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Girlfriends’ Guide to a Whole Day of Dining at ‘Tween Waters Inn

Dining

I get asked this question a lot: is ‘Tween Waters Inn all-inclusive?

You won’t find many all-inclusive resorts that include meals in Florida — it’s just not very common. But what I love about ‘Tween Waters Inn especially, is that the resort doesn’t have to be all-inclusive for you to never leave the property!

The really great thing about ‘Tween Waters Inn is you can dine — breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and dessert — all within the property’s restaurants and snack shops, and if that leaves you wanting more, their studios, suites and cottages contain kitchens to whip a quick meal too!

I always start my day with breakfast over at Captiva House. I spring for the warm full breakfast, because while the homemade pastries, fruits and yogurt are deee-vine, I like to start my day with something to warm my insides, like their buttermilk pancakes or breakfast quesadilla. Both are reasonably priced at under $10, and I’m willing to swing for something so delicious and filling.

After that, I’m usually off to the beach to walk off the meal, and then I head on over to the pool for a little sunning. By lunch, I’m hungry for a wrap from Oasis Pool Bar. Surprisingly, for pool bar food, these are awesomesauce. I am actually craving a chicken caesar wrap right now.

Vacations are meant for splurging, so of course I’m going to order up some ice cream from ‘Tweens Beans — the coffee and snack shop window at the South end of the pool area — to cool off.

Dinner comes in a variety of options, and depends on my mood. Sometimes I’m really just in the mood for a pizza or grouper while I listen to a little live music, so I head on over to Crow’s Nest. Other times call for a decadent meal (usually when I haven’t snacked all day at the Pool Bar) at Captiva House.

While you’ll find it has a formal elegance about the food (and fancy piano player), it’s a casual atmosphere that still allows me to be informal, and maintain my “no worries” vacation mentality. I basically love everything on the menu, but I can’t help myself — even if I’m not hungry, I still have to start off with a bowl of blue crab bisque (a customer favorite). After that, I’m usually pretty adventurous and will try different entrees each time, but my go-to has to be the spicy ahi tuna or seafood risotto.

Okay, so yeah, when I’m on vacation, I’M ON VACATION. I might have mentioned that a few times. So of course I’m going to finish the day with delectable tuxedo cake. I’ll walk the whole Captiva Island for another day of great food like this from ‘Tween Waters Inn.

 

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Rock in New Year’s Eve at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa

Sanibel New Year's EveWhere will you choose to spend the last night (New Year’s Eve) of 2016? I’ll be rocking in the New Year at the Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa! With a live band, champagne toast, late night bites, shot specials and even a midnight balloon drop, I can’t imagine a better place to ring (or rock) in the New Year.

The general consensus is that 2016 has been rough, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m ready to start the year fresh, but before I welcome in 2017, I really need to let loose and blow the doors off of 2016 with a great New Year’s Eve party.

Starting at 9PM and ending around 2AM, the Crow’s Nest will sell $20 wristbands at the door, which includes champagne, free bites, Jell-O shot specials and a midnight balloon drop. PLUS! Wristbands are $10 off with dinner reservations at Captiva House, where they’re featuring a luxurious and delectable New Year’s Eve menu.

After a bit of drinking and dancing with the live band “Bad Banditos,” I plan to take advantage of some free late night bites, including pork egg rolls, buffalo chicken wings, fried pickle spears and chicken quesadilla rolls (ummm, yum!), which make for the perfect party snacks.

But the real feature I’m looking forward to on New Year’s Eve is the balloon drop. I mean, of course I’ll have to kiss my husband at the ball drop, but after that, forget him! Who doesn’t love a good balloon drop — even Bill Clinton couldn’t resist one at this year’s DNC (see here).

And well, since you’re rocking in the New Year in style, the best option is stay overnight at ‘Tween Waters Inn so that you can enjoy the party, and wake up to 2017 in paradise!

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The Holidays on Captiva Island | ‘Tween Waters Inn Tree Lighting

Holiday Tree Lighting

Holidays Tree LightingThe first year I moved to Florida, I worried that the holidays wouldn’t be quite the same as living in Wisconsin. No dreaming of a white Christmas. No bundled shoppers hurrying from one store to another. Even the thought of cuddling up by the fireplace had me taking off another layer of clothing. And I was right — the holidays aren’t quite the same…but in some ways, they’re even better!

