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Stefania Pifferi. Lee Bellamy has been general manager of Shangri-La Springs since 2017.
Nov 1 2019

Storied property moves forward on multimillion-dollar project
A big challenge at the revamped Shangri-La Springs? Finding staff to meet the demand. A presence in Bonita Springs since 1921, Shangri-La Springs has a long history as a resort, spa and wellness-focused site.

Its latest rebirth is now moving ahead full steam, with a new restaurant, Harvest & Wisdom, joining its organic spa and event space, plus new hotel rooms coming soon. “This is something so unique and so different from anything I’ve done in the past,” says Lee Bellamy, who has been the general manager of the site since 2017. “We’re trying to keep as much of the history of the resort the same but all the while making the necessary upgrades.”

In addition to upgrades, officials say the hospitality industry’s No. 1 obstacle to growth — lack of employees — is acute at Shangri-La Springs. To bring the new hotel rooms online, for one, Shangri-La Springs will need to increase its current staff of about 50 full-and part-time employees. “We’re actively looking now, but it’s the most difficult [hiring environment] that I have ever seen in my career,” says Bellamy, who previously worked for the Hilton corporation. “In fact, the only reason we’re just doing lunch five days a week is that we don’t have the staff to do anything more.”

Oct 2 2019

Four chambers of commerce celebrate grand opening of Harvest & Wisdom at Shangri-La Springs

Oct 1 2019

With a back door organic garden, Shangri-La chefs are drawing diners
Harvest & Wisdom, Shangri-La Springs' new organic restaurant, offers fresh, farm-to-table organic lunches, headed by a team of chefs with an impressive pedigree.

Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director Allen Fisher, whose resume includes working with Daniel Boulud in his Michelin-rated restau­rants in New York City, has over 18 years of experience in both professional cooking and kitchen management. Harvest & Wisdom is his first experi­ence with having fresh produce available right outside the kitchen.

"What is harvested in the morning can be on your plate for lunch that same day,” he said. “The ingredients are hyper-local.""

The menu changes with the seasons, frequently, daily and sometimes hour to hour, said Fisher.

Fisher likes to stroll across the quaint little bridge over Oak Creek, under huge, welcoming shade trees, to Shangri-La's 5-acre U.S.D.A.-certified organic garden. "This is where 85 percent of what we use in the kitchen is grown,” he said, “and that’s new and exciting for me."

Harvest & Wisdom finishes its beet and carrot tartare ($12) with a sunny dollop of mango puree. The dish is a brilliant vegan riff on steak tartare. (Photo: Special to The News-Press)
Sep 5 2019

Restaurant review: Harvest & Wisdom in Bonita Springs is an investment that's paying off
At the new Harvest & Wisdom at Shangri-La Springs in Bonita, our critic found a powerhouse team of chefs with a 5-acre organic garden at their disposal.

I am an unabashed beet fan, a longtime lover of these colorful root vegetables. I like them in salads, purees and terrines. I like them roasted, juiced, fried, you name it.

But beet tartare was new to me.

Harvest & Wisdom offers the dish among its starters. It presents it as one would a classic beef tartare (minus the animals); as roughly chopped beets flecked with capers, herbs and grains of Dijon, the whole lot crowned by a sunny dollop of pureed mango in lieu of the usual egg yolk.

It's a vegan take on this meaty French classic.

And it is so wonderfully good.

Aug 4 2019

Enjoying the Harvest and Wisdom at Shangri-La Springs in Bonita Springs
Shangri-La Springs is a historic property in Bonita Springs, FL. They have opened a new version of their restaurant space now called Harvest and Wisdom. I had written about this property three years ago. As for an intro, I don’t think I could write one any better.

The initial building on the property was built in 1921 as a small hotel to accommodate potential buyers for a local real estate development. The property changed hands many times over the years, expanding and it’s mineral springs becoming a health-related focus for osteopathic and homeopathic owners. The present owners acquired the property in 1998. Their focus was preservationist, but also to expand the holistic and naturalistic vision of some of the former owners of Shangri-La. This is done partially through visual and performance arts. In addition various Classes featuring modalities such as yoga, dance and meditation complement the artistic endeavors here.

Jul 2019

Tastes good AND It's good for you: healthy dining in Fort Myers
Specializing in fresh, local and organic ingredients, this farm to table restaurant is lead by Michelin-starred chef Allen Fisher. Located in the historic Shangdi-La Springs, a facility founded on the concept of wellness, the expansive property has an impressive no-till garden where most of the ingredients served in the restaurant come from. Other food products are carefully sourced from providers with similar philosophies of taking care of the environment and commitment to quality. Most of the proteins come from local farms specializing in raising grass fed animals. The result is food that is creative, well presented and full of flavor. The restaurant is spacious and bright, opening to a charming deck for outside dining.

Recommended for Restaurants with Healthy Menus because: Housed in the iconic Shangri-La Springs, most of the organic produce served in this farm to table restaurant is grown on site.

Gina's expert tip: The gardens here are lovely. Take some time to explore them before dinner.

Jul 25 2019

New organic lunch spot
Harvest & Wisdom organic restaurant opened for lunch July 3 at Shangri-La Springs historic hotel in Bonita Springs.

The restaurant's ever-changing seasonal menu features farm-to-table entrees such as bone-in ribeye and lamb sausage from Circle C Farm in Bonita. Executive Chef Allen Fisher and his culinary team also serve fresh salads and other ingredients from the property’s on-site no-till garden.

