When it comes to island vacations, the fun begins before you even get to your hotel, or to the island itself: first, you have to cross the water that surrounds it. The hour-long drive to South Seas Island Resort over the Sanibel Causeway is a picturesque introduction to what's to come: exotic birds, other-worldly plant life, and dramatic sky.
When you arrive at the 300-acre property on Captiva Island, you're given a tag for your car, a map for exploration, and a wristband of your color of choice. (The wristband is for guest authentication purposes -- a program that was instituted last year. Any potential discomfort is offset by the many wristband color choices.)
The resort, just as the island itself, prides itself on the beauty of the surrounding nature. (Pelicans hang out on a fence in the water, yards away from hotel balconies.) To give the man-made innovations a little credit, bike and golf car rentals make this expansive resort accessible, with bikes being by far the cheaper option, at $5 per day. Golf carts will run you $135 for the first day, and $75 each day after that. If you'd rather spend your money elsewhere, a free, property-wide trolley will pick you up and drop you off at multiple stops on the property between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m..
You’ll need a break from walking or peddling after a decadent meal at the resort's on-site restaurants. Seafood features prominently, from lobster lunch wraps to the catch of the day to fish tacos. This isn't to say that you (or your kids) would have a hard time finding burgers and fries, pizza, ice cream and a serious candy selection at the resort. There is also a deli/ convenience store on site, where you can pick up everything from sandwiches to fishing tackle to beer, all of which can be taken down to the beach.
Here, you won't see hotel staff imposing beach volleyball, pool aerobics, drinking games, or anything else on you; there are no mixers or activities to attend (or avoid).
The room itself is refreshingly minimalist, with a marina-facing balcony, a generous bathroom (complete with his and hers sinks) and oversize bathtub, and a mini fridge. All in all, it’s a great little haven for watching movies on the flat screen TV on rainy afternoons.
But whether you’re dozing in your room or on the beach, no one and nothing really demands your attention, forces you to schedule, worry, or wear closed-toe shoes. Instead, South Seas and Captiva island just calmly envelops you, wristband and all.
Captiva and Sanibel Island are currently offering deals to this property, and others in the area. Visit the web site to browse and book.