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Benefits of the New Breakfast Policy

breakfast tween waters inn

I hate change, so when I heard that ‘Tween Waters was switching their breakfast policy, like many of you, I started to panic! Would they have my beloved pastries? What about the mornings when I just want something fresh? Was this going to cost me more? I just want my breakfast back!!!

After speaking to Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts CEO Tony Lapi (and maybe taking a chill pill too), I was able to calmly examine the policy a little further, and began to realize this really wasn’t the end of the breakfast world as we know it. In fact, I might actually save some money.

As explained to me, in order to maintain their bountiful buffet, they have to work that into the nightly rates. It’s built in. So removing the free breakfast buffet option, I don’t have to pay that automatically in my nightly rate — so no money lost. In fact, they reduced their rates by 8% across the board (so all cottages and suites too), meaning I’m actually paying less per night in the future.

So now that I have 8% back in my pocket — equating to anywhere from $20-40 per night — can I still spend it on breakfast? Of course! But I also don’t have to. Food and Beverage Director Laurent Bosc says they plan to have quick breakfast options, which will have grab and go items like fruit, cereals, pastries and more, all at reasonable prices, so that I can grab my breakfast, not waste any time getting to the beach, and still have money left over in my pocket each day in savings.

But some days I want a little extra — pancakes, omelets, eggs benedict, oh my! Bosc tells me that that won’t change. I will still be able to order these items from a menu for breakfast, just like I had when the breakfast buffet was in place.

Plus, with newly renovated rooms complete with partial and full kitchens in some rooms, I also have the option to make my own breakfast.

So to all of my ‘Tweenies peeps who, like me, started to fret when they heard about the 2018 policy, don’t panic! It’s designed to save us money, reduce waste and save us precious beach time, while still giving us options — and that’s the truth.

NOTE: The New Breakfast Policy doesn’t begin until 2018, and they’ve been planning this for a while now, which means your rate most likely reflected the 8% change. If you booked your reservation extremely early (around 1 year prior) your initial reservation might not have been adjusted, but has since been refunded the 8% difference. 2017 reservations are not affected by this new policy.

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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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Captiva House Restaurant’s Secret Recipe

Captiva House Restaurant Recipe

I can’t cook. I don’t state this mildly or even humbly, I seriously can’t cook. We eat out a lot. A lot.

The closest thing I’ve made to an actual meal might be grilled cheese — and I’m not exaggerating. And while my partner Mathew is a Food Network junkie, I hate to have him cook for me every day, so we end up eating out quite a bit. But just because I don’t cook, doesn’t mean I don’t love to eat.

I have particular and wide tastes. I can’t stand cheap, generic food. Instead, I live for a spicy, exotic meal, a fantastically prepared seafood dish, a gooey handmade pasta or…an flakey wrap. And the only place on the islands to find any or all of the above, is Captiva House restaurant at ‘Tween Waters Inn.

Innsider Tip: You can now buy a $120 dining gift card for $100 (a $20 savings!) online! The card is sent to your house and then you can use it throughout the year! Buy yours now: http://tween-waters.com/shop/

The island snapper wrap isn’t just any ‘ole wrap. The name sounds casual, but once you sink your teeth into delicately cooked asparagus, savory crimini mushrooms, perfectly roasted peppers and face-melting snapper, all wrapped in a flakey filo dough, you’ll basically be living in elegant ecstasy for the next hour. Oh! And I forgot to mention this dish comes with pesto cream and goat cheese polenta all drizzled with aged balsamic glaze. When I die, you can drizzle me with all of the above.

So what good would being an INNSIDER be, if I couldn’t get the super secret “innsider” recipe for the snapper wrap, and share it with you?! After a little begging and pleading, the amazing Jason Miller, Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director at ‘Tween Waters Inn, was kind enough to share the recipe. So grab your apron and your best Emeril Lagasse (as he is a Florida native) mindset, and I’ll grab my wine so I can watch, and get cooking! Here are the deets:

For wrap:
1/6 One roasted red pepper, chopped
1 oz Red snapper
½ Stalk of asparagus
2 oz Sliced crimini mushrooms
Filo dough
A spoonful of pesto cream

For polenta:
2 Cups water
2 Cups milk
1 Cup medium polenta
1 Package of goat cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Begin with the Snapper:
1. Cut each snapper fillet in half crosswise. Season per taste.
2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until hot. Place snapper skin sides down, in skillet. Make certain to press on snapper with a spatula for occasionally to prevent curling. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip, and cook until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Prepare the vegatables:
1. Chop red pepper and roast sauce pan until beginning to soften. Use only 1/6 of full red pepper.
2. Sautee asparagus until “crunch” is gone. Chop into small pieces.
3. Chop crimini mushrooms and sauté until soft.

Combining the veggies and snapper:
1. Combine the snapper with roasted vegetables, and roll in one filo dough slice.
2. Place on nonstick baking sheet in oven. Cook for 25 minutes, or until filo dough is flakey.

While baking the wrap, prepare polenta:
1. In medium pot with high sides combine the water, milk and bring to a boil over high heat.
2. Reduce the heat to low and slowly pour in the polenta while whisking constantly.
3. Cook the mixture for at least 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon until thickened and cooked.
4. Stir in goat cheese until thoroughly mixed.

Final plating:
1. Places pesto cream on plate, followed by a few spoonfuls of goat cheese polenta.
2. Bias cut snapper wrap and place on polenta.
3. Drizzle balsamic glaze over the top and garnish with micro pea shoots.
4. Devour!