Harvest & Wisdom at Shangri-La Springs, 27750 Old 41 Road, is open for lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Jul 19 2019

Harvest & Wisdom: Inside Shangri-La Springs' new farm-to-table restaurant
About 80 to 90 percent of the ingredients used in the kitchen are grown on site. BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. - The chefs at Shangri-La Springs only have to take a few steps outside into their five-acre garden to gather ingredients for dishes. "That sets it apart from anywhere I've worked," Executive Chef Allen Fisher said. Fisher, who has been working in the restaurant business for 18 years, was named the head of the historic building's new restaurant, Harvest & Wisdom, shortly before it opened to the public on Tuesday, July 2.

Jul 18 2019

Shangri-la Springs hosts Naples Digital Photography Club exhibit
TALK ABOUT PURPLE MOUNTAIN’S MAJESTY. In Harold Kurzman’s photograph, “Half Dome Reflected,” a mountain towers over a golden-hued landscape so beautiful, so idyllic, you wonder if it’s real.

The amateur photographer from Naples shot it in Yosemite National Park in California.

“National parks are just one of our treasures, as far as I’m concerned,” he says.

The picture is one of 30 on exhibit through this month at Shangri-La Springs in Bonita Springs, all taken by members of the Naples Digital Photography Club.

Mr. Kurzman (whose “Half Dome Reflected” was also juried into the “Camera USA” exhibit at the Naples Art Association) has another photograph on exhibit at Shangri-La Springs, this one shot at Yellowstone National Park. “Bull Elk and Harem” shows a bull elk and a group of female elk standing together.

The photographs can be seen in Shangri La’s Big House, in the front lobby and dining room.

Jul 17 2019

Shangri-la Springs opens gardening classes, farm-to-table restaurant
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.— Shangri-la Springs will offer organic summer gardening classes starting July 18 and July 25 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. each day. Classes will also be held on August 8 and August 15.

The one hour classes will be lead by Cecelia Morales, Organic Garden Manager, with topics on summer gardening including vegetables, leafy greens, fruits and herbs and how to propagate and care for them, how to take of your soil and watering practices. Participants will receive plant and seed takeaways.

The ingredients from the garden are also used on the property’s farm-to-table restaurant that is a short walk away. Harvest and Wisdom opened at the beginning of July. Their menu is organic, delicious, and always changing.

Circle C Farm bone-in ribeye garnished with shaved purple carrots, sautéed radishes and seared garlic kale is among the farm-to-table dishes to be found at Harvest & Wisdom. COURTESY PHOTOS
Jul 17 2019

Shangri-La Springs restaurant serving fresh, organic lunch
Seasonal ingredients just-picked from Shangri-La Springs’ organic, no-till garden and grass fed, pastured-raised protein delivered from nearby Circle C Farm will be on the menu when Harvest & Wisdom opens for lunch at the property later this summer. It’s serving fresh, organic cuisine for lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Heading up the kitchen is Executive Chef Allen Fisher, who was a competitor on Food Network’s “Chopped,” and brings 18 years of experience in both professional cooking and kitchen management to the job.

He is joined by the recently hired chef de cuisine, David Robbins, who has 15 years of experience, most recently working at Society in Fort Myers and previously at Crave Culinaire, Mereday’s Fine Dining, and Naples Grande Resort in Naples. He’s also spent time in the kitchen at Blue Hill at Stone Farms, and Malabar in Lima, Peru.

“We are excited to add David to the team of Harvest & Wisdom,” said Mr. Fisher. “His passion for creating the freshest product for our guests fits well with our plans for the restaurant and Shangri-La Springs.”

Jul 3 2019

Coming soon: Harvest & Wisdom
Seasonal ingredients just-picked from Shangri-La Springs’ organic, no-till garden and grass fed, pastured-raised protein delivered from nearby Circle C Farm will be on the menu when Harvest & Wisdom opens for lunch at the property later this summer. Culinary creations for the farm-to-table organic restaurant will be led by Michelin-starred Executive Chef Allen Fisher, a competitor on Food Network’s “Chopped,” who has more than 18 years of professional cooking and kitchen management experience. Chef Fisher says that among the possibilities for the ever-changing menu are dishes like:

  • Organic caprese salad featuring heirloom tomatoes, creamy burrata cheese, small batch hand-crafted olive oil, flake sea salt, aged balsamic vinegars and just-picked baby opal basil.
  • Squash salad with shaved organic zucchini and yellow squash, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, flake sea salt, small batch hand-crafted olive oil, feta cheese and just-picked baby opal basil and mint.

Jul 2 2019

Restaurant news: Harvest & Wisdom opens in Bonita Springs; 2 restaurants open Fort Myers
Shangri-La Springs, the historic property for which Bonita Springs was named, is growing. The resort's onsite restaurant, Harvest & Wisdom, will debut Wednesday serving lunch five days a week. But this isn't your typical lunch joint. "We’ve got an almost 5 acre fully certified organic garden on property," executive chef Allen Fisher said. "We grow probably 85 to 90% of what we use in the restaurant." Fisher, a classically trained chef who worked for the famed Daniel Boulud in his Michelin-rated restaurants in New York City, is leading a talented team at Harvest & Wisdom. His chef de cuisine, David Robbins, worked at the acclaimed farm-to-table concept Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, New York before taking jobs in Miami, Naples and most recently at Society in south Fort Myers.

Jun 13 2019

Where to Tie the Knot on The Paradise Coast
1. Shangri-La Springs, Vibe: Garden Grandeur Those searching for lush grounds and a dash of historic significance can look no further than Shangri-La Springs. This landmark property in Bonita Springs offers organic dining and will soon be able to host guests in its on-site hotel. Weddings can be held in light-filled indoor spaces or amid verdant outdoor areas comprising the namesake springs, a 95-year-old Mysore Fig tree, and Old Florida architecture. Your celebration will continue with customized meals featuring ingredients from the on-site garden, and conclude with dancing under a canopy of trees and stars.

