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Island Empress.
The Story of the Shell.
The beautiful shell chosen for our logo, though rare, gained a renewed notoriety through a beach beautification and re-nourishment program following Hurricane Ivan, which ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2004.

The Cancellaria Conradiana shell, also known as "Conrad's Nutmeg", is sought out by locals and tourists alike on their strolls down the magnificent sugar-white beaches of Pensacola Beach. We think it aptly represents our love of the local area and our concern for protecting the precious ecosystems here.




Long before The Island Empress became a vision, roots were deeply formed. To us, the pristine stretch of Santa Rosa Island is more than a piece of land—it is our home, a place where we and our families forged deep connections to the wonderfully relaxed Gulf Coast way of life.

And now we are sharing our home – and our way of life – with you. We’ve spent many years developing properties across the country and, together, we are turning our passion for Pensacola Beach into a resort that represents the pinnacle of incredible luxury and Southern hospitality.

We invite you to come experience The Island Empress, share our vision and see for yourself why we call the beautiful island at Pensacola Beach home.

Gulfwind Management


From conceptual planning through marketing, sales, staffing and operations, The Island Empress team will bring proven expertise and a passion for excellence to this high-end fractional-resort.

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Gulfwind Management

Local Knowledge, Worldwide Expertise

Gentle waves lapping at the shore; balmy sea breezes, and warm sunshine – This is paradise. Cradled in the pristine beaches of Santa Rosa Island,The Island Empress seamlessly integrates luxury into nature.Architecture influenced by the area’s rich history, complemented by impeccable attention to detail, makes this a truly legendary resort experience.

Comprised of local and regional Real Estate, Design and Development professionals, Gulfwind Management is set to foster the development of a luxurious alternative to traditional hotel or condominium developments on pristine Pensacola Beach and beyond. Trained to anticipate guests’ needs, Gulfwind Management and staff provide the comfort and personal touches associated with the world most exclusive resorts.The Island Empress will introduce the much coveted fractional-ownership experience to this stretch of unparalleled white sand beaches.

Wide open, isolated beaches and lazy days spent by the water – these are the memories that Gulfwind Managements´ members share of years enjoying Santa Rosa Island and all that it has to offer. The Island Empress is not only a way to capture the essence of this pristine locale; it is also a way to ensure this quiet oasis continues to thrive in the future. We at Gulfwind Management see The Island Empress as a place where families don’t just come for the beautiful beaches; they come for the lifestyle of the resort itself and the area that surrounds it. Looking forward, our goal is to create a place where the staff is memorable, the services are world-class and guests refer to it as “home.”


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Lucian Dancaescu

To Lucian, Pensacola Beach represents family. Born in Romania, Lucian built a career as an engineer for Boeing and Xerox in the Pacific Northwest. Lucian earned his undergraduate degree in engineering and later earned an MBA and PhD. Lucian then spent more than a decade as an entrepreneur in Alaska, before he found his true home on the shores of the Gulf Coast. Lucians moved to the area in 1989, escaping a hectic career to spend more time with his wife and three young children.

A passionate world traveler who has experienced the finest resorts in the world, Lucian has a true appreciation for the multi-faceted vacation – one that encompasses culinary delights, educational opportunities, luxurious accommodations, natural beauty and adventure. This is his dream for The Island Empress, a dream inspired by a vacation with his own family. Now he has come out of retirement to turn his vision of the ultimate family retreat into reality. Lucian is building the Island Empress so that generations of friends and relatives can discover this amazing place – one his own family fell in love with so many years ago.


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Adache Group Architects, Inc.

Design with a Purpose

The design of The Island Empress honors the indelible architecture of visionary George Fletcher, President and CEO of Adache Group, who believes that every building should serve as a reflection of its purpose. At the Island Empress, visitors will come to re-energize – to relax in the sun and take in the beauty of the Emerald Coast. To reflect this purpose, the nature of the architecture of the Island Empress pays homage to outdoor space, a fitting style for Pensacola’s inclination towards outdoor relaxation and entertainment.

An abundant use of glass amplifies the connection to the land and offers each residence a sweeping panoramic view of the majestic waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And the resort’s elaborate interiors echo the unique cultural heritage of Pensacola with a contemporary take on the charming balconies, columns and arches characteristic of Spanish and English colonial style.

