Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa

I didn’t intend to neglect this blog, but other than traveling for the Christmas holidays, it’s been too cold to do much sightseeing in the Grand Strand. I ventured south recently to one unforgettable location, however, and I am delighted to tell you all about it.

I climbed out of the rental car and walked into the hotel lobby. I have just stepped into paradise! Who wouldn’t feel as though they had died and reached the heavenly portals after arriving at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa in southwest Florida in March, 2014?

I have no right to complain. I live in coastal South Carolina, but I have to say it’s been an unusually cold winter there. Okay, I know. At least I didn’t have to shovel snow, but do two ice storms count for something? At any rate, I was so happy to shed the winter clothing--black, brown and gray--and wear something coral or yellow or turquoise!

This resort is praiseworthy regardless of what level of ugliness one has experienced in the winter. Located at the last exit before entering the Sanibel Causeway, it is a tucked away oasis that dramatically pleases the senses.

With easy access from Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, we arrived at our hotel at lunchtime. Unfortunately, we were rather on the early side, and our room was not yet ready. No problem, we retreated to the Tarpon House Restaurant for a bite to eat while the bellman temporarily stored our luggage.

My Cobb salad was attractive and delicious, and the view of the pool area and extending out into San Carlos Bay was spectacular. On a gloriously sunny day, the resort was buzzing with outdoor activity.

In our room on the 11th floor, I could barely tear myself away from our balcony and its amazing view, but I knew I had to unpack and settle in. Chores complete, I began to explore the property, discovering a resort-owned yacht that offers a sunset dinner cruise. Add that to the To Do list.

My stroll also led to the spa and fitness center and I took note of a restaurant, Courtside Steakhouse, that is  open for dinner.

Chatting with other guests in the elevator, I met several people who were dreading their return from the lovely resort back into the misery of snow and the seemingly never-ending winter. I almost felt guilty that at the end of my visit, I’ll only be returning to the Myrtle Beach area. Well, not really THAT guilty.

What does one do at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa? Once one recovers from being spellbound by the exquisite views, one can survey the on-property activity options. There were docks offering boat rentals, water sports equipment such as kayaks, wave runners, paddle boards and fishing.

As far as my eyes could see, there was a huge expanse of water which was dotted with tiny islands. Zipping back and forth across the waterway, it resembled the Indy 500 with a constant motion of sailboats, speedboats, fishing boats, tour boats dashing to and from Sanibel Island.

Lounge chairs adorned with plush green towels surrounded the two pools. An inviting Jacuzzi was strategically positioned to enjoy the panoramic views. There is also a small, private beach for guests who love to feel the grains of sand between their toes. The Cove pool bar is open for lunch and is handy for remaining hydrated. Service is available if one raises the little flag on the lounge chair. Not so bad at all!

Pelicans soared by and perched on the piers, taking off to swoop down into the water to enjoy some fishing of their own. People seemed to be happy just basking in the warmth of the sunshine. Some probably haven’t worn a pair of sunglasses in months! Also, it’s easy to forget about everything stressful in life when surrounded by such natural, peaceful beauty.

My next posts will cover the sunset dinner cruise on the Sanibel Harbour Princess, a day trip to Key West on the Key West Express that departs from Fort Myers, and a few other choice highlights from this trip.

Stay tuned for more fun!
Mary Anne Benedetto

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!