Today travel can be a cattle-call onto a plane, headed to a vacation with non-stop rides, character meals and the feeling that if you miss one experience, your whole vacation was a waste. It’s vacation as life…the life you were trying to get away from, the hustle and bustle you wanted to leave behind, but instead, you brought it with you!
Shouldn’t vacations be just that? A vacation, a break from the stress, the noise, the fight-or-flight hormones you release every day just to keep pace? Sure, theme parks and adventure have their place, but what about when you need to recharge? To relax and just be? But here’s the catch…you have kids, and they have needs, needs for fun, and stimulation, and adventure. This is, as they say, “quite a pickle”.
But it doesn’t have to be. There are special places that walk the tightrope of civility and rejuvenation for the breadwinners and homemakers with the fun and entertainment needs of kids. A new favorite on our list is the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, just outside Fort Myers, FL. A few months back we sent friends of ours there and they loved it so much we had to check it out for ourselves (and our readers). We were delighted to be hosted by the resort to bring you this review.
Skipping all the pleasantries, here’s the bottom line, it’s a top-notch hotel with an amazing spa, a 3-acre waterpark with a lazy river, waterslides, and more. On that alone, you should go; but the beauty, as always, is in the details.
One of the details that jumps out as you enter the hotel is Cool Beans coffee bar. Sure, just about all top hotels serve Starbucks now, but what makes this place special is the assortment of food and drinks, as well as little touches like the chessboards at the tables. For food, there’s a range of candies and treats, as well as gourmet sandwiches and baked goods. You can even get picnic lunches for your trip to the private beach (more on that later).
As you continue through check-in and arrive at your room, the details that aid in your journey to relaxation include the in-room coffee maker and refrigerator. No mini-bar here for the kids to pilfer and rack up a huge bill, just a fridge for essentials to keep everyone snacking happy.
Our rooms were adjoining so we could keep an eye on the kids (or not, when we wanted a little peace and quiet). And both rooms came with a balcony and overlooked the bay and the Gulf of Mexico. We could see even dolphins off in the distance from our room.
While our goal on this trip was relaxation, we didn’t want anyone to be bored, and we planned appropriately. Our first morning we divided and conquered, as they say. The four of us took off in different directions for our own forms of fun. I went to play golf at Raptor Bay. I’m not much of a golfer, but I had one of the best rounds I can remember. The club partnered me with a couple of very nice gents who played at a similar level. I was given rental clubs that were better than my own and found the course to be forgiving, without being dull. I know several solid golfers who would enjoy the course as much as I did.
Meanwhile' my wife went off to the Stillwater Spa for a massage, which she described as “heavenly”. The Spa has all the amenities one expects, and a not-so-small detail is that it's eco-friendly and carbon-neutral to put your mind at ease as you put your body at ease.
Our youngest went off to the kids club where Brittany took her on an adventure through the resort that included rock climbing, crafts, waterslides, and more. The kids club is not some dank room where kids color, but an outing around the property where kids experience the myriad of activities available on a guided excursion.
Lastly, my teenage son took a few hours to catch up on his video games. I know, I know, but he also described it as “heavenly”…to each his own.
After our “solo” activities we regrouped for family time. And there were plenty of options, first being the pool and water park area. We spent a good amount of free time here with a mix of sliding, lazy-rivering (probably not a word), and just swimming in the pool. There was something very special about the four of us making an inner tube train and floating peacefully together around and around.
A must-do excursion while there is the trip to Big Hickory Island. The short boat ride alone is worth the trip. We were escorted by a mama and young dolphin and were able to see them from just a few feet away. Our captain did an excellent job of maximizing our time with these amazing wild animals. Again a small detail that made a huge difference.
Upon arrival at the island, we strolled from the bay side to the gulf side and selected our lounges under an umbrella. We brought lunch and drinks from Cool Beans and had no worries. We swam in the warm waters of the gulf, strolled along the beach and collected shells, and even managed to read a book…heaven.
To cap off our day we had a family dinner at Tarpon Bay restaurant. As one would expect, seafood is the theme here, with amazing ceviche, oysters, and other shellfish and fresh fish, from local grouper to Maine lobster. Other options include steak, organic chicken, and of course a kids menu. Everything was outstanding, but the “BG” bacon wrapped grouper was a favorite.
Looking back, there was nothing about this stay that stressed us out. You know that feeling that you need a vacation from your vacation? Nope, none of that. The Hyatt Coconut Point stands out as an oasis in a bustling world of vacation options. There are times when you want a vacation, and times when you need a vacation. This hotel is one to choose for the latter.
*Our stay was provided by the Resort for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.