Cecelia Morales, Class of 2017
Apr 9 2019

Education major finds most meaningful lessons take root in the garden
By Kathy Becker
Cecelia Morales’ career blooms from a seed planted freshman year. A trip to the campus Food Forest to cheer up her visiting brother has grown into her position as the new organic garden manager at Shangri-La Springs in Bonita Springs, a 1921 hotel and spa being renovated as a destination for weddings, dining and fitness. The garden will support Harvest & Wisdom, a farm-to-table restaurant opening this year.

The Elementary Education major happened to visit the Food Forest, a student-run garden of edible plants available to all, during a meeting of the Food Foresters. “They gave us a tour and were so welcoming,” she said, noting many impressionable moments of that visit, including one with the late John Herman, assistant professor of biology. “He stuck his whole arm into a snake hole and pulled out an indigo snake. It was a wild, ‘wow’ kind of place.”

Morales found herself drawn back to the Food Forest to taste fruits and plants, attend meetings and try Meatless Mondays. Eventually, Jim Wohlpart, then dean of Undergraduate Studies and champion of the forest, asked Morales if she would like a job there as the service learning coordinator.

“It’s a passion that grew. From the Food Forest to my personal garden, I guess it was always there. I’ve always loved plants.“

Mar 7 2019

Bonita Springs chef will tackle mystery ingredient baskets on Food Network's 'Chopped'

A Southwest Florida chef had the chance to test his skills on the hugely popular Food Network show "Chopped."

Chef Allen Fisher, who will lead dining operations at Shangri-La Springs' Harvest & Wisdom restaurant targeted to open later this year, was one of four chefs who competed in the episode, which will air at 9 p.m. March 26 on Food Network.

Fisher couldn't say much about his appearance before the air date, but he said the experience was "a lot of fun."

"You can expect to see my hands drain of blood when I'm standing there with the basket," Fisher said, laughing.

On "Chopped," professional chefs from across the country compete in a series of rounds — appetizer, main course and dessert — in front of a panel of esteemed judges. At the beginning of each round, contestants are given a basket of bizarre mystery ingredients, and judges taste-test the dishes, making eliminations until a winner is crowned and awarded the $10,000 prize.

Allen said the idea of tackling the show's mystery baskets was terrifying.

Jan 1 2019

Art and Nature Night set at Shangri-La Springs
Experience “Branching Out” with Shangri-La Springs on Jan. 9. Set for 6-9 p.m. at 27750 Old 41 Road in Bonita Springs, this free art and nature community night will feature a variety of activities, live performances and presentations from local artists and musicians.

The “Branching Out” event will include a live piano performance by Mickey Basil in the Great House, as well as a community drum circle in the courtyard and complimentary massage treatments in the spa. Featured artists include Andrew McClure, who uses air plants and juxtaposing outdoor and repurposed elements to showcase the beauty of nature, and Rosemary Allen, a painter recognized for her works of art highlighting the landscape and wildlife she encounters. FORT MYERS READERS: Sign up for Florida Weekly's Fort Myers email edition here.

The event also will include sidewalk chalk art by Jane Portaluppi Durand, hammered dulcimer performance by Debo and paper grotto theatre by Lily Hatchett with live music by Kat Epple, as well as visits from local circus performers including contortionists, human statues and stilt walkers.

In addition, guests can get an assortment of organic small plates for purchase in the courtyard, as well as organic beer and wine at the bar in the Great House.


Cecelia Morales
Dec 12 2018

Cecelia Morales joins Shangri-La Springs as organic garden manager
(MENAFN - PRLog) Shangri-La Springs is pleased to announce that Cecelia Morales has joined its team as the new organic garden manager. In her new role, Morales is responsible for managing the care and maintenance of Shangri-La Springs' organic garden, which will support the property's farm-to-table restaurant, Harvest, opening in early 2019.

A Southwest Florida native, Morales brings a wealth of organic and sustainable gardening knowledge to her new role. Prior to joining Shangri-La Springs, Morales was a nursery caretaker and plant retailer at Fruit Scapes Nursery in Bokeelia, where she cultivated and maintained a variety of local and imported fruits and plants. While attending Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), Morales dedicated more than three years to the university's Food Forest, a student-run sustainable permaculture garden, where she assisted in food cultivation and served as the service-learning coordinator.

Morales earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from FGCU and a certification in permaculture design.

"We are honored to have Cecelia join our team and manage food cultivation on our organic garden, an important source for Shangri-La Springs' restaurant, Harvest," said Lee Bellamy, Shangri-La Springs general manager. "We look forward to highlighting a variety of organic produce grown by Cecelia and the food production team with the opening of Harvest in early 2019."

Dec 7 2018

How Kids' Minds Matter offers mental health help
(Excerpt) In 2019, Kids’ Minds Matter will help Lee Health launch a first-of-its-kind TelePsych program that allows Southwest Florida families to receive advice and counseling on mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression and trauma via digital devices.

We’re encouraged by the progress and the road map for the future; however, we need your voice and support to help us reach our goal of raising $10 million to change the landscape of pediatric mental and behavioral health care in our community.

How can you help? Partner with Lee Health to provide philanthropic support, attend our Secret Garden Gala on March 6 at the historic Shangri-La Springs in Bonita Springs, attend a community education course and continue the dialogue. The more we talk about solutions, the more we erase the stigma and reach those in need.