There’s something really magical about the holidays on Captiva Island. Every year, ‘Tween Waters Inn hosts an annual Tree Lighting Ceremony the day after Thanksgiving, and it’s a show-stopping, 100,000 light miracle that can’t be missed.

November 25, 2016 | The fun begins around 4PM! | FREE to all | Arrive early to secure parking | Fireworks finale!

Picture hundreds of people singing Christmas carols as 100,000 lights brighten the Captiva Island property. Picture Tony Lapi, CEO of ‘Tween Waters Inn, popping marshmallows from a shooter toward the kids. Imagine drinks, friendly conversation, fresh popcorn, and oh, yeah, Santa Claus, all set against the backdrop of a gorgeous Captiva sunset. If that’s not enough to get you in the mood, then stay for the fireworks — a guaranteed holiday spirit melter for even the coldest Grinch.

Yeah, it’s pretty magical, and if that’s not enough to impress, then get this — the entire event is FREE! Plus, if you’re looking to make an evening of it, then don’t forget to stay for the special tree lighting menu at Crow’s Nest and Captiva House afterward. Or, if you can’t stay, these two top-rated restaurants on property make for great holiday parties or stocking stuffers (think gift cards!) for family, friends and colleagues. I might as well just book the whole month at the resort this year.

 

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Signs You’ve Partied Too Hard at Hallo’Tween

vertical afficheIn the upcoming months, there are oodles of events to choose from to get your “party” on. Kicking off the season is the legendary (hey, they don’t call it the “Legendary ‘Tween Waters Inn” for nothing!) Hallo’Tween party, Saturday, October 29. This year’s theme will take take you back to the days of slashers, shower screams and swamp-things with “Nightmare on Captiva Drive” — a little vintage “B” horror movie fun! It’s a ghoulishly good time, but how can you tell? Here’s 7 signs you’ve partied too hard at this year’s bash:

1)   You’re still donned in glitter, makeup, fabric and plaster, and that’s just your left elbow. Hallo’Tween is known for the cleverly clad, raunchily robed and gruesomely garbed costumes.

2)   You woke up singing songs from the Brett Forman Band’s set list. Recent years’ tradition has the Brett Forman Band returning to the Hallo’Tween bash to get partygoers up and dancing all night long (or 8PM to 2PM to be specific).

3)   Your feet, legs and arms are killing you. Remember that Hocus Pocus scene where the parents can’t stop dancing? That was totally you last night.

4)   You’ve got $1000 burning a hole in your pocket. Yep, you read that right. The zaniest and best costume clad contestant receives a grand prize of $1000, and $2000 additional costume prizes (yes, they’ve upped the prize money!)

Innsider Tip: Make your reservation ASAP to spend the weekend. After a night of spooktacular fun, you won’t want to drive home, and right now, if you enjoy two nights Halloween weekend, you’ll receive the multi-night package rate from $165 per night in a poolside guestroom — a $50 savings!

5)   You saw both the sun set and rise at ‘Tween Waters Inn. Events start at 8PM at ‘Tween Waters Inn, but you caught the sunset while prepping the perfect costume and the sunrise at your personal little after party.

6)   You’re still facedown in your hotel pillow. You booked your hotel room in advance and got a great deal on a Bayside studio, and with check out at noon, you’re still hitting the zzz’s hard.

7)   Your phone camera roll looks like it was on the set of The Hangover. You might have gone a little crazy with the camera this year, snapping photos of strangers dressed in everything from Ken Bone to a bath pouf. Hey, what’s that tiger doing in your photos?!

Whether you partied too hard, or maybe just right, the memories, or lack thereof, of this year’s party were legen…wait for it…dary. Legendary.

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Sushi Date Night | Captiva House Sushi

I’m a sushi newbie, so when I heard that Captiva House restaurant has a new sushi menu, I thought it might be the perfect time to dip my toes in some sake and get them wet in the sushi world.

My husband and I decided to make it a date night, since he’s a sushi-lover, so we left the baby at home with a sitter and made the date night drive to Captiva. I love the drive this time of evening — there’s hardly anyone driving onto the Islands (they’re all stuck in traffic on the way home from a day at the beach), and depending on the time of year, you’ll catch a memorizing sunset over the causeway (just don’t peek too long, or pull the car over and watch the sunset safely from the side of the road).

