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Relishing Sanibel Island’s best breakfast at the Normandie Seaside Café

Bloody Marys and sauteed plantains. The Normandie had me there. Because when it comes to breakfast, I seek the unusual. The creative. The eye-opening. The excellent. Normandie Seaside Café at the West Wind Inn – one of the Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts group – has thereby become my favorite breakfast restaurant on Sanibel Island.

Let me preface it by admitting that my bestie breakfasts in the world have been devoured in the Bahamas. True, the Normandie doesn’t serve the Bahamas’ sheep tongue souse and fish soup breakfast specialties. But there are those caramelized sweet plantains, which are an alternative to grits or home fries as a side dish to Normandie’s ambitious array of breakfast specialties. (But, truthfully, the crispy potatoes fried with sliced onions makes for a tough decision.)

I find tropical influences, too, in its grilled French toast inventions: crusted with coconut and toasted almonds or, ta-da!,  topped with banana-strawberry cream cheese, fresh strawberries and bananas, and powdered sugar.

The omelet menu takes a more global tour. The kitchen fills the Pesto Omelet, for instance, with basil pesto, ham, tomato, and parmesan cheese. There’s also an Italian and Greek, but my favorite, the Fiesta Omelet, bulges with roasted red pepper, mushrooms, onions, salsa, and cheddar.

Its specialty breakfasts, on the other hand, salute the American flag with bennies and breakfast sandwiches. Seduced by the velvety hollandaise sauce and the quality English muffins, I sway often in the direction of the classic Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine.

As for the Bloody Marys, they’re just spicy, just strong enough. When we order mimosas instead, they come with just a dash of OJ, exactly how we order them.

Muffins, pancakes, granola, and a tasty bacon and egg wrap: No matter what the Normandie cooks up for you, it delivers excellence. And perhaps the true and most importance test of its excellence is a seasoned service staff that knows the value of making guests feel immediately welcomed, no matter how busy they are, and ultimately satisfied. I can think of no better way to start the day.

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Welcome to the Club – The ‘Tween Waters Mobile Club

I’m in! I just became a member of Sanibel Captiva Beach Resort’s latest communications inspiration, called Mobile Club.

I am not typically what you would call a “joiner.” Other than my women’s book club and supper club with fellow empty-nester couples, I avoid signing up for membership. I also avoid subscribing to website email newsletters.

So why, then, did I jump the minute the invitation to join the Mobile Club hit my email inbox? Well, that tells you right there. I DO subscribe to the email newsletters. They bring a ray of Florida sunshine to my inbox with discounts and specials and just happy images of the beach, sand, food, and memories of a Captiva Island respite.

So why wouldn’t I want more of that popping up on my phone’s text message app from time to time? Bursts of Captiva Island to brighten my day with exclusive members-only savings and “the best complimentary sunsets.” Who could resist?

They promise three messages a month, so not too much, just enough to leave you wanting more. More sunsets. More Captiva, that island unlike no other place on the planet. An island that truly defines “away from it all.”

So, join the club! It takes literally two seconds to text the codes to 55222 and bam! Break out the cocktails: It’s sunset time.

Codes are as follows:
• Text SCBR to 55222 to join all property texts
• Text Captiva to 55222 to join the ‘Tween Waters texts
• Text Castaways to 55222 to join the Castaways Cottages texts
• Text SCIVR to 55222 to join the Sanibel Captiva Island Vacation Rentals texts
• Text BV to 55222 to join the Beachview Cottages texts
• Or Text WWI to 55222 to join the West Wind Inn texts

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Employee Spotlight: Christine Harrower, Group Sales and Events Manager

Christine Harrower has been working for ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa and Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts for a combined total of 3 years, first working at ‘Tween Waters in 2012. She couldn’t stay away, stating she loved the work environment and managers, guests and beautiful tropical setting, all which led her to rejoin the team in September of 2018.