For more information or to donate, visit or call 239-343-6950. For information regarding mental health services at Golisano Children’s Hospital, call 239-343-6050.

Scott Spiezle and Susan Goldy are founders of Kids’ Minds Matter.

Dec 5 2018

FYI-Food: New menus celebrate the season

New executive chef

Allen Fisher has joined the historic Shangri-La Springs in downtown Bonita Springs as executive chef and food and beverage director of its on-site restaurant and bar.

Currently undergoing renovations, the organic restaurant, scheduled to reopen in early 2019, will make its reintroduction as “Harvest,” offering delectable farm-to-table meals, featuring fresh ingredients from the property’s on-site, no-till garden.

Fisher brings more than 18 years of professional cooking and kitchen management experience and an extensive background of developing new concepts using local and organic products to his new roles. Prior to joining Shangri-La Springs, Fisher garnered culinary management experience at casual and fine dining restaurants across the country, including locally-owned Bistro 41 in Fort Myers; Red Strip Restaurants in Los Angeles; Silvia Restaurant in Woodstock, New York; and Chef Daniel Boulud and The Dinex Group, in New York City. He earned his culinary degree from Schoolcraft College in Michigan, and a master’s degree in business from Western Carolina University in North Carolina.

Shangri-La Springs, 27750 Old 41 Road, is accepting job applications for its culinary team and food production staff. To learn more about the job openings or to apply, go to

Mar 12 2018

Shangri-La Springs hosts Art & Nature Community Night “Roots”
Shangri-La Springs invites the community to experience an evening of artistic and tasteful experiences at its Art & Nature Community Night “Roots.” The free event will take place on Wednesday, March 14 from 6 to 9 p.m., and will feature a variety of activities and performances throughout the property including a tapas dinner, live performances and presentations of artistic works from local artists and musicians. The “Roots” event will feature award-winning painter Carol McArdle, recognized for her inspiring works-of-art highlighting natural Florida landscapes and wildlife.

Guests can enjoy a decadent organic tapas dinner in the Great House from 6 to 8:30 p.m., featuring small plate entrees infused with fresh ingredients from the on-site garden at Shangri-La Springs. The tapas dinner is prepared by Artichoke & Company.

Artist Lily Hatchet at her Fort Myers home.
(Photo: Andrew West/The News-Press)
Mar 5 2018

Passion for peculiar: Artist Lily Hatchett brings unique performance art to SWFL scene
Lily Hatchett’s artwork is like nothing most people have ever seen. It’s performance based, colorful, artistic and extremely unusual. Using large sculptures of paper as a backdrop, Lily projects colorful images on this stage as dog costumes move about and music plays. More than just art and performance, it’s atmosphere and creativity.

“I started making paper dogs out of napkins when I was a kid at dinner,” Lily says. “I would entertain anyone who was sitting next to me with the paper napkins.”

When Lily grew up and moved to New York City, she wanted her art to stand out from the crowd.

“I was in a group show in Manhattan,” she explains. “I created a whole bunch of paper dogs and decorated the elevator with the dogs, so everyone who came to the show and left the show saw the paper dogs. They were part of the art show, but they were in the elevator. I was going to put in a painting, and everyone else was putting in paintings, and I didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing.”.

Mar 1 2018

Couple spreading message that Kids' Minds Matter
About 20 years ago, Scott Spiezle’s daughter approached him and told him words that would petrify any parent:“Daddy, I’m feeling I’m going to hurt myself.”

Spiezle’s daughter is bi-polar, a manic-depressive illness and a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. That night and for many nights after over the years, Spiezle took his pillow and blanket and slept on the floor in her room. Spiezle, 64, has been on an emotionally fraught journey with his daughter, who was misdiagnosed and given drugs not meant for a youth until he connected her with the proper mental-health specialists. “The worry never goes away,” he said.

Katie Klann/Naples Daily News
Feb 22 2018

Photos: Renovations at the Shangri-La Springs
Naples Daily News stopped by Shangri-La Springs last week to see the completed renovations, along with projects we are still working on. Check out an exclusive look at the progress of our upstairs hotel rooms!

Jan 31 2018

Naples and area restaurants offer all their love for Valentine's Day
Naples is a Valentine's Day delight with restaurants and other outlets offering romantic packages for that special day.

Shangri-La Springs: Feb. 14, 6 to 9 p.m. at Shangri-La Springs, 27750 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs. This free event features live performances and presentations of artistic works from local artists and musicians. Guests can enjoy an all-levels yoga class at 7 p.m. and complimentary massage treatments at the spa. A three-course dinner prepared by Artichoke & Company is available for $68.50 per person from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Jan 2018

Creative Juices Flow through Shangri-La Springs

There is something otherworldly and yet down to earth about Zawi Borsa, operations manager of Shangri-La Springs Resort. She serenades birthday guests in a beautiful operatic style. She may, in her hand-customized corduroys, meander through banyan and Mysore fig trees while making up an impromptu acapella or singing one of her originals that seem to come like dreams for a person she’s yet to meet that day. If that sounds like too much of a fairy tale, it is Shangri-La, after all. The 1921 hotel, a historical gem for Bonita Springs, was named after that mystical place where everyone is happy in an earthly paradise of utopia—a fictional imagining of author James Hilton that has become the epitome of the idyllic hideaway. But Borsa brings it to life in what is now Shangri-La’s healing, arts and nature center.

A friend recalls a time with Borsa that indicates she brings the fairy tale along with her wherever she goes. “One time, we were visiting the Wonder Gardens and she started singing to the talking bird in the lobby and the bird started singing back!” recalled Jane Portaluppi Durand, an Italian sidewalk chalk artist.