We didn’t make reservations for Captiva House, but reservations are recommended during peak season if you want to get a table in a timely manner. I’ve never had a problem getting a table except for holidays or extreme spring break season, or when bringing a large group (five or more) to enjoy the delights of Captiva House!

I eased my way into sushi by trying a non-seafood item — the California rolls — which I absolutely adored. This cucumber, avocado, kani, sesame seed and masago item is the perfect sushi starter for a vegan or veggie-lover (and for maybe the less brave food tester). Mathew, of course, dove right in with Fire Sanibel Island Roll, which he describes as a mix of spice, cheese and crawfish taste with an awesome eel sauce (ermmm…eel did he say?!)

For my second option (because who can just have one?!), we shared the rainbow in the beach specialty sushi roll, which literally did look like a rainbow of raw fish and veggies, and I have to admit is was really good. The fresh salmon, white fish and tuna mixed with the cucumber, kani and avocado made a fresh and juicy blend that I actually really loved. Mathew also ordered the spicy tuna rolls (can you tell there’s a theme for him? — spicy!) and let me try a few, because once I tried one, I couldn’t quite stop myself. I loved the crunch that this had on the outside — it was almost like a fish-flavored steak with spicy crust!

After a few bites of raw fish from my second and third dishes, I hardly thought of the “raw fish” aspect, and really started concentrating on the flavor explosions happening. It was a real, “rare,” treat, and I think I’ll be back to try sushi again —but maybe not the eel.

Check out the new sushi menu from Captiva House here!

 

 

 

 

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Olympics at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa

Kayak Captiva

The much-anticipated Olympics have arrived, and we’re enjoying every minute watching athletes compete on television, but you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to enjoy some of the events you see — you can do it all righOlympics Beach Volleyballt here on your next vacation to ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa. Which sport will you take on for the gold?

Swimming: ‘Tween Waters Inn is home to an Olympic-sized swimming pool, which means not only can you race laps against your bestie, but it’ll be official size requirements too. So get your Phelps on, and swim laps — just don’t plan on any Olympic diving — it’s strictly prohibited.

Beach Volleyball: We can’t all look as great at diving in the sand as Misty May or Kerri Walsh, but we can have fun trying! You’ll find a beach volleyball net set up on our private beach, with volleyballs to rent at the front desk, for your fun in the sun.

Canoeing/Kayaking: Did you know that canoeing was an Olympic sport? It’s certainly not the most notorious, but it is definitely a fun way to get out on the water and enjoy a little competition. Go for gold and try out your speed canoeing or kayaking, with ‘Tween Waters Inn’s peaceful open waters in the Bay.

Innsider Tip: For less aerobic exercise, catch Olympic events on live television at the Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille, and enjoy a drink!

Tween_waters_inn__captiva_island-5554Tennis: It’s iconic. It’s a cardio workout. And the resort has four courts to try out your best backhand. If you’re looking for more info on the tennis courts, check out fellow Innsider Lyle’s hilarious article as he tackles tennis at ‘Tweenies.

Sailing: It’s great to get out on the open water any time you visit ‘Tween Waters Inn, but what better way to do it than sailing our beautiful sea? What’s better, the resort has a sailboat docked on at the property — New Moon Sailing — to charter, complete with sailing captain. If you’re looking for more competitive sailing, or even to try some lessons, Captiva is home to America’s #1 sailing school — Colgate’s Offshore Sailing School.

Plus there’s even more ways to enjoy the Olympics while visiting your favorite Captiva resort — try Golf at Sanibel Island Golf Club (where ‘Tween Waters Inn guests receive a discount), synchronized swimming, cycling (rent bikes right on property!), combine events for a triathlon, or simply take a sprint down the beach. You might even try rhythmic gymnastics — I’ll come take pictures if you do!

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Karaoke on Captiva | Fun Things To Do at ‘Tween

Karaoke Specials Tween

Innsider Emily Experiences Karaoke at ‘Tween Waters Inn

It’s 9 o’clock on a Saturday, the regular crown shuffles in. There’s an old man sitting next to me, making love to tonic and gin. Except that’s not exactly right. It’s about 8:45 on a Wednesday, the regular crowd is here but so are the new midweek guests, and there’s an older gentleman sitting next to me, but instead of drinking gin, we’re laughing hysterically at the corner stage in the dining room.