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THINGS TO DO: Pool Day at ‘Tween Waters Inn

Conjure up your favorite Jimmy Buffet song and keep it in mind as you spend the afternoon with me, settled into my lounge chair and soaking in the rays beside the Olympic-sized pool at ‘Tween Waters Inn.

It’s a typical day on my Captiva vacation — I’ve just enjoyed my free continental buffet breakfast — and now it’s off to the pool for me. It’s obligatory sun-worshipping day today. And who could argue with me? I’ve got a perfect 78 degrees as the pool opens for me at 11:30 this morning and not a cloud in the sky.

At the heart of the resort (and centrally located), the pool at ‘Tween Waters Inn is the pumping, beating, life of the resort, and has something for everyone. There’s both a smoking and non-smoking side, drinks, food, a kiddie pool, spa tub and a coffee bar (plus shop with all the essentials you may have forgotten). But me? I’m geared up, with my favorite Sun Pac suit, a little sun protection, my nice, soft resort towel, and headphones (I like to mellow out at the pool, so I bring my own tunes).

Every hour is “happy hour” when you’re poolside in the sunshine state, but all joking aside, it’s time for me to grab the local favorite from the Oasis Pool Bar — a rum runner. Personally, I like mine with white rum rather than spiced rum.

Innsider Tip: Buy a ‘Tweenies Tervis Tumbler for $19.99 and get it filled with one free drink, or two for $29.99.

Dip and Flip: Time to flip, which probably means I should take a dip in pool. I’ve been told that they keep the pool at an even 84 degrees, which means even on a cool day the pool is comfortable. Plus, it’s geothermally heated, so ‘Tween stays Green and you get to leave a smaller environmental footprint.

Despite the miles of sugar sand beach within hopping distance, it’s a busy day at the pool, but I’ve still been able to claim a chair and escape from it all. I think that’s what I love most about the pool at the resort — whatever your style, whatever your scene, you can find it poolside.

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America’s Most Romantic Sunset – ‘Tween Waters Inn

Sunset on Captiva Island

Local rumor is, ‘Tween Waters Inn and Captiva Island have the “most romantic sunsets in America” and Travelocity backed up that claim in an article years ago.  Now recently, USA Today named the resort one of the 10 most romantic coastal destinations in the United States, citing the romantic sunsets, white sandy beaches, shops and dining. So, naturally, my husband and I needed to vet this buzz, and soak in the romantic evening rays for ourselves.

We found that Captiva is one of the few local places where visitors can experience a truly unobstructed view of the sunset. Times vary based on season — be prepared for a sunset as early as 5:00PM in the winter, and as late as 8:30PM in the summer. 

INNSIDER TIP: If you’re looking to plan your dinner accommodations around the sunset, be sure to check out the sunset times on weather website like weather.com or wunderground.com

Really, there’s no gear needed to enjoy the painted sky each evening on Captiva, but if you’re looking to pay homage to the sunset and desire to make it an “event,” a blanket to sit on, some bug spray and champagne on ice with some plastic flutes will do nicely. Mathew and I even opened our iTunes on our phones and found a few classics like “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” and “When the Sun Goes Down.”

Legend has it that right before the sun dips below the water line, there’s a green flash that appears, but when the sun made its descent, there were beautiful oranges, pinks and purples in the sky, but no green in sight for us. It’s no hardship having missed this — it gives us another chance to come back, watch another sunset and look for that legendary green flash again.

I’ve traveled many places, seen plenty of sunsets over water, fields and mountains, but rarely have I seen such an event as a Captiva sunset. Whether you’re struck by the beauty of the calm water and orange ball sinking into the earth, or the various people facing west in tribute to another day complete, there is no doubting Captiva’s claim to romance.

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Sunset on Captiva
Captiva Island Sunset
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How to Keep Cool with Hot Family Fun at ‘Tween Waters Inn

'Tween Waters Inn Captiva Island Pool Hotel

It’s summertime! For our family, that means it’s time for Michael and I to pack up the kids, and several bottles of sunscreen, and head to the ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa. With its location on a barrier island that jets into the Gulf, the average high temperature is 85°F, but come June, July and August, that number creeps up to about 90°. Although the Gulf breezes keep things comfortable, there are plenty of ways to keep your cool around the resort.

Poolside, Gulf side, bay side – what’s your pleasure? After hitting the free breakfast buffet, my boys Dustin and Devon beg us to take them over to the beach to swim and hunt for shells. The Gulf of Mexico is warm and welcoming in summer and depending on the wind, you could find yourself jumping waves or floating on shimmering water as smooth as glass. Many times, we’ve seen dolphins right off shore. Love that!

If your gang is more adventurous, you can rent stand-up paddleboards and kayaks right onsite and paddle on the bayside. You might just find yourself alongside a manatee, or three.

Fresh water fans can head to the Olympic-sized pool that just happens to have a full-service pool bar and grill at the deep end. Here’s an Innsider tip: purchase a ‘Tween Waters Tervis tumbler at the resort and have it filled at the pool bar with your favorite frozen concoction for free. Devon prefers a strawberry daiquiri, virgin of course. Tervis tumblers (non-breakable, guaranteed-for-life drinkware) make the perfect souvenir. They’re easy to pack, lightweight and you’ll use them forever.

The newest addition to the pool deck is the shaded toddler wading pool. Your little ones can splash for hours without fear of sunburn. Now that’s a bright idea.

Sunny regards,

Jill~

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