Nov 22 2017

Shangri-La Springs continues post-hurricane renovations
Shangri-La Springs, a historic property in downtown Bonita Springs, has resumed its scheduled renovations following the effects of Hurricane Irma.

The property is currently undergoing interior renovations to its existing hotel rooms and an expansion of its dining room and kitchen. The Spa at Shangri- La Springs will remain open during the renovation and the on-site fitness programs will return on Dec. 14. The organic restaurant and full-service boutique hotel are slated to open in 2018.

During the renovation, the property will continue venue rentals for weddings and private events.

The Shangri-La Springs, a historic resort in downtown Bonita Springs seen on Sept. 19, 2017, did not sustain damage to its building following Hurricane Irma.
(Photo: Patrick Riley/Naples Daily News)
Sep 19 2017

Bonita Springs' Shangri-La resort, Buffalo Chips restaurant weather Hurricane Irma
Although parts of Bonita Springs remained flooded Tuesday — more than a week after Hurricane Irma roared across Southwest Florida — some of the city's venerable institutions weathered the storm.

The Shangri-La Springs, a historic resort in downtown Bonita Springs that was built in 1921, sustained "zero damage" to its building, General Manager Lee Bellamy said, and the property's two 80-year-old Mysore fig trees will pull through, too.

"They just need to get cleaned up," Bellamy said of the famous trees, which tower over the property's courtyard and had some of their mighty branches mangled by the powerful winds.

"They're going to be fine. ... Didn't damage the root system at all."

The giant Mysore fig trees are two of only four in all of Southwest Florida, said John Domanski, the property's facilities and maintenance manager.

That number grew even smaller after the ferocious hurricane uprooted a large Mysore fig tree on the property of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. Another — bigger — Mysore fig tree at the Estates survived the storm.

"These are pretty strong trees," Domanski said.

A recently caught lionfish | Kevin Lollar
May 19 2017

Lionfish Pervade Waters Off Florida's Coasts
Saturday is "Lionfish Awareness and Removal Day" in Florida. Lionfish are an invasive species off Florida's coasts. People in southwest Florida are studying the fish's impact and others are helping to keep the invasive species' population under control.

Sometime in the 1980s, a boat coming somewhere from the Indo-Pacific had lionfish onboard. That's how they ended up in the waters off Florida where they don't belong. They’re white with red stripes, and have eighteen hypodermic-like needle-sharp venomous spines on their fins. They're the kind of fish you see in aquariums.

They’re pretty fish. But, as Florida Gulf Coast University marine biologist Mike Parsons said, their impact on the waters off Florida’s coasts, where they’re not supposed to be, has been anything but pretty.

Eddie Rose
Instructor Eddie Rose strikes a typical Qi Gong pose at Shangri-La Springs. Staff |
Apr 1 2017

Qi Gong’s four principles said to unlock the unconscious self
When Eddie Rose was 19 years old in 1977, he was already a black belt in martial arts. by James Hilton. He was young, strong, wired, and in the best shape of his life. Then, he met the man who would teach him Qi Gong (pronounced CHEEKung), the 5,000-year-old Chinese health and spiritual practice that integrates physical postures, breathing and meditation.

At first, Rose used Qi Gong to stay in shape. For him, it was just another martial art to master. “What really changed it all for me, though,” says Rose, “is the fact that I got sick. I got really sick.” While working as a police officer, his colon ruptured. He developed peritonitis and his organs began to fail, requiring removal of a part of his colon. He was pumped full of so many antibiotics that, had he required more, the medications could have killed him.

Luckily, he survived. Says Rose, “Medical science saved my life. Eastern medicine helped me heal my body and my mind.” Now he teaches Qi Gong. Using the four principles of the practice – mind, breath, movement and vibration – Rose teaches his students to apply the healing effects of Qi Gong to their everyday lives and to be more mindful of themselves. The idea, he says, is to master the principles so that you can tap into the next level of the self.

Mar 19 2017

Spotlight on Shangri-La Springs
Ghostbird Theatre Company’s next production will be held at Shangri-La Springs April 27-29. It’s called No. 27 and was written specifically for the location by Ghostbird co-founder Katelyn Gravel and FGCU Theatre Professor Barry Cavin. Shangri-La Springs is one of the most historic spots in all of Bonita Springs. The Mission-style structure was formerly a hotel, built in 1921 by the family of Fort Myers merchant, banker and developer Harvie Heitman on 8.1 acres of land in the heart of what is now Old Bonita. The family was developing property to the west and the 25-room Heitman Hotel provided potential buyers a place to stay while their new homes were constructed. The natural Shangri-La Springs Bonita spring for which the town is named is located on the grounds and flows into Oak Creek.

Mar-Apr 2017

Paradise Found in Bonita Springs
You may be familiar with the fictional paradise first described in the 1933 novel, Lost Horizon by James Hilton. Those who lived there enjoyed a carefree, harmonious existence and virtual immortality. Nestled on 8.5 acres between Tamiami Trail and Old 41 (thanks to a recently completed makeover, now known as Historic Old 41), Shangri-La Springs Resort in Bonita Springs has been busy living up to the name, quietly implementing a major restoration of its buildings and grounds over the past number of years. Upgrades are nearing completion and the schedule of events, classes and goings-on is staggering. From yoga, art and dance to healing arts and spa services, there’s something for everyone in search of rejuvenation. It’s also becoming quite the popular setting for weddings and private events. As General Manager and Artistic Director Zawi Borsa puts it, “It’s about bringing everybody together and allowing this property to give back to the community in general.”

