but that the highest form of hospitality is anticipating expectations; it’s knowing what will be desired by residents before they even do.
This ethos of anticipatory fulfillment is at the core of West Bay Club’s ongoing transformation — the emergence of a reimagined West Bay Community and Golf Club, in which nearly $20 million is being reinvested into the experience through amenity improvements and renovations.
The vision is a result of resident and member surveys and suggestions; focus groups and forums; and the work of the community and golf club leadership helmed by golf club president Gene Delaney and community president Jerry Beaubien. Also providing critical input were Troon management and a robust project team that includes Meyers + Associates Architecture, Troon Design, and RealFood Hospitality, Strategy, and Design.
“This multi-faceted repositioning of West Bay’s facilities readies the club for the future,” said Tripoli of the impetus behind the phased project. “It’s relevant and compelling, and we’re going to be able to offer myriad choices that reflect current and forecasted trends while remaining true to the traditional favorites, especially in the area of dining.”
As a major focus of the re-envisioning, West Bay will remodel, enhance, or build five food and beverage amenities in the span of just a year and a half, including:
- New Signature Bar, dining, and event space in the remodeled Golf House
- Addition of kitchen and expanded outdoor dining areas at The Niblick, the club’s bustling gastropub
- Addition of outdoor poolside dining with new outdoor and indoor bar services
- A new demonstration kitchen at the revitalized Community Bay House
- Renovation of the oceanside full-service
- restaurant at the private Beach Club.
Prioritizing plentiful outdoor features to capitalize on the climate, flexible and functional kitchen designs to deliver unique menus at each outlet, and signature elements that elevate the individual dining experience, the holistic food and beverage program at West Bay manifests the club’s hospitality mindset.
EVERYTHING IS PERSONAL
The Golf House’s new Signature Bar was developed around the catchphrase, “Where everything is personal.” Member input and interaction are at the center of the experience.
Here, members enjoy expedient lunch and dinner items from the hallmark bistro kitchen, and the beverage menu is anchored by member-driven drink features.
In addition, a trio of tables, named for golf’s Big Three — Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus — will be called by their designations so that members can use them as common meeting places after a round, for dinner or the like.
At the Community Bay House, the new demonstration kitchen supports the club’s commitment to the healthy and active lifestyle of West Bay residents. The kitchen will be used as a teaching venue for nutritional programming and cooking instruction. Residents will convene to learn how to prepare Bay Fit® menu items, which are created to be low in sodium, fat, and calories, or learn makeat-home recipes for fresh Gulf seafood dishes. Accompanied by a mobile demonstration bar, the space will also play host to popup club events, show cooking, and intimate gatherings and meetings, where interactivity is at the forefront.
Partnering with West Bay on the foodservice design aspects of the project, Boston-based hospitality strategy and design firm and RealFood, a Troon company, is working closely with the property leadership and project teams to design the kitchen, bar, and services areas for the complete project.
“It’s the part that no one really sees but is critical to the success of the renovation,” said Matt Camilleri, managing director at RealFood. “Each outlet has a different purpose, guest profile, and desired experience, and for the team at West Bay to achieve that, they rely on us to deliver the right kitchen design or bar design to streamline their culinary operations.”
“It’s important to have an alliance partner like RealFood to walk beside you,” Tripoli said. “In our case, they’ve been able to participate in the concept of each of the dining venues, and through their process, take what is very subjective and bring it into a reality that members and residents can experience and share with families and guests.”
That’s the magic — designing for member and resident enjoyment and experience. As West Bay’s evolution continues, the community is responding. With very few homes for sale, a fully subscribed membership with an eager waiting list, and an energy of excitement in the atmosphere, West Bay is amidst an ascension to delivering that kind of unmistakable hospitality that is palpably present in every moment.