Shalimar has long been a charming part of the old Sanibel tradition. Newly built in 1959, the cottages had flat roofs, wooden ramps, and painted blocks of bright color under the windows. Phones and microwaves were conspicuously missing, but beachgoers certainly did not seem to mind.
In 1970, Shalimar passed hands from its original owners to Rufus and Violet Dodrill from Indiana. Continually striving to improve the property, the couple arranged for a variety of additions and renovations. In 1973, the property became known as “Shalimar Cottages & Motel” with the addition of the 20-unit motel building. Constructed some 75 feet from the shoreline, it became the closest building to the water on Sanibel. A rock wall around the foundation kept the oscillating tide at bay. Today, building permits no longer allow such proximity, but Shalimar is proud that its guests can still enjoy unparalleled view of the Gulf and have the beach at their doorstep.
In 1986, the cottages acquired new, sloped roofs (in the same style that we see today), and new sidings for the walls and around the foundations, making them easily distinguishable from the similar properties in the area. Eight years later, the property was handed down to Rufus and Violets’ oldest son, David continuing what had become a family tradition.
During a season of fitful weather in 2004, Shalimar was among many properties on Sanibel and Captiva to experience the destructive winds of the tropics. On August 13th, Hurricane Charley delivered abundant rain, sustained winds near 150 mph, and storm surge of approximately 7 feet. Deprived of most of its roof, Shalimar’s motel building sustained extensive water damage and needed to be gutted to its skeletal structure in order to be rebuilt. Everyone’s favorite cottage 7 was nudged off it’s foundation and could only be restored with the help of a crane and some careful maneuvering.
In 2005, Chester and Nancy Niesel of Illinois purchased Shalimar, bringing a playful island charm to its interiors, dedicated themselves to the property’s continual improvement, and making Shalimar’s name better known . Today, the resort enjoys the company of its long-time repeat guests, new visitors from all across the United States, and many adventurers from abroad. We are glad that our guests can learn about and become part of our history!