From the street, the sign beckons. Turning into the property you instantly begin to catch the vibe. The majestic Great House greets guests out front. Built in 1921 by the Heitman family, the Great House was originally a 25-room hotel designed to house potential buyers of nearby property that they were developing. It was expanded to 50 rooms by a subsequent owner, Walter Mack of the Cadillac family. Proprietors that have followed, right up to the present, have been more interested in developing Shangri-La Springs as a health resort. Among the Great House offerings, says Zawi, are live painting, lunch and dinner service, a bar, and gift shop. There’s also live music.

Feb 8 2017

Children's behavorial health services critical for area
We are so fortunate to live in the thriving and generous community of Southwest Florida. What we sometimes overlook is that there are over 230,000 children living in the area between Tampa and Miami, and many of them are not thriving today. Many of our local children struggle with behavioral health issues such as ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders or drug and alcohol abuse, among others.

Until now, behavioral health services for children in our community have taken a back seat.

With the new Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest FL opening this spring, a group of concerned volunteers have started a pediatric behavioral health initiative called Kids' Minds Matter — Voices for Behavioral Health at Golisano Children's Hospital. The goal of Kids' Minds Matter is to raise awareness in the community about the need for behavioral healthcare for children and to raise funds that will enable Golisano Children's Hospital to begin providing more comprehensive outpatient behavioral healthcare to the many children in our community.

Feb 8 2017

Celebrate Valentine's Day the Southwest Florida way
When it comes to romance, our area has all the ingredients for an outstanding Valentine's Day.
Take the day to go island hopping. Indulge in a sunset cocktail. Count the dolphins. Escape to a deserted island. Rent a kayak. Take a romantic dinner cruise. Browse charming boutiques and galleries. Walk on shell-covered beaches. Many properties, spas and restaurants are offering romance packages. Check them out here:

Take a trip to Paris for the evening
With a view of the restaurant's own Eiffel Tower, Bleu Rendez-Vous French Bistro on Sanibel Island offers a romantic setting. The Valentine's Day menu offers a choice of New Zealand rack of lamb with dijon rosemary au jus, stuffed filet Oscar with crabmeat and bearnaise, lobster au gratin, and slow-roasted duckling a l'orange. Dine on the patio and bring Fido for homemade doggy Valentine treats. Details and reservations: or 239-565-1608.

Celebrate Love at Shangri-La Springs in Bonita Springs
Three dinner seatings, an organic Valentine's menu, live music and a glass of bubbles are enticements at Shangri-La Springs. Spend time under the giant Mysore fig tree or make a reservation in the spa for a couples massage. (Editor's note: as of 1/31/2017 Shangri-La is fully booked for this dining event; walk-ins starting at 7:30pm will be seated on a first come, first serve basis. Learn More)

(Photo: Sugarshack)
(Photo: Sugarshack)
Feb 3 2017

Shangri-La Springs + Sugarshack: A new tradition for your Friday nights
Sugarshack, a Bonita Springs-based multimedia company, has partnered with Shangri-La Springs.
The pairing makes sense. Shangri-La is steeped in Bonita Springs history. Sugarshack gives that history a modern twist.

You can catch acoustic music at the historic downtown site. Local and regional musicians stop by, thanks to Sugarshack, and play sets of original music. The artists represent different genres, but they all share the passion that makes watching someone create in real-time exhilarating.

The current wave of Sugarshack acts will be featured in a series that runs through April. Shangri-La Springs organic cafe will be serving wine, beer, and food. The scheduled dates are as follows:

  • Feb. 10: Soulixer
  • Feb. 24: Wilder Sons
  • March 10: The Freecoasters
  • April 7: Roman Samuels


Dec 19 2016

A Naples Hidden Treasure: The Shangri-La Springs
Living in Naples, Florida we are surrounded by gorgeous manicured lawns and medians, newly constructed homes, modern office buildings and unique cultural institutions offering the most significant art collections, most current theater, the best music and gorgeous beachfront hotels with all the most modern amenities. What we are not surrounded with is physical history. However it's not because we are lacking in this area. According to the Collier County Museum "Collier County was one of a dozen new counties created during the dizzying Florida land boom of the 1920s. It is the state's 62nd county and the third largest in total land area. Vacationers and residents alike are often surprised to discover that this area's rich and colorful past actually stretches back thousands of years. Humans have lived here for centuries, beginning with the first hunters and gatherers who drifted down the Florida peninsula at the close of the last Ice Age in search of bigger game and warmer winters."

Dec 13 2016

A top vacation destination: Beaches, Old 41 and low cost can draw vacationers to Bonita
Walking through downtown can elicit a sense of personal connection.
The city has always strived for a small-town atmosphere, and various charming aspects of the smaller municipality deliver, said John Paeno, president of the Bonita Springs Downtown Alliance. "It's a very unique community," he said. "We're tight-knit, friendly and open. We focus around river and our old historical downtown." Beautiful beaches and the Old 41 Road stretch aren't the only draws for visitors, Donlan said. "There are places like Shangri-La Springs, which offers access to 8.5 acres of land to anyone," she said. "There's charming small businesses like Dolly's Produce Patch & Eatery that just offer an old-fashioned, Old-Florida charm."

Dec 9 2016

Light The Way 2016
Friday, December 9, 2016: At the Liles Hotel Plaza in Riverside Park The Old 41 corridor in Bonita Springs is undergoing a major face lift. The Bonita Springs Historical Society’s McSwain Home, sitting at the southern threshold of these exciting changes, is an important part of this exciting downtown revitalization.

