Beachview Cottages on Sanibel

View of Beachview Cottages
View of Beachview Cottages

A colorful cottage right on the sand, steps from the Gulf of Mexico. What more could you ask for on Sanibel? Beachview Cottages have exactly what I want when I’m looking for accommodations on the beach – location and good rates. We stayed in one of their smaller units but it was still plenty big. It had a full kitchen, dining room table, separate living area with couch and a bedroom (no door, just a tall wall separating it from the rest of the unit) with two full beds.

Summer rates are good, and they have internet specials so be sure to check out their website (link attached above). Their current special is “When you reserve a room for 3 nights or more from April 10, 2016 through August 31, 2016, we’ll give you a 4th night free on select cottages!” Now, that’s a deal, folks! Did I mention that they’re pet-friendly? Yes, they are! See their exclusions and rules on their site.

Each unit has its own parking space(s) and their location on West Gulf Drive is excellent – away from the condo crowds of East Gulf Drive. (Nothing against East Gulf…I love that side, too, but I am a little partial to less people on the beach.)

Anyhow, I hope you’ll check it out. This place is owned by ‘Tween Waters Resort & Spa and their sister resort is also right next door, West Wind Inn. All good places.


Little Palm Island: Luxury in the Lower Keys

Little Palm Island is luxury at every turn.
Little Palm Island is luxury at every turn.

Little Palm Island Resort & Spa in the Lower Keys is so spectacular, you’ll be pinching yourself over and over to be sure you’re not dreaming. It’s like going to the Pacific Islands — but don’t need a passport and it’s a whole lot closer! (Although you will have to take a boat or a seaplane to get there as it’s several miles offshore.)

Little Palm Island bugalow
Living area of a Little Palm Island bungalow.

This private island resort owned by Noble House sits on 5.5 acres in the Atlantic, off Little Torch Key at about Mile Marker 28.5. You can drive and leave your car at their welcome center, where a motor yacht will whisk you to the island while keeping you dry. Dolphins love to play in the wake of the boat, which is a really nice welcome. Another nice welcome is your Gumpy Slumber cocktail that you’re given upon arrival. Ohh, it’s so good!

Bedroom of a Little Palm Island bungalow.
Bedroom of a Little Palm Island bungalow.

Little Palm Island is totally private, only 30 stand-alone bungalows are available and each offers the ideal blend of comfort and opulence. If you’ve never showered under the stars, you will want to try it at your bungalow. Mosquito netting drapes the beds in pure romance, and there are no phones or TVs to distract you from anything. There is also a no-cellphone rule in public areas. If you’re looking to disconnect, this resort is your answered prayer. One more thing, no one under 16 is allowed on island. Hello, babysitter? (AKA grandma.)

There is one restaurant onsite that will serve all your meals and you can even dine with your feet in the sand. Key deer sometimes come wandering through, right by your table, or right by your pool chaise lounger. These are tiny deer about the size of a dog, and they’re only found in the Lower Keys. They just add another coolness factor that you can’t find anywhere else.

Dine with your feet in the sand at Little Palm Island.
All new meaning to oceanside dining at Little Palm Island.

While you’re here, you can take out kayaks, Boston Whaler skiffs, book a dive trip to Looe Key (amazing!), play giant chess, relax in the sun, nap in the shade, take an astronomy class, swim in the lagoon-style pool, and just enjoy the peacefulness of your privileged surroundings. I almost forgot to mention the onsite spa. It’s small but good things come in small packages.

Luxury and privacy isn’t cheap, but it is worth it. It’s in a word, unforgettable. And you never know who might see here, after all, presidents and movie stars tend to frequent its secluded shores.



Amara Cay Resort in Islamorada

Your day is made in the shade at Amara Cay.

Amara Cay Resort in Islamorada is a new favorite. It opened this summer (2015) at the site of the former Hampton Inn (and Outback Steakhouse) at Mile Marker 80. For those of you who grew up in the Keys like I did, this was also formerly the site of Ocean 80. Now that you know where it is, let me tell you what they offer.

Interior of lobby at Amara Cay.

The lobby is cool – ultra cool. They have these swing chairs that make it fun to wait for someone. And the restaurant in the lobby, OltreMare, offers Italian seafood in a comfortable setting. They make their own pasta every day! The fettuccine is so creamy and the presentation will make you go, “Oooooh!” I also had fresh cobia (chef’s special that day) and I think it’s the best I’ve ever had. Meatball appetizer also fantastic. It’s one dinner that’s worth the money.

Interior of an oceanfront room at Amara Cay.

Their rooms have been redone in a simplistic, modern-chic design. The rooms reminded me of a bachelor pad, in a very good way. Clean walls with little artwork, couch, big TV, a wine chiller and bar area, comfy beds and a good bathroom. I lucked into an ocean view room and it was spectacular.


Here is a photo of the pool deck. There is a full bar outside here to the right so you can overlook the pool or the Atlantic.

Pool deck on the ocean at Amara Cay.

You can rent kayaks or go diving with their onsite dive center, Sea Monkeys. Great way to go explore for seashells 🙂

Kayaking from Sea Monkeys Dive Center at Amara Cay.