My review of our Florida week long adventure is below. We had a great week!
My review of our Florida week long adventure is below. We had a great week!
After a much delayed arrival we finally made it to West Palm Beach. First stop was the most lovely Casa Grandview. We arrived well past 10pm but checking in was easy as the owners use a coded door entry system. When we walked into our Penthouse Suite it was very easy to drop our luggage and fall quickly asleep in the comfy bed. The best part of this place is the amazing made to order breakfast. The staff, which included a lovely chat with the owner, goes out of their way to accommodate any requests you may have. The location is close to many great options for a day of fun. We chose to go to Society of the Four Arts and walk around their beautiful gardens. Plenty of great photo ops there. Then on to Mounts Botanical Gardens a short drive away. We also had time for wonderful semi-outdoor lunch at E.R. Bradley’s Saloon. Fantastic salad and terrific service! Yes we’d go again.
That evening we chose to go to Bimini Twist for dinner. Although the décor was lovely the food was not much different than any chain restaurant. Would we return? No. Too many other great options in the area.
Next stop was Bonita Springs to stay at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa. On our drive there we stopped in Everglades City. Having never been to that part of Florida we wanted to see if it was a place we wanted to return to. We found a great local restaurant. City Seafood-thanks to Yelp. The shrimp basket was as fresh as one could hope for and super delicious. Loved the casual atmosphere and enjoyed sitting at the picnic tables and watching the boats. Very friendly staff. Would we return? Yes, in fact we did the very next day! We thought the area had so much to offer that we made arrangements to return the next day for a paddle boat tour with Everglades Adventure tours in Ochopee.
We arrived at the Hyatt around 4pm and realized I had somehow managed two reservations. The staff quickly fixed my error and even gave us a room upgrade.
The room was beautiful with a gorgeous view. Bed was comfortable and furnishings modern and airy. The front desk also graciously sent up chocolate covered strawberries. They do offer champagne or mimosas upon arrival if interested.
I went to the lobby and spoke with the concierge about dinner options as it was New Year’s Eve. The hotel had an extravagant buffet planned for that evening but that was more than we were looking for. The concierge made us a reservation at a wonderful restaurant only 5 minutes away. Blue Water Bistro. Absolutely perfect! Great service and fresh seafood options. Truly wonderful evening and yes we would return!
Back at the resort we enjoyed walking around the grounds which included so many options for all age groups. A nature trail, several beautiful pools, free bikes to use, even marshmallows for the many fire pits throughout the resort. We enjoyed the great biking options throughout the area.
The next morning we had plans to return to Ochopee and got an early start. First stop was a great breakfast place. First Watch. Locally owned and great service. Good prices and delicious. Yes we’d return!
We had a great two hours with our guide from Everglades Adventure Tours. It was a picture perfect day and riding down the narrow waterway seeing beautiful birds, a mother alligator and her babies made it a great adventure.
As I mentioned we enjoyed City Seafood so much we returned for another great meal.
Our next day had us travelling to Clearwater. Since the weather report for that stop was calling for very cool temps we decided to take a stop in Sarasota first. My husband found a great fishing guide and was able to take an afternoon fishing trip. Mangrove Charters. Capt. Kelly Kurtz. I was thrilled for my husband and happy I had the chance to visit Marie Selby Gardens while he was busy catching lots of fish.
The gardens are full of amazing orchids in their conservatory. A brand new outdoor children’s play area! After two hours of walking and photographing the weather was beginning to turn and it was time to pick up my fisherman. He was full of smiles and said the Captain was great. Yes! He’d call upon him again in the future.
We made it to Clearwater after a terrible rainstorm. Temperatures had dropped and it was down right cold! Staff was very welcoming and again a room upgrade! The room itself was lovely and we would see the next morning that the oceanview was indeed a treat. The only complaint about the room is the bathroom design. It had louvered windows that opened to the sleeping area. Although I realize the concept is so people can sit in the tub and watch TV the idea in reality is pretty awful. There’s no privacy for the person in the bathroom! Reminds me of the W Hotel chain. Perhaps a good idea in theory but very impractical. The hotel also charges a $25 resort fee of which I was aware when I made my plans. However for future guests it’s important to know that when the weather is terrible, as it was, that fee really offers nothing for the guest. Free WiFi. So in essence we paid $25 for WiFi. Would we return? No. The staff was indeed wonderful and the room lovely but the area is just so congested we felt there are many other locations in Florida which offer beautiful options without the traffic. We did take the opportunity to try their highly rated restaurant. Caretta on the Gulf. Our server was very helpful and attentive. The food however was frankly just ok. We dine out frequently and have had the good fortune of some amazing meals around the country and the globe. The décor was rather unfeeling and somewhat cold-in our humble opinion. No we wouldn’t return.
Our last stop was a very familiar destination. Orlando. We stopped along the route for an awesome sandwich at Wright’s Gourmet House. A great local spot with larger than life sandwiches. Very friendly staff and Yes! We would return!
We chose to stay in Celebration at the Bohemian Hotel. We like Celebration and knew by the end of our adventure we’d just want a place to lay our heads. As for the hotel we’ve dined here before and knew it was nothing outstanding. However the hotel itself is nothing more than a glorified Hampton Inn. The staff was fine but the room looked tired and dated. A rather high price to pay for a simple stay but we wanted the convenience of Celebration. With temperatures of only 47 degrees we weren’t going to waste a day at any of the parks. We chose to go to Downtown Disney and enjoy a movie at the dine-in theater. We do love this concept and had a great evening there.
So that was our great week in Florida!
Sounds like you had a wide variety of experiences, and a bit of a whistlestop tour. Thanks for the TR.
Do you think you might have enjoyed staying longer in each place rather than rushing about?
When did you go and what hotel did you stay at in Clearwater? We always stat at the Marriott Suites on Sand Key, just over the bridge from Clearwater Beach and a lot quieter.Edited: 05 January 2014, 11:59
Thanks for posting.
We wanted to check out different places. We both love to drive. We've spent many many vacations in Orlando and really wanted to experience different locations in Florida. From our trip we learned that we would go back to the Hyatt in Bonita Springs with our large family for a nice vacation. That resort was full of great things for all ages. Forgot to mention the hotel in Clearwater was The Sandpearl. Very pretty but compared to the Hyatt in Bonita Springs we felt the price was high. Granted you are right on the beach which is very important to many. Since the weather made the beach a no go it ended up being very pricey with little to do. Again, the traffic getting into the Sandpearl on a nice day would be a nightmare. The clerk at the gift shop was very sweet and we discussed her challenges of getting to work. Takes her over an hour-every day! And with a minimal paycheck I can't imagine her staying there for long with that commute. But maybe that's common in the area. Certainly wouldn't be a choice I'd like to make. Again, the staff was very gracious there. Just didn't like the area. And the bathroom design really needs to be changed. Wasn't our first time to Clearwater but we wanted a stop in between Bonita Springs and Orlando. We had been to Sarasota before and loved John and Mabel Ringling Museum. This time we didn't want to stay over there but just enjoy it for a day. The gardens were truly a highlight of my trip and the fishing was top notch for my husband. All in all I'd return first to Bonita Springs/Naples for a longer stay. If I were just looking for a convenient and nice location for a place near Orlando I'd look at renting a place in Celebration. I love volunteering at Give Kids The World in Kissmmee and Celebration would be a great place to stay. Just not the Bohemian!
It sounds you don't like big city built up beaches, I dont' either so no problem.
And great you got out and about to see some different areas this time for future visits.
If you are staying for longer, and dont' need a full service hotel, there are some fabulous islands with fabulous condos to rent.
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