There is a part of Florida that is so different that any other part of Florida, it almost feels like you have landed in Hawaii. I'm talking about the west coast of Florida. There are quiet little beach side towns like Captiva Island, Naples and Marco Island. We just came home from a weekend away on Marco Island, where we stayed at the Marriott Marco Island Resort & Spa. It is a huge resort that sits right on the beautiful white soft sand of Marco Island. Almost all the rooms look out onto the tranquil Gulf of Mexico, where the water feels as warm as a bath.
Marco Island feels like Florida should feel. It is a small island, where many people spend their winters and some lucky few live year-round. It is only about 18 miles from Naples and only about a 2 hour drive from Fort Lauderdale or Miami.
Our Terrace Penthouse
When we first arrived at the Marriott Marco Island, the first thing we did was check into our Terrace Penthouse. These rooms are on high floors in one of the two towers. The Marriott also has regular tower rooms, which may be more affordable for you. But if you can spend the extra money, I would suggest you get a Terrace Penthouse or Lanai Suite. The Lanai Suites are like little cottages by the beach.
You can get a Lanai Suite on the second floor, which has a balcony and a staircase leading down to the pool and beach. I spoke to some parents who were staying at the hotel and they recommended the Lanai Suites so your kids have direct access to the pool and beach and you don't have to carry all your stuff and kids down elevators and through lobby areas to get outside. If you get a Lanai Suite, you will have a much larger room and they also have large balconies.
When it came to our Penthouse Terrace room, ours had two bathrooms, a large living room and a huge bathroom with a deep tub and shower.
The hotel is right on the beach. The beach is one of my favorite things about the west coast of Florida. Whenever I drive across Alligator Alley to go to the west coast of Florida, it makes me feel like I am in Hawaii. Marco Island has the feel of small-town Florida. It is the picture perfect little town that you would expect to find in Florida. It is a relaxed beach side community where people spend lazy days. Don't think it's boring though. If you want to go out to some great restaurants and even find the party crowd, you can take a short drive to Naples.
The west coast of Florida ha a totally different beach then you find on the east coast in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. The beach has different sand. The sand here is white and very soft. It is also full of shells.
Every morning you will see people scouring the beach for shells and the good ones are not hard to find. The hotel will give you a bucket to collect the shells in and they even leave some out that other guests and hotel staff have found so you get a chance at taking home some special ones.
If you have children, they are going to love this hotel. The hotel have tons of activities for kids. The hotel has a special kids program, where they can go off and do all sorts of things while the adults get some time to relax. There is a bungee jumper on the beach, where kids can bungee jump. If you look at the photo below, you will see they don't actually bungee jump. It's more like a trampoline.
Your kids will also love the pool. The pool has a waterfall an a water slide. There is one warning that I have for adults. If you are not traveling with kids and you want to relax, the pool may be a little noisy for you. The main pool is where everyone goes. It's also where the poolside bar is, so people are having fun and not looking for peace and quiet. The beach may be a better option for adult quiet time.
Your kids will also love the beautiful fish tank in the lobby.
If you are not traveling with kids or you just want to get away from your own, my suggestion is you escape to the spa. If you can spend a day at the spa, you will find a tranquil oasis, where there are no kids and just peace and quite. We spent the day at the spa pool and enjoyed lunch and cocktails. There are two pool at the spa. One is a mineral pool and the other is a regular swimming pool. The staff is amazing at the entire resort and they are especially attentive to their spa guests. My wife and I also got a couples massage, which was around $120 each and the therapists were fantastic. The therapists at the hotel actually give you the massage you want. I have been to so many hotel spas where they don't do a good deep tissue massage because they are either not well trained or nervous about lawsuits.The therapists here were nice and listened to exactly what we wanted and we both left relaxed and free of tension.
There are many hotel options on Marco Island but, if you have kids or if you don't want to spend a fortune on your room, the Marriott is my recommendation. If you love the beach, the water and a Hawaiian feel that is not a long flight from home, this hotel will make you very happy.
My favorites at the Marriott Marco Island:
1) Location - Right on the beach, beautiful sunsets at night and it felt like we were on vacation in Hawaii.
2) Breakfast - They have a huge buffet at the hotel restaurant.
3) The Terrace Penthouses and Lanai Suites - These rooms are large, newly renovated and have great views. The Lanai Suites put you and your family right in a prime location to get to the pol and beach and feel like you have your own little beach side cottage.
What could Make it better?
1) Food & drinks are expensive - This is not unusual for resorts but the breakfast buffet was $25 per person. It was okay with me but may be a little expensive for families to do every day. Drinks by the pool were also expensive. This didn't bother me too much because I've seen much higher prices but people on a vacation budget should be prepared.
For more information about the Marriott Marco Island, take a look at their web site here. Marriott Marco Island Resort & Spa