Light The Way is the kickoff event to our 2017 Festival of Trees. Together these two special events will assist the Bonita Springs Historical Society raise the funds necessary to complete the McSwain Home renovations. Much has already been accomplished, but much remains to be done.

Light the Way will take place on Friday, December 9, 2016 from 5 - 9 PM at the Liles Hotel Plaza, located in Riverside Park at 27300 Old US41.

We would like to invite you to become a sponsor to Light the Way for the 2017 Festival of Trees to benefit the Mc Swain Home.

This magical evening will feature great Food, Spirits, Strolling Carolers, Live Jazz, an electrifying light show, and of course a trolley tour highlighting our many wonderful entities and attractions along the Old 41 corridor; The McSwain Home, the Liles Hotel, the Shangri-La, the Imperial River, Riverside Park area, and the Everglades Wonder Gardens!

We think this lively and festive evening will provide you with a better understanding as to what the Bonita Springs Historical Society is hoping to accomplish and its significance, while sharing with you the many opportunities to be part of our 2017 Festival of Trees, benefiting the Historic Mc Swain Home. This is your opportunity to tell the Bonita Springs community that you care about Bonita Springs, its history and historic preservation. We look forward to seeing you at Light the Way!

CLICK HERE for Reservations and Tickets to help Light The Way

(Photo: Special to The News-Press)
(Photo: Special to The News-Press)
Dec 5 2016

Know Thyself: Synergy with Kat Epple, Nathan Dyke
It won't be a concert. Time shared with Kat Epple and Nathan Dyke will be an experience.

In the living room of a modest North Fort Myers house, Kat pulled the drawer of a large glass table. Inside, there was a dizi from China, shakuhachi from Japan, bansuri from India. An array of flutes from around the world — Borneo, Madagascar, Peru, Malaysia, Tanzania — over 100, colorful and handcrafted, filled the single drawer.

One by one, she placed them to her lips.

"The embouchure is different with each," she said. She then exhaled breath into the instrument and it sang.

Kat has won eight Emmys, and she insists she is not an "entertainer."

"I've always played music from a spiritual place," she said.

(Photo: Ashley Collins/Staff)
Nov 14 2016

#LiveSWFL: Find relaxation with hand drumming at Shangri-La Springs
My job as a reporter can be stressful at times. Between tight deadlines, unanswered phone calls, and my type A personality, I'm constantly on the look out for the next wellness craze. I've tried meditation with no luck — my mind wandered uncontrollably and I found myself worrying instead of finding my inner zen. And I've tried adult coloring books, and acupuncture — coloring didn't hold my attention, and I should've rethought the latter due to my aversion to needles.

But when I learned about Shangri-La Springs in Bonita Springs, I felt hopeful. Here's a place that sits secluded in Old Bonita and offers numerous workshops, spa services, and weekly classes such as yoga or tai chi, all meant to help an individual find peace of mind and body. One class in particular caught my eye. Hand drumming. I had heard news about the growing interest in it, but assumed there weren't any classes available locally. When I learned Shangri-La Springs offered it every Tuesday, I had to find out for myself what hand drumming was all about.

(Photo: South Florida Reporter)
Oct 31 2016

Shangri-La Springs Beckons in Bonita Springs, Florida
Shangri-La Springs is a historic property in Bonita Springs, Florida. The initial building on the property was built in 1921 as a small hotel to accommodate potential buyers for a local real estate development. The property changed hands many times over the years. Its mineral springs became a health-related focus for osteopathic and homeopathic owners.

The present owners acquired the property in 1998. Their focus was preservationist, but also to expand the holistic and naturalistic vision of some of the former owners of Shangri-La. This is done partially through visual and performance arts. In addition, various classes featuring yoga, dance and meditation complement the artistic endeavors.

Elaine Camarda, Marta Meadow and Karsten Meadow take a hand drumming class at the Shangri-La. (Photo: Andrea Stetson/Special to The News-Press)
(Photo: Andrea Stetson/Special to The News-Press)
Oct 1 2016

Feel the beat with hand drumming classes at Shangri-La
The beat starts off slow and a bit technical, but soon morphs into a rhythm that is steady and peaceful. Even those that are doing it for the first time soon fall into the pattern and are making beautiful music. Every Tuesday evening Marc Wagner teaches hand drumming at Shangri-La Springs in Bonita Springs. It's a completely different type of music from traditional snare or drum sets. "It's a very tribal instrument," Wagner describes. "It is the typical African drum. Through my spiritual tendencies I found that drumming can also be used in a very spiritual way and that is what I typically try to incorporate into it." The sounds are Caribbean and African. The beats can be slow or fast and come in a variety of patterns.

"Most of all it should be fun," Wagner said about hand drumming. "That is always the main focus, to make it fun and to actually not to only learn an instrument that is very uncommon, but to enjoy more of a musical inclination that they might have. Hand drumming is a very good way to start because it is rhythm."

Art is tucked in unique spaces throughout the grounds including this piece peeking from behind a banana flower on the farm. (Photo: Anne Reed/The News-Press)
(Photo by Ann Reed/The News-Press)
Sep 28 2016

Off the Eaten Path in Pictures: The Restaurant at Shangri-La Springs
Travel to old Bonita Springs for an organic restaurant serving healthy food with a side of tranquility in this week's Off the Eaten Path. Tucked in a quiet garden along Old US 41 in Bonita Springs is a stone mermaid, its body colored and smoothed by time and the sulfur water that sprays into the surrounding water. "She's the Bonita spring," said Andrew Sroka, CEO of Shangri-La Springs. The statue was installed by Dr. Charles Gnau, the fourth owner of the property and an osteopath interested in the health benefits of the springs. Today's Shangri-La Springs began in 1921, when the Heitman Family built a hotel near the spring that the town was named for. The property changed hands several times before restoration in 1993 by Leo Dahlman and then, in 1998, the property was purchased by a trust. "One of the first things that the trust wanted to do was to begin growing produce as part of the rehabilitation of the property," Sroka explained. "The process for which the grounds had to be certified organic took several years. And the unique thing is the entire property, not just our orchards and our gardens, but the entire grounds that everything sits on, is certified organic."