Christine was first drawn to SCBR because of the family environment. Her managers and co-workers are not just work to her, they are her family. Christine loves her job as Group Sales and Events Manager for brides and grooms, corporate groups, family reunions, milestones and celebrations not only for the family environment, but because she loves being part of making dreams comes true!

Her SCBR family is not her only family. Her proudest accomplishment is raising her son, who is a deployed United States Marine and who now also has his own wife and son.

At work, Christine is most proud of creating lasting memories (and setting new sales records). Christine says, “It’s so rewarding when a bride and groom stop me, years after an event, to tell me how grateful they are for making their event so memorable.”

When she’s not coordinating the details to your big event at Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, she loves to be near the beach as much as possible — paddle boarding, doing meditation and yoga, dancing, and spending time with friends. She loves the sun and salt water so much, that her ideal vacation always includes both of these.

“My job is so rewarding,” says Christine. “Whether it is planning a couples’ big day, to details for a family reunion, corporate event or engagement party, I get to create these lasting memories all at a place I love, with a view of paradise.”

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year — Celebrate with ‘Tween Waters

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa — event season! Yep, this is the time of year to celebrate all things — from songwriters to Hallo’Tween, Thanksgiving to New Years. And what better way to celebrate these treasured events than with parties, buffets, fireworks and music. It’s going to be huge, and you won’t want to miss it. Here’s what’s happening:

Songwriter Saturday:  ‘Tween Waters is still celebrating Nashville songwriters by the pool with another great musician every month. Our next songwriter is Clint Daniels performing November 3 from 2 PM – 5 PM, as always free to our guests with a great poolside venue. Visiting for the day? Just $50 a carload gets you a day pass, parking, live music and access to amenities.

Hallo’Tween: Saturday, October 27, Hallo’Tween is going to be a smash this year, with a variety of dining options at the Canoe and Kayak Club and Crow’s Nest! Plus it’s a night full of live music from the beloved Gatlin until 1 PM at the Crow’s Nest, CJ the DJ spinnin’ it in the Wakefield Room from 10 PM – 2 AM, and our infamous costume contest with grand prize of $1000. Wristbands are just $10 after 10PM (21 and older) and you must be there by 10 PM to enter. Make your reservation ASAP as this event fills fast and lasts all night, so you’ll want to be safe and spend the night!

Thanksgiving Buffet: Everyone loves a good buffet, and even more so, they love the ‘Tween Waters Thanksgiving Buffet. It’s a great way to gather with family and share the love, without any of the work. The menu is already live at the Old Captiva House website, so be sure to check it out and make your table reservations asap!

Tree Lighting: With over 100,000 twinkling lights lighting the property, if you haven’t experienced the ‘Tween Waters Tree Lighting Celebration, you won’t want to miss it this year. It’ll feature CJ the DJ spinning music poolside and beachside day and night; at sunset live caroling, the grand Tree Lighting Celebration with fireworks, a Captiva snowstorm and more; plus all-new holiday lighting displays. Plus new this year, in addition to dinner at Crow’s Nest, you’ll have the option of a unique VIP dinner venue in the Wakefield Room with balcony viewing of the show!

Christmas and New Year: Spending the holidays at ‘Tween Waters is extremely special. Guests enjoy the Christmas buffet, holiday lights around the property, and more intimate New Year’s Party at the Crow’s nest with champagne toast. Spend your holidays on Captiva!

However you choose to celebrate the next few months, be sure to include some time on Captiva!

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Meet the ‘Tween Waters Management Team

Sanibel Captiva Management Team

I’ve had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with the ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa management now, and have learned a different side to the hotel experience. When many of you visit the resort, you see hard working individuals riding golf carts, cleaning rooms, serving meals and drinks and spraying down surfaces, and I’ve come to appreciate each and every working piece and person to a resort. But when many of you don’t see the management side of hotel.