Why? It’s the new karaoke night at the Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille, and one of the guests is singing “I will survive,” with the zest of a gaggle of bachelorette party girls. My buddy Les and I laugh, but as my turn starts to draw near, my laugh becomes a little less robust and little more, “oh my god, I actually have sing out loud.”

I promised myself I would try this out. I haven’t sang karaoke since high school, but on any given car ride alone or afternoon shower, you might here me jamming out to my favorite tune on the radio at the top of my lungs.

Karaoke: Wednesdays | 8:30-11:30PM | Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille

So now it really is 9 o’clock on Wednesday, and I’m singing “Piano Man.” No one has walked out in horror and I’m feeling good. “SING US A SONG YOU’RE THE PIANO MANNNNNN, SING US A SONG TONIGHT. LA, DEE DEE DAH DAH DAH.”

Yes, what I lack in skill, I make up in enthusiasm. I’m shaking in my boots, but I have to admit, I’m having fun — and so is everyone else! People are laughing, singing along, no one is judging and with a liquid courage, most people are actually not half bad. If you’re looking for a good time while on vacation (or even local), then you’ll find it at the Crow’s Nest, with almost nightly entertainment and specials!

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Top 5 Things to Splurge on For Your Wedding at ‘Tween Waters Inn

Every bride and groom has a budget, and everyone goes over that budget by a little (or sometimes a lot). But wedding planning is full of tough choices and most of them come down to budget. Do I splurge on cupcakes instead of a cake? Do I spend more on a dress that really flatters me? Do I buy expensive gifts for my wedding party? Well, say no more. I’ve done the dirty work for you and narrowed down the top five splurges you should consider for your wedding at ‘Tween Waters Inn.

‘TWEENIES WEDDING SPLURGES:

  • HIRE A VIDEOGRAPHER. Okay, I should preempt this with, hire the best photographer ever, and THEN hire a videographer as well. This day goes so fast, and while you think that everyone will be taking video of your big day, you’d be surprised when it comes time to rounding up video, how many of your friend Maggie’s videos were deleted to make room on her phone. Plus, you’ll want to relive this day again and again, and what better way to do that with good photography and video.
  • PRE- OR POST-WEDDING ACTIVITY. Skip the in-room gifts for guests like beach towels and sand shovels (don’t worry, ‘Tween Waters Inn has nice luxury towels available for all guests anyway) and instead, spend the money on a cool activity that your guests or bridal party can enjoy together. Take out the kayaks and canoes, rent bikes or spend the day on the water with few boat captains.
  • Food. Food. FOOD. I’ve attended countless weddings where the food was forgettable.
    INNSIDER TIP: Hire our Executive Chef Jason Miller to do a cooking demonstration for your bridal party! It’s a fun way to get everyone together plus learn from a pro!
    If your reception is at ‘Tween Waters Inn, you’ll never have to worry about forgettable food, but you might consider splurging on a little on something extra like pizza at the end of the night or special dessert.
  • Captiva WeddingPAMPER YOURSELF. A lot of time was spent on my hair for the wedding, so I was definitely rushed to “don” my dress and get out of the door on time. I regret not taking the time instead to pamper myself with a massage in the morning and a little R&R before the ceremony. Brides and grooms (and friends and family) will love The Spa at ‘Tween Waters Inn — complete with massage rooms, manicure and pedicure stations, sauna and even a whirlpool spa tub.
  • TIME. Okay, this one’s a little abstract, but hear me out. Spend the extra few days off from work to enjoy your time at a Captiva Island resort, with all of your friends and family. My pre- and post-wedding celebrations were some of the best moments of my wedding experience, so don’t just stay the night, stay the week! Enjoy all the amenities of the resort — beach, spa, marina, restaurants, pool, pool bar (!), and more — and consider it your wedding gift, to you.

No matter where you spend or where you cut, there’s no going wrong with a wedding at ‘Tween Waters Inn. It will be the kiss you’ll remember for a lifetime, with the love of a lifetime.