Fast forward to today, and the small farm is thriving, the spa is open, the meeting room along the mineral pool hosts events and small classes and the restaurant is serving lunch.

Millisa Bell, head gardener at Shangri-La and owner of the Unruly Gardner, points out what's growing to general manager Zawi Borsa. (Photo by Jennifer Reed)
(Photo by Jennifer Reed)
Sep 2016

Shangri-La Springs Writes New, Inviting Chapter
No longer shrouded in secrecy, the spot of intriguing history re-opens with fresh dining, culture events, wellness options and more.
Maybe it's the exotic name, the Shangri-La Springs. Or the concrete wall obscuring lush grounds from street view. Or the quizzical-sounding title of its current owner, the Lama Hana Land Trust. Or perhaps, it's on account of its many-year closure followed by its opening to private groups only. Whatever the reason, the Shangri-La Springs in Bonita has been shrouded in secrecy for years, despite its very public origin as the Heitman Hotel, which its namesake family built in 1921 to provide lodging for potential buyers of its real estate developments. Its current managers, though, have lifted the proverbial veil and want to make the old property a centerpiece of the newly evolving downtown Bonita Springs.

"We really want to be a part of the community," says Zawi Borsa, the general manager and artistic director. "It's one of the only places left that is really Old Florida," adds Pyro Rodriguez, the recently hired executive chef, who prefers to be known simply as Chef Pyro. "And anyone can come in."

Beets at Shangri-La Springs (Photo Harriet Howard Heithaus)
(Photo Harriet Howard Heithaus)
Aug 18 2016

Shangri-La at Bonita Springs lets you linger over lunch
Locally sourced, limited menu allows its chef to perfect each dish. A lunch at the Shangri-La Springs is the kind of meal you want to linger over, and it's not because you're being cosseted by upholstered chairs and fussed over by a black-and-white uniform. The chairs are wood, the staff is casual in slacks and tops. But the atmosphere is zen, a quiet room with meadow of silk bloom-topped bud vases that rises from the tables. Outside its full-width bank of six-mullion windows is another world from the dusty, construction-laden Old 41 Road on the other side; the view here takes in tiny villas and a quarry-tiled great hall settled in among massive trees and leafy landscaping. Beyond it, not visible to the diners, is the organic garden of Chef Pyro, from whence the pea shoots come that embrace the grouper dish my dining partner is gobbling down.

The entire estate has evolved from a health springs resort to a traveler's stop to an empty building before its purchase in 1989 by the private trust that has saved the spa around city's original spring. Restoration began in earnest in 2011, and the result is a complex of spa, artistic gift shop, retreat house and its luncheon and takeaway restaurant.


6 Things to do in SWFL This Week
No. 2 Free Art & Nature Night at Shangri La Springs. RHYTHM + RHYME ART OPENING AND RECEPTION. Featuring the original works of David Acevedo and Ignacio Alperin. Meet the artists and view their work. Enjoy these multi-media performances celebrating Rhythm & Rhyme on the lush botanical grounds of Shangri-La Springs in Bonita Springs - Rain or Shine!


Bonita Springs gets a makeover
A lot is happening in Bonita Springs. If you haven't been in a while, now is a really good time to visit. The kids are back in school and the roads are "ours" for the next couple of months. The Bonita Springs Downtown Improvements Project is coming along and parts of it are already finished as the area transforms into a vibrant community that embraces its history. The full $18.6 million project is scheduled to be completed in fall 2017 and includes roundabouts at Pennsylvania Avenue and Terry Street, parking and streetscape features.


FMB Yacht Club Women Discover the Secrets of Shangri-La
Friday, March 4th, 2016, 20 women from the FMB Yacht Club enjoyed wonderful weather and a terrific outing at the Historic Shangri-La Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs. After meeting at the Great House (built in 1921) and watching an educational video, they were treated to a tour of the beautiful 8.5-acre grounds led by the intrepid, and funny, guide, John.


Shangri-La opens its doors
BONITA SPRINGS - It's been closed for more than a decade, but the doors at the historic Shangri-La are finally open. Now Bonita Springs is hoping the landmark can boost business along Old 41.

Naples Daily News

Visitors 'amazed' at Shangri-La grand reopening.
BONITA SPRINGS – The Shangri-La Hotel & Resort opened to the public for the first time in eight years Wednesday evening, allowing visitors to tour the grounds and lobby of the historic resort in downtown Bonita Springs.


Shangri-La Reopens
A small army of workers is busy in Bonita Springs this week at the Shangri-La Healing Waters Spa/Hotel... readying the historic landmark for a two day Holiday open-house. WGCU's Valerie Alker took a stroll earlier this week has this report.


Shangri-La gears up for re-opening
With new paint, new bricks, and hopefully a new generation of visitors walking her trails, the Shangri-La property in Bonita Springs is ready for her big reopening.

Naples Daily News

Shangri-La Hotel and Resort prepares to reopen as a health spa in Bonita Springs

Jason Easterly/Special to the Daily News The historic Shangri-La Inn Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs is reopening as the Shangri-La Healing Waters with the A Season of Giving - Shangri-La, The Past, A Present.

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