Meet General Manager Brett Gooch. Not only does he manage two little girls at home, but he’s also managing things at a huge 138-room resort. Oh wait, make that two 130+ room resorts (he’s also the GM at West Wind Inn). Did you know that Brett personally addresses TripAdvisor reviews? Anyone who has worked in customer service knows how difficult a disgruntled customer can be, and Brett handles it with grace and patience.

Meet President, Doug Babcock. From beach cams, to new furniture and equipment, to marketing and those discounts you receive on your stays, Doug is heading the charge on my financial and marketing ends. He’s also the General Manager of the sister vacation rental company and president of the overall Sanibel Captiva Beach Resort company. But did you know when first started, in order to get an understanding of all aspects of the resort, he did everything from take out garbage to work in the kitchen? He installed Christmas lights, did beach duty and even parking duty. Talk about involved!

Lastly, I’d like you to meet the man, the myth, the legend, Tony Lapi. Most long-time guests have met and seen Tony Lapi around the resort. This CEO of a major island resort is often found painting, fixing, installing and riding around on a tractor. He’s also been known to carry luggage to rooms, park cars, greet guests, and install renovations. Somehow, he finds time to be a generous and caring human being known to hang out at the Crow’s Nest for a drink, donate to the United Way and fight water quality issues. And did I mention he has a marshmallow gun for holiday events?

What I took away from meeting with the management of ‘Tween Waters was that no matter you position or how much you make, how long you’ve been with the organization or what else is going on in your life, the people who own and work for the resort care. They care about making a difference and truly proving their mission statement: to deliver a warm, friendly and memorable island resort experience that provides value to all our guests resulting in a desire to return. So on your next vacation, if you notice one of these friendly faces, be sure to say hello to the management team.

(Photo Left to Right: Brett Gooch, Doug Babcock, Tony Lapi and Rick Boyd)

 

 

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Mark Your Calendar For Fun, Fun and More Fun at ‘Tween Waters Captiva.

It’s only August, but it’s time to start marking your calendar for all of the good times, family fun and (yes) occasional case of the sillies at the legendary ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, the Official Beach Resort of Captiva Island.
Got your Google Calendar ready? Here we go:
  • Saturday, August 18: 100,000 Facebook Followers Party. There’s still time to get in on all the fun this coming weekend, as we celebrate our 100,000 (and counting) Facebook followers by hosting a pool-and-beach party topped off with fireworks and $100 room nights! You’ll enjoy CJ the DJ rocking the pool deck all afternoon and into the evening, with mighty beverage specials and an over-the-top beach fireworks display at 9 PM. Call 800.223.5865 now to book your night (or even better, weekend!).
  • Friday-Monday, August 31- September 3: Labor Day Weekend. Most parts of the country call Labor Day the “unofficial end of summer.” Here at the Official Beach Resort of Captiva Island, we call Labor Day the official kickoff of four months of special events and fun! This is a weekend the whole family can enjoy, from pools and beach, to parasail and jetskis, to standup paddleboards of just relaxing poolside (either Family Pool or Serenity Pool). Plus, we’ll have our September Songwriter Jo Smith poolside on September 1. Book it at 800.223.5865 or online here.
  • Friday-Sunday, September 21-23: Island Hopper Songwriter Fest. It’s the Fifth Annual Songwriter Festival, and that means another chance for you to get up close and personal with a host of talented Nashville singer-songwriters, playing intimate settings throughout ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa. If you love music and hanging with the artists, book the weekend now at 800.223.5865 or online here.
  • Saturday, October 6: Songwriter Saturday at the Pool. This monthly, singer-songwriter Brinley Addington brings his chart-topping Nashville sounds to the poolside relaxation here on Captiva Island. Make it a weekend at 800.223.5865 or book online here.
  • Saturday, October 27: Hallo’Tween. Don’t be afraid, because this all-time classic party brings out the very best in our guests — be they locals or visitors. You’ll partake of an evening of fun with live music, DJ tunes, beverages specials and big-time, cash prizes for the best costumes. Book the weekend now at 800.223.5865!
  • Thursday-Friday, November 22-23: Thanksgiving Day Buffet and Annual Tree Lighting Celebration. Here come the holidays! Be sure to book your weekend stay now, so you can enjoy all that makes the holidays so very special on Captiva and at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa. Thursday’s Thanksgiving Buffet is a must-do, then relax and recharge Friday during the day — because come sunset Friday night, it’s the Annual Tree Lighting Celebration with live music, DJ tunes, hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights, a spectacular fireworks on the beach celebration and yes!, the only snowstorm in Southwest Florida. Hurry, only a few reservations remain so book the weekend now at 800.223.5865 or online here.
  • Tuesday, December 25: Christmas Day Buffet. Here’s one present you’ll want to find under your palm tree — a holiday vacation to ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, including the always delicious Christmas Day Buffet. Wow, this one’s got your name on it. Book it now at 800.223.5865 or online here.
  • Monday, December 31: New Year’s Eve Party. Ring in the new year in style, at the one and only Official Beach Resort of Captiva Island. This is the party to start all parties and kick off the new year with live music, laughter, fun and a beautiful sunset. Make it a weekend by booking now at 800.223.5865.
Remember: When you Book Direct you save with No Resort Fees plus a host of exclusive, VIP freebies and discounts no other travel site offers. So call our friendly on-site reservationists today at (what’s that number?) 800.223.5865 or online here. See you soon and, hopefully, see you often!
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Making History Again at Old Captiva House.

