Being Canadian, born and raised whenever I think of a time of year to visit the US state of Florida, the colder winter months come to mind. Growing up as a kid often our family vacations had us hitting the beach in the sunshine state while we escaped the cooler months and winter back home. It never dawned on me that it might also be a nice place to visit in the summer until just recently when I visited Florida in August to stay at a couple Marriott hotels.
I tell you fellow Canadians, we have it all wrong! Most would assume that Florida would be beyond bareable hot in the summer months. But they my friends would be wrong. While there, the temperatures were very warm, but if it is sun and heat that you seek then it is exactly what you wanted. It was the type of heat where you beginning sweating as you lay by the pool but you then cool off with a quick dip or a refreshing sip of your beverage like an Arnie Palmer. To me it wasn’t the kind of hot that was muggy and just made me angry and whiney. It was the nice heat that you look for when on a beach vacation. Also it might of helped that I visited the spa frequently and enjoyed some delicious food daily.
Also “Hello!” the rates are even better to visit that time of year when it is less busy.
Here is a little bit more about my trip:
On my visit I traveled around the South West Coast. I flew into the Fort Meyers airport, picked up my rental car and drove to the Sanibel Harbour Marriott for my first two night stay. My first order of business was the spa where I was offered up three treatments from sound therapy to a body scrub then full body massage complimented with cold cucumbers for my eyes and my own tiny bottle of champagne. From there I ate the most amazing steak of my life at the Courtside Steakhouse and then retreated full and happy to my room with king sized bed and perfect view of the sunset.
Sunset from my room at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott.
I will also say that for being a big hotel I found the staff at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott to be EXTREMELY friendly. Every member of staff I walked by took the time to stop and say hello to me. I later quizzed a member of staff about this and learned its part of their job to make the guests feel welcome – if a guest is within 5 feet of you say “hello”. Part of the reason I often don’t like big hotels is because I just feel like a number, but having everyone being so friendly like this made me feel a lot more at home. It was really nice. Unless you don’t like talking to people that is… ;)
On my second day in Florida I drove to the Marco Island Marriott to spend the day. The whole area of Marco Island was really neat and I wish I could of spent more time there, it kind of resembled Venice with waterways everywhere except there were a lot of cars and it didn’t have that European feel. At the Marco Island Marriott I was meant to go on a Wave Runner Excursion through Ten Thousand Islands which would take me through mangrove forests to see the wildlife and maybe even dolphins but unfortunately the waves were too choppy that day and it was cancelled. Although, I have heard great things about the experience. Instead I ended up at the spa again (yay! Can’t complain) and the Spa at the Marco Island Marriott was one of the most gorgeous that I have ever seen.
Hanging out by the epsom salt pool at the Marco Island Marriott Spa.
As you walk towards the spa you walk past an inclosed pool area for spa guests only, with sun chairs, a nice sized pool, hot tub and a hot tub with epsom salts perfect for relaxing in after a massage. The front desk of the spa is in a grand foyer where they whisk you up stairs and into a robe to await your treatment. In the waiting room there are drinks and tasty trail mix, magazines to read and a nice balcony looking towards the beach. (I am told the women’s side is a lot nicer but apparently on the mens side they have a TV with sports on 24/7). Aside from treatments in the spa there is also a sauna and a steam room, an indoor hot pool next to the cold and refreshing plunge pool. A lovely place to spend the day relaxing.
After my spa treatment I had lunch at the properties eat-in / take out restaurant Pazzi’s then I made my way to one of the hammocks overlooking the beach.
…beach or pool. Which would you choose? I wish I had, had more time to spend there to sample a little bit of both. The Maro Island Marriott is definitely a hotel that I want to visit again.
The next day I made my way to the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. I was excited to get back to St. Petersburg. I hadn’t been there since I was a little kid and all I really remembered was the beach and pretty much staying in the pool 24/7. I wish I could say much more about it now. I had planned on exploring the area but instead I ended up staying at the Vinoy my whole time.
The Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club.
This grand old hotel, full of charm kept me quite occupied. From getting a mani & pedi in the spa, to eating delicious meals, enjoying the pool and more the Vinoy quickly became one of my most favorite hotels that I have been to in a while. Check out my video review of the Vinoy and you might agree.
I know by now you might be thinking. Ya, ya it was a press trip you were working and got asked to go to these places of course you are saying good things about them. I swear to you they were as great as I have said. My only qualm on the whole trip was those damn noseum bugs that kept attacking me. They were however no fault of the hotels, they cover the entire state!
I hope I have encouraged you to give Florida a chance in the summertime. And why not this summertime/fall? If you book between now and September 25, 2013 using the booking code ZX0 at www.
Special thanks again to the Marriott hotels for having me and to Diamon PR. As always all opinions and views expressed are my own.