Posts Tagged With: hotel

Take in the view at the Bayfront Inn

Bayfront Inn sign


I had intended for my next four-day weekend getaway to be on Marco Island, Florida. Now, Marco Island is a lovely place, but after some research, I found that there was much more to do in nearby Naples. (I’ll be writing about all those fun activities in weeks to come.) And I also found I could book a really nice hotel in Naples at an affordable price. That hotel was the Bayfront Inn on 5th Avenue.

Bayfront RoomThe luxury bay view room indeed had a wonderful view of the bay. The pillow-top beds were very comfortable. (Premium luxury rooms have Sleep Number beds.) And the huge shower was great.

There’s complimentary on-site parking, even a small parking garage. There’s a lovely heated pool and spa, although the pool seemed rather cold to me. And the Bayfront Inn is within walking distance of touristy Tin City and the upscale shops of 5th Avenue. This 5th Avenue is similar to its namesake in New York City with many posh restaurants and quirky, fun stores.

The Bayfront Inn is less than a mile from the beach. They have a 12 slip marinaBayfront Pool where you can dock your own boat or charter or rent one. The Naples Trolley Tour has a pickup/drop off point on site and you can catch a water shuttle right outside the hotel. Segway, kayak and bicycle rentals are also available.

The restaurant, The Bambu Tropical Grille, is a covered and open-aired dining area where you can sit by the marina and grab a bite to eat or sip your favorite tropical drink. And in my opinion, they make those drinks nice and strong.

Bayfront ViewI do have to say there were a few negatives at the Bayfront Inn, dropping the rating down from 5 to 4 paws. The landline phone was not working, but the front desk did send someone up to repair it right away. And unfortunately, there are a few little things that bothered me that are out of the hotel’s control. The Bayfront Inn is located on a major roadway, so there was a lot of noisy traffic. And the hotel is directly in the flight path of Naples Municipal Airport. Also, though it’s great that there’s weekend entertainment down near the marina, the music was quite loud and could be heard even though the windows were closed on our 4th floor room.

But overall, the Bayfront is a great place and I would stay there again. The staff was very friendly and attentive. The room was clean and comfortable and the location centrally located to all there is to see and do in Naples.

Dates of Visit:  June 2010 & March 2011

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Sanibel’s Song of the Sea


A few weeks ago, I wrote about beautiful Sanibel Island and how much I love visiting there. It’s the perfect place for a short romantic getaway, especially if you stay at the charming Song of the Sea.

This small, intimate inn is right on the beach. The 30, newly-renovated guest rooms are decorated in a French country motif. All have kitchenettes, a full refrigerator, microwave, flat screen TV and screened in porches. Our room overlooked the heated outdoor pool.


Where other hotels charge for certain amenities, many are complimentary at Song of the Sea. Parking is on site and free. You have use of their bicycles – ideal for touring around the island. Beach umbrellas and chairs are at your disposal. Breakfast, including fresh-made Belgian waffles, is free. And you’ll find a complimentary bottle of wine in your room upon check-in.


I was very pleased with this hotel. Cheryl, the manager at the front desk when we checked in, was extremely friendly and helpful. She provided us with maps and a coupon book to use on the island. The only thing that I wasn’t crazy about was that the room had tile floors which tended to be a bit dirty. I had to wash my feet before bed each night! But I would stay at Song of the Sea again. It’s very reasonably priced for all that they offer, plus it’s right on the beach. We got a great deal through AAA.


Song of the Sea is one of four properties in the Sanibel Collection. The others are the Sanibel Inn, Sunset Beach Inn and the Seaside Inn.

Dates of Visit:  October 2012

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Port Orleans Resort


With Walt Disney World being so close to Orlando where I live, it’s easy to drive down to the theme parks just for the day. But sometimes, it’s nice to get away for a short Disney vacation and stay over for a night…or two.

One of the nicest, of the modestly priced resorts at Walt Disney World, is Port Orleans, nestled along the banks of the Sassagoula River. The resort is made up of two distinct sections or parishes: Riverside and The French Quarter. For both of our visits, we stayed in the Riverside section. Riverside consists of the Southern plantation style mansions of Magnolia Bend (where we stayed in 2010) and the rustic cottages of Alligator Bayou (where we stayed in 2011). The architecture of the French Quarter is, of course, inspired by the famous area in New Orleans.