 

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Valentine’s Day on Sanibel and Captiva Islands

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I love LOVE. Valentine’s Day may be a card-selling, candy-making corporate ploy, but it’s also a great day to celebrate love and romance. And what better place to do that, than in the setting of “America’s Most Romantic Sunset.”

I’ve planned ahead this year (which, let’s be honest, is a first for me!) and ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa has me all set for this to be the best, ultimate romantic Valentine’s date.

First, I’ve got plans for a couple’s massage at the Spa at ‘Tween Waters Inn, located right on property next to the Areca building, for Saturday before the big day. Couple’s massages are a fun way to relax and enjoy a massage, while still spending time together (rather than him on the golf course and you at the spa!). To book a massage, call and speak to Georgie or any of the friendly spa receptionists at: 800-223-5865.

INNSIDER TIP: Valentine’s Day is a busy day at ‘Tween Waters Inn, so be sure to book in advance and call for reservations!

While I enjoy watching America’s Most Romantic Sunset from the beach, my plan for Valentine’s Day involves getting dressed up in my LBD and sand dollar necklace from T.H. Osprey (the on-property gift-shop at ‘Tween Waters Inn), which doesn’t mix well with cuddling on a blanket in the sand, so instead, we’ll pay respect to the sun from the porch at Captiva House and Crow’s Nest — a can’t miss seat to SWFL’s main attraction.

I really wanted an exceptional and unique dining experience this year. We’ve dined for Valentine’s Day at a variety of establishments — everything from Olive Garden to dinner in New York City — but this year, I wanted something unique and “pure romance.” I didn’t have to look far — Captiva House is boasting a special Valentine’s Day Menu from Chef Jason Miller and sous chefs Kit Dillon and Eddy Alexander. Picture this: The backdrop of a dusk as the sun has set. Low candlelight. Live piano music drifting through French doors. White table clothes with a setting for two. Savory entrees. A bottle of wine between the two of you. And something sweet to share? Umm, sold.

INNSIDER TIP: ‘Tween Waters Inn sells Captiva Dining cards, $100 buys you $120 dining — saving you $20. Must buy in advance and have mailed to your home. 

As the official romance expert at ‘Tween Waters Inn and a lover of love, I am confident this Valentine’s Day will be the. best. ever. At the rate I’m going, I better plan for St. Patrick’s Day while I’m at it.

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SAVE THIS FALL & WINTER ON CAPTIVA ISLAND

Trick or treating might be over, but I have a treat for you! As an Innsider, I’ve privy to all of the ways to save at ‘Tween Waters Inn, and I’ve rounded them up for you! The fall and winter are great times to visit Captiva Island, and if you’re looking to save on vacation before the big holiday season, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what this top-rated resort hotel has in store for you if you book now:

BOGO: Stay one night, get another night free, midweek, Sunday through Thursday in any guestroom, studio or one-bedroom suite, now to November 24. You can find details for this deal here: http://tween-waters.com/bogooffer/

Stay 2, Get Another FREE + $50 Dining: So if you can only stay 2 nights, the offer above is perfect for you, but if you’re ready to stay THREE nights, you’ll get one of those nights FREE, plus $50 in dining credits! This is also a midweek, Sunday-Thursday offer, but is valid through December 17, so there’s more opportunities to stay and save! Also excludes two- and three-bedroom suites and all cottages. Check out the details here: http://tween-waters.com/stay2offer/

30% or 50% Winter Savings: Okay, so you want to stay in a two- or three-bedroom suite or cottage, but the above offers don’t apply? ‘Tween Waters Inn has you covered! Stay November 29 to December 17, midweek, Sunday-Thursday, and you’ll save 30%! Or stay in a guestroom, studio or one-bedroom suite, and they’ll give you 50% off! Call for details on this offer, some exclusions do apply: 800-223-5865.

ALL STAYS INCLUDE FREE CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST BUFFET.

And just because your vacation doesn’t fit into some of these parameters, doesn’t mean you can’t save. ‘Tween Waters Inn pro-rates or mixes three- and five-night package rates with these offers if you stay on the weekend, so be certain to call and speak with the friendly reservationists to find out all the ways to save big.

As an Innsider, I can tell you that these are not only the best deals of the fall, but these are some of the best deals I have seen all year! It’s a great time to visit Captiva Island, so begin your planning and book now!

*All offers are midweek, Sunday-Thursday and exclude holidays.

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