Adache Group Architects, Inc. brings almost four decades of experience to the Island Empress development. Adache Group is known for creating architecture that reflects and enhances the natural beauty of the landscape – a key consideration here on this extraordinary stretch of Pensacola Beach.

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Adache Group has designed more than 300 resorts, hotels and condominiums, in addition to more than 300 condominium units in 45 countries spread over five continents. The company’s portfolio includes:

  • ‘W’ Resort and Residences in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Trump Tower in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Sandyport Resort in Nassau, Bahamas
  • Surfcomber Resort in Miami Beach, Florida
  • Mortons Hotel Group
  • InterContinental Resort & Residence in Orlando, Florida
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Architectural Concepts, Inc.

Elegant. Fresh. Contemporary.

Mix that together with a blend of European culture and service, combined with elements of the area’s unique ecology, and you have the stunningly empressive design of The Island Empress.

Owners and guests can experience the island lifestyle, complemented by sophisticated Southern hospitality, thanks to the creative designs of Principal & Creative Director Margit Whitlock of Architectural Concepts, Inc., interior architect for The Island Empress . By showcasing one of the world’s whitest sand beaches and drawing inspiration from the patterns, textures and colors of the area’s incredible ecosystem, The Island Empress will become a truly magical retreat for all who enter her doors.

Architectural Concepts, Inc. (ACI) creates stunning properties designed to enhance the guest experience in world-class resorts, hotels, restaurants, spas and mixed-use developments. And the Island Empress will be no exception. With its reputation for integrating high-style design with uncompromising attention to detail, ACI’s involvement ensures the Island Empress will epitomize the highest standards of creative interior design.

Based in San Diego, California, and led by Margit Whitlock, ACI has won numerous ARDY awards for interior design, architecture and community service.

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The Island Empress is being set apart as one of the most luxurious resorts on the Emerald Coast, thanks in part to the branding efforts underway by Ideaworks, a full-service marketing communications firm located in historical downtown Pensacola.


Ideaworks’ founder, Caron Sjoberg, is a Pensacola “transplant” who has lived in the area for the past 30 years. Since opening in 1995, the firm’s work has netted more than 300 local, regional and national awards for marketing and public relations; more importantly, the team at Ideaworks has helped to market and sell millions of dollars in luxury residential property across the southern U.S.


Now, the team is looking forward to the challenge of marketing a fractional destination closer to home. Committed to excellence, Ideaworks is paving the way for The Island Empress to become known as the pinnacle of hotels and fractional-ownership resorts.


Caron’s background of more than 28 years in marketing strategy, advertising, graphic design and public relations will be instrumental in positioning The Island Empress among the best fractional properties in the world. She founded Ideaworks in 1995 after spending 10 years as creative director for a regional hospital network, and as vice president of corporate communications and operations for a privately-held paging company that was twice named one of Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. Caron was recently named “Outstanding Woman in Business” by the Pensacola Business Journal.


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Shenandoah Advisors

Consulting & Sales Management Services

Luxury real estate, like The Island Empress, demands an elite level of customized consulting and sales management services, and no one understands this better than Shenandoah Advisors. Accustomed to working with clients of the highest caliber, Shenandoah Advisors has introduced more than one billion dollars in luxury real estate around the world. They understand that every property – and every project – has a unique audience and a distinct character which sets it apart from the rest. It is their involvement with The Island Empress that will ensure the long-term success of this unsurpassed resort.

With decades of international development and resort experience in properties from the Caribbean to New Zealand, Jeff Raymond, principal at Shenandoah Advisors, sees The Island Empress as we do…an unspoiled paradise. He, too, remembers exploring the sugar-white beaches and warm waters of the Gulf Coast as a child. These cherished memories are what have inspired his commitment to The Island Empress and its promise to preserve this timeless lifestyle for future generations.

Sean Zimmerman, managing director for Shenandoah Advisors, also believes this in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Impressed by the dedication and accomplishments of The Island Empress management team, he and his team are committed to providing the highest level of consulting and sales management services to ensure the success of this rare and inspiring vision – The Island Empress.

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