This picturesque waterfront resort is a wonderfully quiet change from some of the other busier Disney resort hotels. It really feels like you’ve stepped back in time or at least away from the hectic life you left behind.

There are a couple of restaurants and shops on property and plenty of things to do if you want to take a break from the theme parks. The Riverside Mill Food Court serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Depending on what building your room is in, it can be a bit of a walk to Riverside Mill Food Court, but it is a nice quiet walk through the property. We had breakfast there every morning where I enjoyed a Mickey Mouse waffle! For a sit down dinner, there’s Boatwright’s which serves steaks, prime rib and seafood. Fulton’s General Store carries Disney merchandise, snacks, beverages and sundries.

For recreation you can swim in one of the many pools around the property, rent bicycles or boats, take a guided fishing excursion or board a horse-drawn carriage for a romantic ride through the resort.

Port Orleans is on Disney property, but not directly connected by boat or monorail to any of the theme parks. However, bus service is easily available to take you to all theme parks and water parks.

There is also a riverboat that can take you to the Downtown Disney Marketplace and West End. This tranquil, scenic ride is quite lovely and relaxing and stops at both Riverside and The French Quarter. If you get a chance to take the boat back at night, you might see rows of herons lined up on the banks of the river. They wait for the riverboats to churn up the water and bring fish to the surface. It’s a pretty interesting sight to see all these white birds waiting to catch their dinner!

There’s no question that the next time we plan a Disney World getaway, we’ll book a stay at Port Orleans. For the money, it’s the best deal going.


Dates of Visit:  June 2010 & March 2011

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The Hoyt House Bed & Breakfast

The Hoyt House, Amelia Island, FL


Although my experience with Bed & Breakfasts in Florida is very limited, I think I’ve found the place that surely sets the standard.  It’s the Hoyt House on Amelia Island.

This lovely home stands on the corners of 8th Street and Centre Street in downtown Amelia Island, in the heart of the town’s historic district.  It’s not the oldest of the mansions on the island, built in 1905, but it is quite beautiful and has a colorful history.  And we can thank the newest innkeepers, Myrta and Deborah, for creating what I consider more than your average bed and breakfast.

Their motto is “To Exceed Your Expectations” and indeed they do with extras that you don’t get from other B&Bs in the area, or probably anywhere else: concierge service, flat screen TVs with DVD players in the rooms, an extensive DVD library, white noise machines to soothe you to sleep, free use of bicycles, complimentary popcorn at 4pm, complimentary beer and wine at Happy Hour in the new pub-style bar, and of course, the made to order breakfast which is second to none.

Deborah prides herself in using fresh, organic ingredients from the local Farmer’s Market to create her breakfast delights.  French pressed coffee, your choice of juice and gigantic sticky buns accompany the three-course breakfast.

The Hoyt House has 10 rooms, all decorated differently.  We stayed in the Oliver Room, Room #3, downstairs on the side of the house farthest from the street with a view of the pool.  This room is decorated in soft pastel colors and can be configured with one king sized bed or two twins.

The well-kept grounds do include a pool, hot tub, gazebo and hammock, but an unusual cold snap kept us from enjoying those amenities.

With off street, onsite parking you can park your car at the Hoyt House and walk to all the restaurants, shops and the history museum which are only blocks away.

Being on the main street unfortunately has its downside.  8th Street leads directly a nearby paper mill and trucks do drive by often and can be quite loud.  The Hoyt House does seem to be quieter inside and the white noise machines help tremendously to keep the truck sounds to a minimum at night.

I would highly recommend a stay at the Hoyt House.  Deborah and Myrta have created a very inviting and comfortable inn.  They spent several hours with us talking about how they came to own the Hoyt House, the history of the house and their plans to continue improving and enhancing the property.

Thank you Myrta and Deborah for your hospitality.  We hope to come see you again soon.

Dates of visit:  January 4, 2011 to January 6, 2011

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