Where the heck is Cape Coral, Florida? you may ask. You’re not alone.
As a neighbor to the more well-known resort towns of Sanibel Island and Fort Myers, Cape Coral – although one of the largest Florida cities acreage-wise – hides in the shadows. For tourists, it lacks Florida West Coast’s fabulous beaches, but it does have one manmade beach, a waterpark, and waterfronts on the Caloosahatchee River that create its own sense of place.
It also, now, has the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village, which only opened in December 2012, but already has nabbed a coveted AAA four-diamond award. With rates as low as $99 for a standard room, you’re going to get the most luxury bang for your buck in Florida if you book a summer/fall stay – before the world discovers this bargain and before rates begin to raise as temperatures up north drop.
For summer family travelers, it’s ideal because most of the 263 units have kitchens and bedrooms, from one to three bedrooms — and wait until you see the size, elegance, and comfort of these rooms, all of which overlook the marina and its mangrove fringe.
So let’s just get it out of the way right off, the beach issue. No it does not have a beach, which is what most people do come to Florida for, granted. But it does have a free shuttle boat that takes you to Fort Myers Beach.
Honestly? We did a girls’ weekend there recently, and we opted out of the beach shuttle. The ride, pleasant and scenic enough along local backwaters and bay, takes about 45 minutes each way. So you end up being away from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
With only three days, we wanted to enjoy the resort’s great amenities, so chose instead spa treatments (massages amazing, but the admission process needs some work) and poolside. They have this one secret pool away from the main pool where you can bring your cooler and enjoy removal from families if you’re so inclined. As on-the-lam moms, we were definitely so inclined. And reclined, as much as sipping our cocktails would allow.
Equally ideal for girls getaways, it’s one of those places where you can park the car and keep fully entertained in the shops, bars, and restaurants. The property, part of a gated community, is flat-out gorgeous; we spent most of our time gabbing on the balcony, gazing at the view, and fixing munchies in the modern kitchen we all coveted. Our after-hour forays to the bars resulted one night in partying with newlyweds who had married that day on the lawn. The bride revealed sexy secrets and one poor, brave man dared trying to infiltrate our fold.
For more active pursuits, there’s an exercise trail, fitness room, kayaking, biking, tennis, and boat rentals and tours.
And yes, there’s the Heavenly Bath and Heavenly Bed and even now Heavenly Dog Beds that Westin conceived and everyone has since copied. These, nonetheless, are the most heavenly (smartly designed) bathrooms I’ve ever experienced in a Westin. We also loved the free late checkout option (3 p.m.) on Sundays. How smart is that?!