Harvie Heitman’s Enduring Legacy for Bonita Springs

Built more than 100 years ago, the enduring legacy of a man named Heitman still shines bright in Bonita Springs even today. Heitman was a developer who left his mark on the region.

He was the force behind the historic Shangri-La Springs hotel, which was originally constructed in the early 1920s. The hotel property still includes a natural mineral spring, which is where Bonita Springs gets its name.

It was that property’s natural spring water which was once used by the Calusa tribe for trade and medicinal purposes. It’s said explorer Ponce de Leon discovered the spring himself while trying to find the famed Fountain of Youth.

In the time since, some have continued to believe that the spring may indeed contain healing properties. Heitman constructed a hotel on the same property as the spring as a place for new homeowners to live while their homes were being built. 

While the hotel changed hands several times over the years, it wasn’t until the early 1960s that a new owner changed the property’s name to Shangri-La Springs. The current owners purchased it in the late 1990s with the goal of protecting it for the foreseeable future.

Today, the boutique hotel includes an organic restaurant that serves up farm-to-table produce from its own garden. The property also includes a full-service spa, and it commonly hosts special events, retreats, workshops, and classes.

There are two guest suites in the main building of Shangri-La Springs and another six rooms in a separate building near a courtyard. The hotel isn’t the only legacy tied to Heitman in the area.

There is also a Heitmans neighborhood of mostly single-family homes, some of which have Gulf access. The neighborhood sits to the west of the downtown area, positioning it simply a short distance away from the beach and many of the city’s top amenities. The only public golf course in Bonita Springs also sits nearby.  

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