old captiva house 1

Once upon a time, a small schoolhouse on Captiva Island welcomed its very first students to their very first day of learning. The year was 1908. If you’re a local historian (or maybe just an island fan), you know that this one-room schoolhouse remains a Captiva landmark — because today, elements of the school continue on as Old Captiva House restaurant, here at the legendary ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa.

Across the years, Old Captiva House has welcomed thousands of guests to hearty breakfasts and mouth-watering dinners, all served with a front-and-center view of the Gulf of Mexico and its breathtaking sunsets. Today, this tradition will carry on with an all new look — one that embraces the past grace and charm of Captiva Island, while welcoming the future — and an all new kitchen, from which tomorrow’s top-rated Captiva Island menu will be prepared and served.

“Our design team focused on bringing the light, bright, airy and cheerful feel of Captiva to the restaurant, while adding something of ‘southern island charm’ and a nautical feel to the interior,” notes Doug Babcock, Chief Operating Officer of Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts. “In the end, we’ll have created a true ‘destination’ restaurant in look, style, experience and of course, taste. We’re very excited.”

The “new” Old Captiva House will feature a variety of guest amenities not previously available, including: a welcome area with lounge seating for conversation and libations; a cozy bar with comfortable seating and outstanding views; a new Sunset Lounge with its sunset vistas; plus a beautiful main dining room with walls of French doors, lots of natural lighting and soothing color combinations. Not to mention the best dining on the island.

As the new kitchen continues construction, an impressive surrogate kitchen has been erected on-property and is currently serving breakfast and dinner via your choice of Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille, or a newly renovated Canoe & Kayak Club (with an abbreviated Old Captiva House menu), featuring both indoor and outdoor seating and a gorgeous view of Roosevelt Channel and Pine Island Sound.

While the dining renovation efforts represent a significant investment, the goal is to “continue to provide our guests the best hospitality experience in Southwest Florida,” says Tony Lapi, Chief Executive Officer. “After all, as the Official Beach Resorts of Sanibel and Captiva, nothing less than the best for our guests will do.” Estimates are that Old Captiva House will excitedly debut in a grand opening sometime later this fall.

In the meantime, make your Old Captiva House dinner reservations today by calling the Canoe & Kayak Club at 239.472.5161 X425.

 

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New: Book Direct and Stay Perfect at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa

book direct tween waters inn

While those BIG travel sites suggest that it’s easy to get the best rates by booking with them, the fact is — they’re wrong. They may advertise a low rate, but sites like Expedia, Travelocity and TheNextBigIdea often hide or disguise resort fees — fees that you don’t pay when you book direct with Tween-Waters.com or on the phone with our friendly, on-site reservationists at 800.223.5865!

But that’s not always obvious, which is why today we’re launching our new Book Direct & Stay Perfect campaign. It’s about making sure you know where to find the very best, guaranteed lowest rates, combined with a host of FREE services and amenities that are an additional cost when you book somewhere else.

Take a look at all that you enjoy free when you book direct with us:

  • NO Resort Fees Like Other Travel Sites Means Guaranteed Lowest Rates Here!
  • FREE Resort Bike Rentals, Kayak Rentals, Tennis, Pickleball (and Racquets), Shuffleboard, Beach Volleyball, Bocce Ball and Fitness Center!
  • FREE $100-Plus Resort Rewards Coupon Book for Discounts on Lunch, Dinner, Beverages, Parasail, Jet Ski, Paddleboard, Spa Treatments, Apparel and More!
  • FREE Standard Wi-Fi, Local Newspaper, Parking and Housekeeping!

 

Oh, and have you ever tried to change a reservation or cancel one with those BIG travel sites? Generally, you’re on the phone for hours, talking to machines or people all over the world, and there’s a good chance you’ll hang up unhappy. Again, not with us at ‘Tween Waters when you book direct — we make changes fast, easy and stress-free!

Want to learn more? Just visit our Book Direct page here, then book online at our fabulous website or call 800.223.5865 now!

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The comforts of home. And much more.

tween waters island vacation retnals

Those of us lucky enough to live and work in Southwest Florida know just how special we have it. Sunshine, blue skies, warm waters, natural beauty and not a lick of snow to be spotted anywhere. Imagine then how much luckier are those of us who’ve chosen hospitality as our life’s work. We get to take our breathtaking slice of paradise — Sanibel and Captiva Islands — and serve them to you in a vacation experience you’ll hopefully remember forever.

Here at Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts, we’ve been doing just that since 1931, when ‘Tween Waters Inn of Captiva welcomed its first overnight guests. Some 86 years later, we today offer guests their choice of four uniquely different beach resorts numbering more than 300 guest accommodations, along with top dining, recreation, entertainment and most of all, relaxation.

Now, we’re excited to expand our services beyond the traditional resort guest room to vacation rental homes and condos, via our new ‘Tween Waters Island Vacation Rentals — where we truly offer you all the comforts of home, and much more.

Add it all up, and nobody brings guests the comforts of home — and much more — like we do. And if you’re a vacation rental home or condo owner, nobody can match our ability to create revenues and loyal customers via our powerful marketing, sales and customer satisfaction that’s 86 years in the making.

We know that many travelers prefer the privacy, space, flexibility and value of a vacation rental home or condo. You’ll find all of that with ‘Tween Waters Island Vacation Rentals, where we’ll apply the same standards for excellence that have made our resorts and restaurants tops on Sanibel and Captiva Islands for many years.

Plus as our guest, you’ll also enjoy value-added free benefits that no other rental company can offer through our “Renter’s Rewards” — a coupon book complete with more than $100 of discounts to dining, entertainment, water sports, spa services and more at our nearby properties.

Add it all up, and nobody brings guests the comforts of home — and much more — like we do. And if you’re a vacation rental home or condo owner, nobody can match our ability to create revenues and loyal customers via our powerful marketing, sales and customer satisfaction that’s 86 years in the making.

So whether you love the luxury amenities and pampering service of highest quality beach resorts and restaurants — or the comforts, value and flexibility of a rental property — now you have the best of both worlds. Interested? Learn more about our vacation rentals here, or our entire portfolio of beach resorts, restaurants and recreation here.

By Doug Babcock | Chief Operating Officer

Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts LLC

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